Story by Marc Ghislain Bappa Se (Cameroon & Rep for Central Africa)
Globalization, technology, rapid change and uncertainty have become increasing features of global realities. The world has even become smaller, though processes and practices moving at a very fast pace, which to some extent might be difficult to follow. Young people have the ideas, the creativity and great energy to shape a better world. “The youth is the hope of our future”, said Jose Rizal, as through their imagination, great ideas and innovation, they find solutions that address needs and entice positive social change in the world. Their recognition by the biggest fishes in the world such as the United Nations, as agents of change, entrusted with fulfilling their own potential and ensuring a world fit for future generations is unprecedented.
Having an idea is one thing, codifying and binding it with external information, then assembling the whole package and structuring it such that it fits into context and purpose is another thing. What comes out of it is what we call “knowledge”. Knowledge is everywhere, in arts, in business, in culture, in music, in cooking, you name it. But actually, what percentage of youth out there, African youth specifically, really know what knowledge management is all about? What it encompasses, the opportunities that it offers and its relevance to advance development effectiveness? Well, to the best of my knowledge, I’ll say very few youth. I’ve been in this field for a couple of years now and I can tell there aren’t many out there in Africa who exert in the field of knowledge management for the benefit of our African continent. This is a clear sign that there is an opportunity to tap on here, for the youth and by the youth, so see this field as a promising intervention area to empower and engage into, as it cross-cuts across development sectors and other professional fields thus provide tremendous opportunities.
The 1st edition of the Knowledge Management for Agricultural Development Challenge, a three-month intensive learning journey that aimed at i) building appropriate capacities in developing organizational KM concepts through trainings on KM essentials and learning sessions on K-societies; ii) establishing KM CoPs for artificial intelligence; and iii) strengthening mechanisms for knowledge generation to accelerate the achievement of the CAADP Malabo goals by 2025 the 2030 SDGs ran from September to December, 2021. This opportunity was timely and the Young Professional for Agricultural Development (YPARD), an international movement by young professionals for young professionals for agricultural development saw an empowerment niche for its African youth members. This 1st edition challenge saw the active participation of 12 African YPARDians from nine African countries (Kenya, Ghana, DR Congo, Cameroon, Madagascar, Burundi, Ethiopia, Uganda and Nigeria) including the YPARD Country Representatives of Kenya (Phidel Arunga), Madagascar (Malala Rakotojaofeno), Nigeria (Njikwagh Eric Terver) and Burundi (Mavaruganda Eric). From end-to-end, YPARD’s presence in this 1st cohort training couldn’t be left unnoticed. In terms of the expected outcome from this challenge, among others, each YPARDian developed a KM Strategy for its national chapter and a national KM policy brief around the 10 ambitious work packages proposed that aim at advancing KM for agricultural development in Africa.
Teamwork activities were also undertaken in the course of this challenge and as naturally as it may be, four out of the five established groups were led by YPARDians. Here I will mention Francis Nguru (YPARD Kenya), Victoria Mbigidde (YPARD Uganda), Malala Rakotojaofeno (YPARD Madagascar) and myself (YPARD Cameroon). From an event online promotion and visibility standpoint, over the three months, Twitter was flooded with tweets from the lead heads Paul Atsu (YPARD Ghana) and Charles Masereka (YPARD Uganda). This online social reporting activity was highly welcomed and caught the attention of a great number of youth out there, with 33 tweets creating over 25,000 impressions (230% increase from previous month) on Twitter alone. I will not forget the Maiden Edition of the KM for Agricultural Development Conference that was held from 7th-9th December, 2021 where YPARDians made presentations, ensured moderation in plenary and discussion sessions and took part in work of art activities.
In the prospect of seeing a rapid expansion of knowledge management in the African continent and youth empowerment and engagement in this field, the participation of African YPARDian was a bold move because moving forward, they will have to drive that movement of promoting KM first within the YPARD Africa network such that the other member countries should benefit from their experience and as well mutualize their thoughts and efforts to revise or build up the YPARD Africa KM strategy, system and process. Moreover, as recognized KMers for sustainable development, it is now in their mandate to also promote this field at the country level and across African regional states, such they also see into knowledge management, an indispensable component for organizational performance and effectiveness. It is a heavy responsibility to carry on for sure, but it isn’t impossible to achieve, for the sole reason that youth are fearless, brave, impetuous, dynamic and self-confident and as advocates for youth engagement in agricultural development, it is the right time for us to start demonstrating out there that the Africa we want tomorrow, thanks to agriculture and its cross-cutting components, cannot be achieved if leveraging knowledge isn’t at the heart of every thought and action in that regard.
An appreciation goes to all the facilitators who shed sweat to provide us with the appropriate knowledge in KM, the respective organizations who nominated participants to take part in the learning journey, the FARA Team for the great work in ensuring the smooth rolling out of the KM4AgD Conference and the funding bodies for the financial support to make this initiative come true.
For inquiries about the KM4AgD Challenge, please contact:
Blog written by
Marc Ghislain Bappa Se
CIKM, Cameroonian Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (CAMFAAS)
Member – YPARD Africa
KM4AgD Challenge participant from AFAAS and now,
“Certified Knowledge Manager for Sustainable Development”.