Introducing Learning Pathways to Focus the Discussions




The heart of the fair will be a series of ‘learning pathways’ that integrate key knowledge processes and major knowledge spaces in a participatory process of mapping, sharing and connecting the people attending.

Each learning pathway comprises three phases:

1. The first is ‘mapping’, where the participants gain an overview, and collectively characterize the activities and talents in the theme. We want to ‘map’ what’s happening in the thematic area in Africa, by whichever way best suits the group. We want to map what the people participating are doing. This could result in some kind of high level gap analysis based on the knowledge of people in the session.

2. The second is ‘sharing’, where selected initiatives – chosen to highlight innovative or important experiences - are exposed and explored in a peer assist mode. We want to hear and share diverse experiences – from grassroots, science and policy, and intermediary levels. We want to look across the full process of knowledge (and information and data) creation, sharing, communication, and use. This should result in a rich dialogue and conversations where promising ideas and experiences are surfaced, get feedback, and can be taken forward.

3. The third phase is ‘brokering’, where people get together in facilitated discussions that foster collaboration and the forming of future joint ventures. This should result in people getting together to collaborate in new or extended activities that create, share put knowledge to work in the theme.

The organizers of each pathway can define the specific processes they will use in each phase. We want to get beyond presentations and powerpoints (as few of these as possible).

Each phase should employ participatory processes that engage all the participants and maximize peer to peer learning and exchange. Each session should employ facilitators and make look at innovative ways to capture, document and share the points discussed. Advice and support on facilitation and social reporting are available to each organizing group.

Each pathway conversation should explicitly address experiences and learning from:

• GRASSROOT SPACES. Activities and actions that create, exchange and share local, indigenous or community knowledge. The focus is on knowledge creation and sharing in local spaces;

• INTERMEDIARY SPACES. Activities and services that bridge and connect ‘local to global’ knowledge and actors in agricultural. The focus is on multi-actor learning and innovation networks spanning different communities;

• RESEARCH AND POLICY SPACES. Research services and activities that generate data and evidence for decision making. The focus is more on ‘scientific’ evidence based knowledge and information systems and institutions.

Each pathway should address the entire knowledge chain:

• CREATING - processes and tools used to create and co-create knowledge and information;

• SHARING – strategies and approaches by which different types of knowledge are exchanged and shared;

• COMMUNICATING – ways in which different people interact and communicate what they know;

• USING –impact pathways that put knowledge to use, get knowledge into action, link knowledge with change.

We expect each pathway will have people participating who can share on all of these aspects.