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The network growth strategy
1- The objective:
To expand KariaNet’s network quantitatively and qualitativelyorder to capture all available in knowledge sources and experts in the region while meeting the demands and needs of the different members and organizations.
2- The approach The network growth will be approached strategically both quantitatively and qualitatively. KariaNet II started with an aim of having the optimal number of members, individuals and institutions, to secure balanced representation and commitment to ensure coverage of all knowledge sources available in the region and related to KariaNet thematic priorities. The members targeted were experts, farmers’ organizations, IFAD and non IFAD-funded projects, researchers, development practitioners and institutions. The quantitative growth as an objective still persists, however we learned during these past months that the number is not what makes a network work; a network can function quite well with few active members“the champions”who will encourage the silent lurkers to join and be active once they see the benefit of participation. Since KariaNet is based on an open-access principle, the quality of information and knowledge has to be cross-checked. No individual will be exclusively responsible for conveying his/her country needs; the diversity of opinions is highly welcomed and encouraged. But to go back to our numbers and how we came through them, KariaNet started with 10 members and reached 79 members in June and finally 160 members in September 2011. The strategy for growth that was used was straight forward and relied on the personal relationships and personal networks of the RCU in the format of personal invitation to members and posts on different networks. The networking visits also played a role in boosting the number of members in KariaNet. But mostly the network was created around the different capacity-building and networking activities that brought together different stakeholders who know more about the project and are the core group members and beneficiaries of KariaNet.
Some challenges were faced during the last seven months that have paved the way for some recommendations to be taken into account while further cementing the network: a- Establishing a common purpose:To bring the different members and organizations together in order for them to define their commonality through the different national and regional networking activities. b- Identifying incentives for participation:To better understand the needs and the demands of the members through the knowledge mapping and the devolution studies that will encourage members to contribute to the expansion of the network.c-Creating an enabling environment to make it easier for members to join and contribute by ensuring the good functioning ofthe website and social media. d- Gaining the trust of targeted members:To articulate clearly the project commitment and setting-up realistic expectations to avoid any kind of misunderstanding and to offer quality services and products. Engaging the members with the quality control system create trust, andopen doors for quantitative and qualitative growth.The members can ultimately be the “porte-parole” ofthe project if they see its added-value and trust its credibility.e- Linking up with other networks:To collaborate and learn from other networks existing in the region such as the network of MENA evaluators, Menarid, CaMaRi and many others, where joint activities and even exposure can strengthen the network growth. f- Identifying the network growth indicators:The network growth will not be clear if there are no clear indicators to measure it against. Still, those indicators will help us understand and improve the network based on evidence. It is our learning tool to achieve the objective. Indicators to be considered for the M&E of the network growth strategy:
Progress in membership Progress in contribution and participation Progress in use of the network provided products Inclusiveness of the network Number of tasks delegated by the RCU to the network members
3- The operational mode of KariaNet for its network growth:
The network changed in orientation for the second phase to be an open access platform for all interested and active members and knowledge seekers wanting to benefit from the project and its services. KariaNet will give access to all stakeholders regardless of their power to use and benefit from the available knowledge. The network management should be decentralized, meaning not dependent on one entity solely weather IDRC or IFAD. In fact, KariaNet should evolve to have an independent status to translate demand-driven National and Regional priorities andcontextualize projects’ needs.
Decision-making should be participatory to comprise all opinions and needs, and leadership should be more distributed amongst the members. This will create a collective sense and will strengthen the degree of connectivity between the members. The idea taking shape recently is to accommodate for a KariaNet in every country depending on the format that they require, to be as demand-driven as possible and to reflect some of the National common needs, it is not a “one size fitsall” model. In Morocco for example, KariaNet is moving towards an NGO entity and this will be validated or rejected in November 17-18. In Sudan, it is the IFAD-funded projects and the Central Coordination Unit under the umbrella of the ministry of agriculture that took the lead in the network growth and development. As for Lebanon, the education and extension department at the MoA is the most active body to move Karianet forward and as a final example, KariaNet in Egypt will be under the umbrella of the Agricultural Research Center. These spe cific four examples represent the different approach in the network growth stressing that KariaNet should be fluid & dynamic to accommodate the different interests. Our vision for the website utility has also shifted, to be a venue for collaboration and facilitation rather than the sole building block of the project.
Figure 1: KariaNet strategic balance for the up-coming 2 years
Effort and intervention of kariaNet decreasing
Interest, engagement and empowerment of members in decision-making increasing
KariaNet is in the process of starting its devolution study that will tackle the different scenarios of the network devolution and sustainability and that will reshape our network growth strategy based on the incentives identified and the needs underlined by the information collected in the study as well as the different knowledge mapping national studies.
Finally, the applied-research call for proposals will be launched in October and that will target a larger audience and create more interest and engagement in KariaNet due to the financial incentive of the call.
Figure 2: the operational mode of KariaNet for growth
KariaNet is an inclusive network based on open-access principles
the network will expand through
the network will expand through
Proactive personal invitations to members and organizations
National and regional networking activities
the network will expand through
the network will expand through
Capacity-building and research
linking with other networks
KariaNet devolution scenario
4- List of incentives : To have access to a sound source of information, resources and knowledge in the three thematic areas of KariaNet To be associated with a regional community working on knowledge management and knowledge sharing, a new topic that is gaining momentum in the region and that has increasing international support and promoted by international organizations To have a quick access on a database of experts in food security and rural enterprise development with a focus on knowledge sharing and knowledge management. To express the needs of countries in knowledge management and knowledge sharing as part of national networks Platform for sharing lessons learned and for learning from the experiences of others Visibility of projects and programmes Expanding the reach of organizations joining KariaNet Capacity-building activities Financial incentives: call for proposal launched by the network or by IDRC or IFAD; small remuneration forthe “champions” to facilitate the regional thematic networksRewarding system: participate in conferences; publish your content on IFAD or IDRC’s website; have a work opportunity
5-Members’ distribution until October 10, 2011
KariaNet website accounts for 160 members with the following distributions:
Chart 1: KariaNet members’ distribution by countries
The network highest representation is from Egypt (26%), followed by Sudan (15%) and Morocco and Jordan (11%). Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Yemen are the least represented (4%).
The high representation from Egypt is well-understood since the RCU is functioning from Egypt and has managed to network more due to geographical practicality. As for Sudan, IFAD-funded projects are well aware of KariaNet and are actively participating. Jordan was our positive surprise, since the participation is not based on the RCU networking, but more on the interest of developmental practitioners in the country. For Morocco and Algeria, the research institutes and organizations have the higher percentage, since most of them worked with IDRC and are personal contacts of the RCU.
Chart 2: KariaNet members’ distribution by affiliations
st KariaNet biggest percentage goes for the research organizations and researchers (28%) since the 1 strategy in growth was through personal invitations, which were mostly in research, followed by governmental representations (22%) targeted at the different networking activities of KariaNet to the different ministries. IFAD-funded projects came in third place with 15%, and this number is still growing. The developmental practitioners (14%) had good representation and that is because of their personal interest in KariaNet and mainly from other countries. The international organizations are members and we should strengthen these linkages and explore joint endeavours. Finally, the private sector and NGOs (6%) have a voice and so does the media with the least representation at 1%.
Table 1: List of institutions participating in KariaNet:
Country Algeria
Institutions 1- École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique d'Alger 2- Ministry of Agriculture 3- University of Oran 4- École Nationale Supérieure d'Hydraulique (ENSH) 1- FAO 2- IDRC 3- National Research Centre 4- Horticulture Research Institute 5- Agriculture Research Center (ARC) 6- Ministry of Communication and information Technology (MCIT) 7- Ministry of Agriculture 8- the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI) 9- Al-Azhar Universty 10- Mansoura University 1- Kifahfarmers’ association2- National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension (NCARE) 3- Ministry of Agriculture 4- National Agricultural Information System (NAIS) 5- Jordan Environment Society 6- NGO Activates 7- Amman Institute for Urban Development 1- CRTD-a 2- Green plan 3- Ministry of Agriculture 4- American University of Beirut (AUB) 5- The Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU) 1- Anaclim 2- Association Riad Imsouane 3-École Nationale Forestière d’ingénieurs (ENFI)4- Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) 5- Ministry of Agriculture 6- Faculté des sciences Ain Chock 7- ESPLANTA 1- American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) 2- Ministry of Agriculture 3- Parc 4- Technical and Applied Research Center (TARC) Palestine Technical University 1- Plant Quarantine Section Khartoum Air Port 2- Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry 1- ICARDA 2- Ministry of Agriculture 3- Fund for Integrated Rural Development of Syria (FIRDOS) 4- Syria Trust for Development 1-Institut de l’olivier
2- Ministry of Agriculture 3- la Direction générale du financement, des investissements et des organismes professionnels (DGFIOP) 4- Institut National de Recherche en Génie Rural Eaux et Forêts (INRGREF) 1- Social Fund for Agricultural Development 2- Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation: Directorate of extension and training 3- Yemeni Association for Sustainable Agricultural Development (YASAD) 4- Social Fund for Development 5- Agricultural Research and Extension Authority (AREA)
Table 2: IFAD-funded projects in KariaNet II:
Country Project Champion st IFAD-funded projects who participated in the 1 phase of KariaNet and that are still on-going, and are active in KariaNet II: EgyptNoubaria Rural Development Project 1- West Prof. Dr.Awad Mohamed Hussein & Eng. Ahmad Salah Jordan2- Agricultural Mr. Khaled Habashneh & Mr. Maamoun AdailehResource Management Project in Karak-Tafila Morocco3- Projet de Développement Rural des zones Montagneuses Mr. Abdelhafid Dahmane d'Al Haouz Sudan4- South Mr. Kamal Osman Balla- general managerKordofan Rural Development Project TunisiaDr. Ali Bouaicha- project directorde Développement Agro-pastoral du Sud-Est 5- Programme (PRODESUD) IFAD-funded projects actively involved in KariaNet II: AlgeriaMr. Mohamed Doumi- Directorde développement rural des zones montagneuses 6- Projet du nord de la Wilaya de M'Sila EgyptEgypt Rural Development Project 7- Upper Mr. Sayed Hussein- Director 8- On-farm Irrigation Development Project in Oldlands Dr. Mohamed Samir Abo Soliman- Director Palestine9- PNRMP/ANERA Dr. Zakariya Salawdeh- Deputy Assistant Minister LebanonAreas Sustainable Agriculture Development Project- 10- Hilly Ms. Gloria Abouzeid- Director Lebanon Moroccode développement rural dans les zones Mr. Ali Zahri11- Projet montagneuses de la province d’Errachida12-Projet de developpment de l’elevage et des parcours dansMr. Rejmil El Hassan- Director l’oriental- PHASE II 13- Projet de développement rural dans le moyen Atlas Mr. Lahcen Ben Assou- Director oriental SudanMr. Abelhamied Adam Hamid- ProjectManagement Programme 14- Western Sudan Resource coordinator 15- Buttana Integrated Rural Development Programme Mr. Rashid Musaad- General Manager 16- Rural access project Mr. Rashid Musaad 17- Gash Sustainable livelihoods Regeneration Programme Mr. Abdu Abass Al Rafeig- project coordinator 18- Supporting Small-scale Tradional Rainfed Producers in Mr. Omar Awad- project coordinator
Syria Tunisia
Sinnar State (SUSTAIN) 19- Southern Sudan Livelihoods development project 20- Revitalizing the Sudan Gum Arabic- Sudan 21- North Eastern Region rural development project 22- Projet de Développement Agricole Intégré dans le Gouvernorat de Siliana- Phase II 23- Rainfed agriculture and livestock project
24- Economic opportunities programmes
Mr. Kamal Balla Mr. Hashim ElHassan Mr. Issam Zannoun Mr. Laabidi AbdelJilil- Assistant Director
Mr. Mahmoud Sallam Almaqtari- Unit head of agriculture & Rural Development Dr. Fathia Bahran- IFAD County Programme Officer