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Kenya Agricultural Information Network

By Christine Reynolds,2014-05-17 01:40
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The participants discussed and made a SWOT analysis by identifying the emerging opportunities, threats, existing strengths and weakness of their

    Kenya AGRIS Pilot Project

Report on the Institutional Strategy and Policy write shop, 19 - 23 March 2007, Kenya

    College of Communication Technology, Nairobi, Kenya

    Introduction

    The Kenya AGRIS pilot project is a three year project focusing on the establishment of a an

    agricultural electronic repository as part of the Kenyan national science and technology

    information system in relation to the Strategy for Revitalising Agriculture (SRA). The project

    is a response to demands for coherence in the management of agricultural information to

    enhance information exchange and access among agricultural-sector stakeholders. Under the

    project, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute in collaboration with CABI and

    ASARECA- RAIN, supported by FAO and other partners are working together to carry out a

    case study in Kenya on the establishment of an electronic repository based on the

    International Information System for the Agricultural Sciences and Technology (AGRIS).

    The partnership involves five (5) national institutions that represent key stakeholders in the

    sector and it addresses issues on ICT/M policy/strategy frameworks, human capacity in

    ICT/M and mechanisms that support content development and information exchange between

    respective user clusters within science and technology.

The project objectives are:

    1. To facilitate the development of institutional policies and strategies on information

    and communication management (ICM) in agricultural sciences and technology in

    Kenya.

    2. To develop the basis for a national AGRIS network, including selected resource

    centres and the mechanism for fostering institutional collaboration.

    3. To strengthen human resource capacities in the key centres.

    4. To document the process and develop as a case study for development of a national

    AGRIS network.

Phase one of the project was concerned with building a common vision among national

    project partners (KARI-HQ, KARI-NARL, KEFRI, MoA, JKUAT) and the project

    implementing agencies (ASARECA-RAIN, FAO, CABI). The main activities of the second

    phase of the Kenya AGRIS Pilot project include provision of support to the institutions

    participating in the project in reviewing/developing ICM policies and strategies and

developing a network strategy and action plan for KAINET. Other activities include

    identifying a framework for knowledge sharing; capacity building and technical support on

    establishment of the information system and planning and reviewing of activities for phase 3

    of the project.

The “write-shop was in response to activity on analysis and development of ICT/M

    strategies and policies for the pilot AGRIS resource centres (Activity 1: Provide Technical

    support to institutions in reviewing ICM policies and strategies). This had been identified as

    an important component to enhance the capacities at these institutions to manage and

    disseminate their research output. Dr. Antony Kilewe was the key resource person to lead this

    activity and facilitated the workshop as follows:

    1. Plenary strategic planning lectures presentations

    2. Teamwork sessions

    3. Plenary team feedback sessions.

Each of the institutions had a team leader and a rapporteur. There were 22 participants from

    the 5 pilot institutions as follows:

    ? Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, HQ- 7

    ? Jomo Kenyatta University of Agricultura & Technology (JKUAT)- 4

    ? Ministry of Agriculture, Kilimo Library (MoA) -3

    ? Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI)- 4

    ? Kenya Agricultural Research Institute National Agricultural Laboratories- (NARL-

    KARI) 4

    In addition to the main “write-shop” facilitator, there were resource persons from the three

    partners:

    ? Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)- 1

    ? CABI- ARC -1

    ? ASARECA /RAIN - 1

Notably absent were representatives from KADOC, a subunit of the Agricultural Information

    Resource Centre (AIRC), the parent department under which Kilimo library falls in the

    Ministry. They had been invited and a follow up made during the workshop but they did not

    turn up. Participants were mainly professionals from the Library and Documentation and

    Publications units, systems administrators, and researchers.

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The write-shop started with an overview of the project to bring all the participants on the

    same level since some of them were not directly involved but were present to participate in

    the ICT/M strategic planning for their institutions.

It should be noted that having assessed the participants capacities and the whole exercise of

    strategic planning, it was agreed unanimously that the forum did not have the capacity to

    formulate institutional strategies and policies but would concentrate on the Library and

    Documentation area which was heavily represented. The other functional departments of the

    institutions were not represented and those present did not have sufficient knowledge of the

    information activities in these departments and could therefore not effectively represent them.

    The overall proposal therefore was that once the Library and Documentations departmental

    strategic plan and policy documents were developed, these groups would use this draft to lead

    the activities in their institutions under the guidance of the facilitator. The KAINet Strategy

    and Plan will be handled in a separate workshop due to lack of time.

    Write-shop activities

    Lecture presentation

    The facilitator presented lectures on the following topics:

    1. Topic1. Introduction to strategic management and planning - topics covered included

    strategic management, strategic planning, the need, use and benefits of a strategic plan.

    2. Topic 2.: Planning to plan - topics covered included getting started, readiness to

    strategic planning, commitment and responsibilities in strategic planning,

    identification of the planning team, educating the planning team and the organization,

    involving the stakeholders, setting realistic time expectations, and the strategic

    planning process.

    3. Topic 3.: Sub sector review and constraints analysis - topics covered included sub-

    sector review, sub-sector development objective analysis, constraint analysis and the

    process of constraint analysis.

    4. Topic 4.: SWOT analysis - topics covered included the Context, Inputs, Processes and

    Products (CIPP) model and SWOT analysis, organizational SWOT analysis matrix,

    external environment analysis, identification of the relevant external environment,

    internal organizational analysis covering the organizational inputs, process, products,

    strengths and weakness.

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    5. Topic 5.: The Gap analysis - covering definitions of gaps, identification and analysis

    of gaps, and criteria hierarchy.

    6. Topic 6.: Formulating an organization’s vision - covering what a vision statement is,

    how it is used and its impact and steps in visioning.

    7. Topic 7.: Formulating a mission statement - covering what a mission statement is,

    need for, constitution , purpose of a mission statement, the business statement, the

    values and how to write a mission statement.

    8. Topic 8.: Formulating strategic objectives

Team work sessions:

    After each plenary presentation, the teams representing the 5 institutions regrouped into 4

    main groups (MoA, KARI and NARL, KEFRI, JKUAT) to discuss amongst themselves and

    to write up. The results were then presented in a plenary giving the opportunity to critic and

    learn from each other. The following sessions were done:

Session 1: Background

    The teams were able to discuss on the current status of the agricultural sector by reviewing the

    various documents on strategic planning that are available. The Ministry of Agriculture

    provided substantive documents being the mother institution, however the other teams also

    added in their institution‟s documents. During this session the participants identified,

    discussed and analysed the major national and institutional ICT/M guiding documents for the

    purpose of nesting the institutional strategic plan with the sub-sector strategic plan.

Session 2 Situational Analysis

    The participants discussed and made a SWOT analysis by identifying the emerging

    opportunities, threats, existing strengths and weakness of their institutions. Out of this, they

    identified the critical strategic issues (Gaps) that the institutions needed to address in order to

    solve the identified challenges and constraints so as to take advantage of the opportunities and

    prospects available.

Session 3. Strategic Focus

    The participants reviewed the relevant documents and formulated their strategic vision,

    mission statements and guiding core values. They also identified the goal and purpose as well

    as the strategic objectives of their institutionsInformation and Communication Strategies.

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Session 4. Intervention Strategies and Policies

    The participants used the strategic objectives to identify and prioritize the critical issues to be

    addressed, the intervention strategies as well as formulating the policies required to guide the

    management of information and communication in the institutions.

Session 5: Organization and management structure on the implementation plan and

    monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and session 6 on results/logical framework were not

    covered. It was felt that this can only be handled after the institutional strategy and policy

    documents were completed.

    Other activities

    1. Jacqueline Nyagahima of ASARECA - RAIN who is leading the activity on Identifying

    the framework for knowledge sharing made a presentation on:

    a. Identification of knowledge sharing stakeholder categories, their knowledge,

    attitudes and practices (KAP)

    b. Identification of knowledge sharing materials and channels.

    She also presented the experience of ASARECA in the strategic planning process which

    was very useful in shaping the direction of the write-shop.

    2. Jane Asaba of CABI made 2 presentations as follows:

    a. An introductory overview of the KAINet project including achievements of phase

    1 and,

    b. The way activities were to be completed by 30th May 2007 when Phase II will end. 3. Irene Onyancha of FAO made two presentations as follows:

    a. The critical issues that need to be addressed in the area of information

    management and dissemination as a basis to develop effective ICT/M strategic

    plans and policies

    b. The status of the KAINet project highlighting on the planned activities and current

    achievements. She also emphasized the underlying objective of the project in the

    development of institutional electronic repositories.

Write-shop Outputs

    1. Each institution had a draft ICT/M strategy and policy covering the library and

    documentation and publication functions in their institutions with a well developed

    introduction section for the institution ICM strategic plan.

    2. Participants were trained on the process of strategic planning with a focus on

    developing ICT/M strategic plan and policies for their institutions.

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    3. Better understanding of the critical issues that need to be addressed for effective and

    efficient management and dissemination of the institutional information resources.

    Way forward

    1. On return to their institutions, the participants will continue to develop the draft

    1Information Services ICT/M strategies/policies. They will also form working teams

    constituting members from other departments to initiate the process of developing

    broader institutional ICM strategies and policies. Action: Institutional teams /

    Resource person

    2. There will be a one day seminar at the 4/5 institutions participating in the pilot project

    to present the draft documents to the management and other departments and to create

    awareness on the need for the broader institutional ICT/M Strategies and policies.

    Action: Project Management Committee /institutional teams/ Resource person

    2. The Resource person will continue to facilitate the process at the institutional level to

    completion of the draft documents. Action: Resource person

    3. The final drafts will be presented in the planning workshop scheduled for May 2007.

    Action: Institutional members of the PMC

    4. All the institutional ICT/M drafts developed at the write-shop and any other useful

    materials for the process will be posted in the KAINet Dgroup where individual

    members can contribute and share. Action: Dgroup systems administrator.

    5. A workshop was scheduled for 5 days for mid April 2007 to handle the following

    activities:

    a. Finalise the KAINet framework. A draft document is available from the project

    stakeholder workshop held in September 2006.

    Action: Resource Person/PMC

    b. Develop a framework for knowledge sharing for the Kenya AGRIS project

    (KAINet). (3 days).

    Action: PMC/RAIN- ASARECA

    Conclusion

    The write-shop was well received by the participants and was a bench mark in the process of

    developing an ICT/M strategy and policy document for their institutions. The participants

    came with full endorsement from their institutions and were very enthusiastic about the whole

     1 Represents the Library and Documentation; Publications and IT units

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    process. However, they felt that the duration was too short taking into consideration the learning and the wide consultations required to develop institutional ICM strategies and policies. Nearly all the participants were new to this process; nevertheless the process of doing it together provided means for the different institutions to share, learn and critic each other making the process more effective. The participants asked for a clarification between the ICT and ICM acronyms and also asked for more resources for future write-shops especially examples of ICT/M strategies and policy documents as well as relevant case studies from other institutions. Lessons learnt include more extensive preparation and consultation at institutional level prior to holding future write-shops, especially now that we recognise the amount of work involved. The expectation set to produce complete draft institutional ICT/M strategies and policies at the end of the write-shop was well intended but ambitious and thus was not deliverable considering the shortfall in representation of all relevant departments from each institution. Nonetheless the process is started and the drafts developed at the write shop can be developed further with more input from other

    stakeholders within the institution. Even though the participants were committed to the process, few were at the policy maker level as had been expected and thus the drafts will need to be promoted at this level for acceptance. The project management team as well as the participants propose to carry on the activity in phase III to ensure its completion.

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