Since January 2015, SEARCA has implemented the project Piloting and Up-Scaling Effective Models of ISARD in accordance with its 10th Five-Year Plan. Through two pilot projects in the Philippines, SEARCA aspires to make a meaningful difference in the lives of farmers and rural communities through active engagement of, and collaboration with, rural communities and institutions; facilitating increased and better communication among major stakeholders; and strengthening their capabilities.
SEARCA had engaged in action research like these pilot projects even in much earlier decades, such as "social laboratory" and "integrated area development" projects as well as pilot testing of farm technologies. Its 50 years of experience in ARD provides a fertile ground for harvesting lessons, principles and concepts, and good practices and technologies that characterize an effective agricultural system or ISARD model.
The Project on Piloting and Up-scaling Effective Models of ISARD aims to: 1. Showcase need-based productivity-enhancing and environment-friendly technologies and practices and other critical elements of people-centered development; 2. Draw lessons and identify best practices that can be replicated and expanded in other areas; 3. Institutionalize active community and local institutions' participation to ensure sustainability of ISARD models and projects; and 4. Identify anticipated outcomes and impact, and use them to formulate adaptive measures/interventions as well as to integrate the design of impact evaluation studies within the Project design.
While implementing the project, SEARCA has seen to it that it provides relevant learning opportunities to its partners and stakeholders in its two pilots, while opening the same opportunity to other interested development researchers and practitioners in the region. In June 2015, the Center offered a training-workshop on Developing, Planning, and Implementing ISARD Projects to a total of 21 participants comprising 10 project partners and 11 other interested participants from three Southeast Asian countries and the Philippines. Participants of this training-workshop applied an innovative and integrative systems-based research framework and examined the commodity system approach, commodity trap analysis, and smallholder empowerment as applied in packaging an ISARD project proposal, mindful of adaptive project management principles.
The Center's partners in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro and Inopacan, Leyte then got organized and had their start-up activities until they formally launched their respective pilot projects in February and March 2016. In May 2016, SEARCA again invited them to send representatives to a forum-workshop on Innovation Platforms, Advisory Services, and Knowledge Management in ISARD here at SEARCA. Here, seven of pilot project representatives joined 18 other participants from five Southeast Asian countries and the Philippines and distilled emerging and best practices in innovation platforms (IP), rural advisory services (RAS), and knowledge management (KM) as pathways toward ISARD.
In August 2016 pilot project counterparts again participated in a SEARCA training-workshop, this time on Results-based Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) for ISARD. The training-workshop aimed to equip participants to track whether the project and its various components on the ground are traversing their intended outcome pathways; whether the flow of resources or inputs and implementation of project activities are on time; and to safeguard transparency, accountability, and integrity in the project.
This fourth offering for pilot project partners and stakeholders now focuses on knowledge management (KM) toward ISARD. The offering is timely because the pilot projects are now full-swing in their implementation and learning phase and have reflected on their envisioned outcomes in the earlier training workshop held last August.
One common pitfall of action research projects is their focus on interventions and relegation of learning, reflection, and knowledge sharing to the tail-end of their project terms. On the other hand, much value is gained if and when KM, just as with M&E, are factored, designed, and implemented side-by-side with development interventions. This workshop is therefore designed as a learning-by-doing event that would enable participants to conceptualize the KM and communication components of their pilot projects, equipping them with necessary skills to start-up their knowledge-sharing and policy advocacy initiatives toward ISARD.
Prospective participants of this workshop will include key ISARD pilot project team representatives, research and extension managers and leaders, and KM and communication managers in ministries of agriculture, agriculture universities, civil society, and local governments in Southeast Asia.
Limited support will be made available for selected participants from the Philippines who are leading SEARCA ISARD pilot projects. Other participants from other Southeast Asian countries and outside the region will be welcome to participate on a cost-sharing arrangement with their own sponsors.
At the end of the five-day workshop, participants are expected to be able to:
Review and analyze their project designs and KM set-up if any, adding value with a better-informed KM and communication strategy;
Enhance their knowhow on selected needed KM and communication skills, from planning, designing, to executing KM/communication initiatives;
Design a KM and communication plan appropriate for the requirements of their action projects; and 4. Prepare a draft prototype KM/communication tool or material most useful for their respective action projects.
At the end of the workshop, participants will be expected to have the following outputs:
New or reviewed and improved KM/communication plan/strategy appropriate for an existing action project or development initiative
Draft prototype KM/communication tools or materials that participants may refine and finalize back at work
Module 1. Rationale of and Opportunities for KM and Communication in ISARD Action Projects
Module 2. Processes and Outcomes of ISARD Action Projects
Module 3. Planning and Strategizing KM and Communication Initiatives in ARD
Module 4. KM/Communication Skills and How-to Workshops
Workshop 1 – Sharing knowledge via images - basic photography and graphics
Workshop 2 – Communicating with policymakers via briefs
Workshop 3a – Basics of audiovisual presentation
Workshop 3b – Basics of social media, web tools and techniques
Workshop 3c – Case story and feature writing
The workshop will include practice-oriented lecturettes, presentation of cases and exemplars, and hands-on exercises. Some workshops will provide opportunities for parallel learning, providing choices as may be relevant to the needs of the participants.
Module 2 on processes and outcomes of ISARD action projects will be a recurrent theme and comprise the content of Module 3 and Module 4 workshops. Workshops 3a, 3b, and 3c will be parallel, allowing participants to focus on developing their knowledge-sharing scheme they are most interested in. They may join one of the parallel workshops and have different outputs depending on their entry skills and learning pace.
Each workshop will have a designated tutor. Resource persons and workshop tutors will present principles, pointers, and guidelines based on practice and real cases.
On Day 5, participants will present their workshop outputs and allow shared learning with their fellow participants as they critique and provide suggestions on the outputs for further improvement.
The workshop is being organized by the Knowledge Management Department-Training Unit (KMD-TU) of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).
Workshop Duration and Venue
3-7 April 2017 | SEARCA, College, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines
The workshop fee is US$633/PHP31,764.00 per participant (live-in rate), which covers workshop materials, meals during the duration of the event, accommodation (twin-sharing), and whenever applicable, airport transfers. Live-out rate is US$404.00/PHP17,633.00. Subsidized rates are available upon request to government employees.
All other expenses associated with the workshop (international air travel, visa, airport terminal fees, travel/health insurance, and other personal expenses) are at the participants' own expense.
NOTE: Limited training support is open only to qualified nationals of SEAMEO member countries (i.e., Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam).
The deadline for filing of application with limited training support is 17 March 2017. Once awarded, grantees will have until 22 March 2017 to officially register for the forum. Deadline for filing of application for fee-paying participants is 22 March 2017. Course fees must be received by SEARCA before the workshop commences. Deadline for registration of fee-paying participants is 27 March 2017.