Kenya AGRIS Pilot Project
Report on the Institutional Strategy and Policy ‘write shop’, 19 - 23 March 2007, Kenya
College of Communication Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
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
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
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
? 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.
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.
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
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.
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
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 institutions‟ Information and Communication Strategies.
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.
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
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.
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.
3. Better understanding of the critical issues that need to be addressed for effective and
efficient management and dissemination of the institutional information resources.
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 /
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
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
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
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.