Focus Group session on (Institutionalising) Documention / Systematisation

Organizers/ Focal Point(s)

  • Awa Faly Ba - editor of AGRIDAPE (IED Afrique, Dakar, Senegal)
  • Susan Mwangi - editor of BAOBAB (ALIN, Nairobi, Kenya) E-mail: and
  • Jorge Chavez-Tafur - editor of "Farming Matters" (ILEIA, Amersfoort, the Netherlands). E-mail:

Some outputs

    Aims of the session

    During ther past few years, our organisations have been supporting farmers and practitioners in a series of documentation and systematization processes. The aim has been to describe their work, analyse it in detail, and draw lessons from it; "unearthing" ideas, and thus contributing to the generation of knowledge. We have developed and tested methodologies which involve different stakeholders, and we have been able to publish the rresults, and share them widely. But our work has also focused on the identification of the main difficulties that such documentation processes have, in a way which can be seen as the documentation of a documenattion process. We have looked at the main lessons emerging, whether this is relation to the methodology used, to the involvement of different participants, or to the specific topics which these participants want to document. The different organisations we have been working with have all shown a common difficulty: that of "institutionalising" the knowledge management process, and thus sustaining it in time.

    With this focus group we would like to look at these concerns. How to go beyond a one-time documentation "project"? Is it necessary to replicate this project, or to run a different one? How to scale it up so that more people are involved? In short, this would mean identifying and sharing ideas regarding, for example,
    • commitment and support
    • internal capacity development
    • internal institutional arrangements
    • necessary resources (and time)


    This session is to last for 90 -120 minutes.

    1. Agenda for the session

    The session will start with a (very) short introduction of the participants, and with a presentation of the main objectives of the meeting.
    We will then have two or three presenters, describing their own documentation processes. Instead of describing the whole process they have been through, speakers will be asked to highlight the most relevant aspects and the major lessons learnt during the process - paying specific attention to the main limitations or difficulties faced during the process.

    These two or three speakers will then face a small panel, which will ask them to look at their efforts to sustain the process. Speakers will then look at, for example,
    • what happened after the "project" finished?
    • where there enough resources? Was there interest and commitment among the team?
    • what steps were taken to ensure continuity?

    The questions of this panel will be followed by a moderated discussion, involving all participants.
    The main issues raised will be "compiled" or put together as if in a documentation process (describing - analysing - sharing)

    2. Facilitators

    • Jorge Chavez-Tafur

    3. Knowledge Sharing technique used (if any):

    • case studies
    • chat show
    • systematizacion

    Speakers / Talents

    • Wirsiy Eric Fondzenyuy, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer CENDEP; P.O. Box 742, Limbe, Cameroon
    • Benjamin Kwasi Addom (Ghana), PhD. Candidate, Information Science and Technology, iSchool @ Syracuse, New York USA
    • Gilbert Nzomo, the secretary general of the AGRIDAPE network in Cameroon (??)
    • Samba MBaye, leader of the UGPN farmers union in Mekhe, Senegal (??)