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CapEx Pastoralism

Logo http://sdc.pageflow.io/pastoralism_en

Overview

Learning process of the sub-group Pastoralism of the Agriculture and Food Security Network
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SDC staff involved in programmes in the field of pastoralism in West Africa and the Horn of Africa engaged in a learning process of capitalizing experiences in this field.
With the objectives of learning from each other’s experiences and of enhancing their own expertise in eight selected key topics, SDC staff with a portfolio in pastoralism undertook this process in a structured way starting from March 2014.

This story tells about the concept of the process, its different steps and gives voice to the different actors involved in this process.
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How it all began

During the regional strategic planning workshop in Nairobi in May 2012, the Horn of Africa programme staff realized the need for learning from the experiences of the Sahel programme in the field of pastoralism. When the Thematic Group on Rural Development and Food Security of SDC’s West Africa division met in April 2013 in Accra, this idea was officially proposed and adopted. In the next meeting of the Rural Development Thematic Group in Biltine, Chad, in March 2014, the concerned staff started the discussion about key topics in which they wanted to explore the experiences from other countries, since solid own knowledge on particular issues was lacking. This initial deliberation of the sub-group resulted in a list of 17 Guiding Questions. In a participatory selection process, the members of the sub-group pastoralism identified nine priority topics and committed to act as coordinator and/or contributor to one or more topics. With this step, ownership was fostered among the members.
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Getting started

Now the activities could get started. In October 2014, the core group – mandated with the task to steer the process – hired a facilitator, who unfortunately had to step back from his mandate for private reasons. In February 2015, two facilitators took over: Ernst Bolliger for designing and facilitating the process of the capitalization, and Ann Waters-Bayer for giving expert feedback to the selected topics and to link the staff of the Cooperation Offices to relevant organizations, resources and research. During this phase, the coordinators of the topics collected insights, documented experiences, interviewed experts, accessed resources regarding their topics and exchanged with the other members of the sub-group.
With the support of Ernst Bolliger, the NPOs in Mali and Benin conducted two local one-day workshops with the objective to collect and discuss experiences about the chosen topic with relevant stakeholders. Other coordinators of topics made use of moments forts of their programmes for the collection of external experiences or they contacted directly partner organizations, government representatives or specific research organizations. In the frame of this learning process, the facilitators also brought together SDC staff and external experts from Mongolia and Central Asia.
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In parallel to collecting experiences for the selected questions  – the number went finally down from nine to eight, as two topics were merged –, each NPO responsible for “his” topic started to draft the CapEx Brief based on a template  suggested by the facilitators. Moreover, the facilitators commented on the draft briefs, until they were ready to be presented in the workshop in Isiolo.
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Workshop

The workshop in Isiolo finally brought together for five days the coordinators and the contributors of the eight selected topics. Representatives from the SDC Head Office and from organizations with expertise in one or more of the topics – from the involved regions, but also from Central Asia – joined them. During one day all participants had the possibility to exchange with representatives of a pastoralist association from Isiolo County.
The workshop was designed in a highly participatory way that allowed and enhanced the exchange among the different experience-holders and the integration of new insights into the CapEx Briefs.
On the fourth day of the workshop, the coordinators revised their CapEx-Briefs based on the different feedbacks and comments they received during the preceding days. In the following weeks, peers contributed with further reviews. You can find the final version here.
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The process of experience capitalization is very important because it allows us to have enough information and enough knowledge to be able to make a new start regarding this topic.

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If this process would be done again, for me it would be necessary to have a launching workshop after recruiting the facilitators, in order to allow the stakeholders in this process to better understand their role and to be better prepared.

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These experiences have allowed us to see beyond Mali, beyond the Sahel, and to turn to all Africa. Here experiences and innovations take place that allow us to update our programs, to get new ideas and leverage to enhance our current activities.

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I recommend such a workshop for other domains, because it allows to bring together different experiences from different contexts. At the same time I recommend, that there is no need  to hurry with such processes. It has to be long, you need to take your time, it has to be well prepared. In the workshop we will meet only for five days and not everything can be solved here. But if there is a good preparation behind it – before the workshop – this could really be a big success.

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Un côté est de considérer le temps nécessaire pour planifier un tel atelier. L’autre est de trouver les bonnes personnes ressource pour appuyer le processus.

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Nous discutons de tellement beaucoup de différents thèmes – plus de huit – dans le processus CapEx. Et nous pouvons facilement thématiser et capturer à tous les sujets si nous discutons ensemble, sans lire une masse de journaux académiques et sans rester seuls dans les bureaux. Une semaine peut générer beaucoup. Et la meilleure chose qui peut être faite lors de tels ateliers est de discuter les questions avec les communautés et les personnes ressources locales.

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Concernant les recommandations pour le processus général de CapEx : nous étions des participants venant de différents endroits de l’Afrique, il y avait des personnes de l’Afrique de Ouest, de l’Afrique de l’Est … Quelquefois la communication était un peu difficile. Pour un prochain processus CapEx il serait important de traduire et partager les CapEx briefs déjà avant l’atelier. Ainsi les réactions peuvent être collectées avant l’atelier. Avant de conduire un tel atelier il serait important d’organiser des ateliers intermédiaires pour renforcer la compréhension et de collecter plus des réactions et plus des contributions. Je recommanderai ces deux points pour un future CapEx processus.

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What I would recommend mostly is to take maybe a reduced number of topics and to take the time to work on them more in-depth. And then to take the time to share experiences regarding the two or three topics and to really integrate these experiences. Like this we would finalize and complete well our experience capitalization processes.

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L’idée de développer un produit, un document dans un processus de travail en équipe est vraiment enrichissante et a une influence positive sur la qualité du produit. Si vous envisagez d’organiser und processus de capitalisation d’expériences je vous rappelle de prendre en considération les coûts. Je pense que nous apprenons toujours dans de tels processus – indépendamment du coût – mais quelquefois ils sont vraiment très chers !

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Outlook

The last day of the workshop served to discuss the follow-up and define next steps in order to integrate the insights and results of the CapEx process at programme and policy level. The participants expressed a vivid interest to make the most out of the CapEx process and make it known to others.
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An important element of this capitalization of the experiences is, that the initiative and the identification of the questions to capitalize on came from the field.
The learning process had enough time to develop. At the same time it is key not to overload the participants of the learning process.
Through a participatory approach the participants were encouraged to assume ownership.
The CapEx briefs served as guidelines for synthesizing experiences and established common ground for all the different topics and the exchange between the participants of the learning process.

 


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More Information

Find more on Pastoralism and SDC's activities in the domain of Agriculture and Food Security on the website of the A+FS network.

Thanks for the active commitment in starting the process to Adamou Boureima, Markus Eggenberger, Hamet Cissé, Manuel Flury, Andrea Siclari.

Thanks to the core group that steered and organized the process: Marc Bloch, Felix Fellmann, Manuel Flury, Pascal Rouamba and Laurence von Schulthess.

Thanks to Ernst Bolliger und Ann Waters-Bayer for the facilitation of the learning process.

Explore more examples of capitalization processes and other learning experiences on the website of the Learning and Networking Team.
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