CTA and CIAT to partner with the Pan-African Bean Alliance on knowledge management

CTA and CIAT to partner with the Pan-African Bean Alliance on knowledge management

It took us some time but finally CTA, CIAT and PABRA will work together on a knowledge management initiative!

Indeed, we needed more than a year to nail down the collaboration, probably because even if relatively “small” activities are promising entry points to future growing undertakings, they often do not receive the attention they disserve.


The Pan African Beans Research Alliance (PABRA) is an international network, originally established by CIAT, now comprising 29 national agricultural research institutions, and over 350 partners from Farmers and rural communities, Non-Government Organizations, traders and private sector. PABRA sees its role as contributing to Food Security and Nutrition by improving the range of varieties of beans adapted to local environment and climate and improving the quality of seeds and cropping systems. The knowledge management intervention that we are addressing in this collaboration will involve one of the three regional networks of PABRA, the Southern African Beans Research Network (SABRN), which comprises 13 countries and is currently at the phase of program planning, with a meeting of the network scheduled for November 2015.

See recent story on how PABRA supports the deployment of new drought-resilient white beans to Ethiopia. PABRA is also currently featured at the Borlaug dialogues on Breaking the Bottlenecks to Scale up Bean Seed Systems in Africa.

One of the challenges faced by the PABRA research networks are that they are not fully effective at conveying the results of agricultural research in the beans sector to their target audience, especially the smallholders. The network that constitute PABRA lack a comprehensive analysis and assessment of their KM practices and thus the KM processes and tools to accompany project implementation. So our assumption is that by improving the network’s participatory processes of creating, storing and using knowledge, we can enhance learning and innovation, hence effectiveness and impact. The use of SABRN knowledge products and services can be optimized internally and externally if we reach our target audiences smartly.



Therefore, the SABRN planning event offers the opportunity to test the combined application of the two methods, namely the “KM Tree” framework and the KM scan that CTA has developed for analysis of KM within a network, combined with the application of the KM impact pathway planning tool that CIAT elaborated. The case study will also serve as a learning opportunity for both CTA and CIAT for joint documentation and sharing of the experiences, which may open the way for further collaboration on information and knowledge management between CTA and the CGIAR system.

The implementing team comprises PABRA’s KM, monitoring and evaluation specialist Rachel Muthoni, CTA’s Krishan Bheenick, CTA consultant Koen Beleen from Co-capacity, and Simone Staiger.

On this blog and during the event, we will be sharing progress and insights.