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Share Fair 2011 – day 2

Today inspiration came from the great intro by Rob Burnet who talked about the incredible experience of shujaaz in Kenya. This series, which is using comics, radio, internet mobile telephony and video, introduces agriculture to the Kenyan youth. Rob strongly suggested: “Go to the point. What does your audience is looking for?” and “It is not the what. It is how. Push does not work at the end.”

Rob Burnet introducing Dj B

In the afternoon I joined @etiennewnger‘s and @NancyWhite‘s Community clinic to look for suggestions on how to solve problems of the CoPs that I supervise. In particular, I wanted to reflect on the FSCA community that it is still not very active after the workshop in Dakar. We came out with the answer I already knew: when the need is not clearly expressed by the members, then it is more difficult to have the group working as a Community. And this reminds me what I heard this morning during Rob’s address.

The class listening to suggestions during the Community clinic

I closed the day meeting Ms Tukhikyan from Armenia who shared their experience in the attempt to mitigate plastic pollution. Recycling plastic bottles + substituting common plastic bags with other bags to diminish their use.

An alternative to plastic bagsWhat to add? An intense and inspiring day. The days you need when you are missing ideas and want to find new inputs for your daily work to refresh it and reinvigorate.


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Share Fair 2011 – day 1

The first day of the Second Global AgriKnowledge Share Fair was really great. I follow Willem’s suggestion and I had lots of fun.

Etienne Wenger at sfrome

In the morning, Etienne Wenger‘s words were really inspiring. His approach, which compared CoP and dating, was really striking. That sense of deep trust that you develop in a relationship can be felt in a community where you offer something for free, exactly in the same way. And this is so true that is very difficult to convince people that it is real! Most of them remain sceptical about the kind of knowledge/experience you can exchange in a community because they consider it impossible to be done. But in reality it really happens. It is a sort of miracle, a combination of the best merits of a human being: altruism, trust, consciousness, generosity. What a liberation! What a dream! What a real thing! It really happens! It is true even if it does not happen elsewhere. The heart makes the difference, Etienne said. The feeling inside and not the tools or the techniques.

Later in the morning, I had a training session on photosharing. Few participants but very interested and full of questions for me about the topic I was teaching. We essentially talked about flickr, its features, its pros and counts, and the ways to get the best out of it.

The class at the photosharing training at sfrome

In the afternoon I followed Nancy‘s training on graphic facilitation and I loved it. More than anything else I’m grateful to her because she showed me that drawing is possible. That I can do it. That, again, it is a matter of heart and feeling, not a technical issue. I did my tests, I drew my men, my icons, my circles and lines. I did my final examination with “my personal toolkit” test. And my level of satisfaction is really high. I look like a child when I showed my drawings home to my girlfriend because I really realized that I can do it. That potentiality is in there and it is just to me to exploit it. Such a good lesson for my job and, much more, for my life. And there we go again: it is a matter of heart.

Efforts to draw at the Graphic facilitation training

This first day was passionate as few before. It was necessary to remember all of us that, before anything else, we need to put ourselves in what we do, open the doors of our offices, get out of them and then come the rest, like tools or techniques.


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The Spirit of the Share Fair 2011

Today the Second AgriKnowledge Share Fair starts.

Before anything else, we, the Steering Committee, think the Spirit of the participation to this event to be crucial.

Interview with Willem Bettink - one of the organizers of the #sfrome

I like very much Willem’s description of the spirit of the Share Fair 2011.

The first and main aspiration is to “have a lot of fun”: we need to chill out, talk to other people, get out of our daily routine and breath fresh air to bring innovation and new idea in what we are doing

This is the spirit we want and need to transmit to all the participants and to our institutions, in general. If people will come out of the the week with this spirit permeating their job, then our work can be considered successful.

Let us know this spirit is able to conquer your soul and your job.


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Share Fair 2011

September 2011 is a very long and intense month.

After the two events at FAO (the CSDI Stocktaking exercise and the ComDev Expert consultation), it is now time for an important event taking place at IFAD: the Share Fair 2011.

Share Fair 2011

I will have plenty of occasions to meet with people:

  • the Training on Photosharing (11:00 – 12:30, room C400),
  • the session called “Radio Lake Victoria assist Kenyan farmers with nitty-gritty of food security” (12:00-13:00, room B200),
  • the session named “FARM 98.0 FM: Your vocal gateway to agricultural information” (16:00-17:00, room C300),
  • the session on “5 years sharing coffee and knowledge: the Bluebar experience” (14.00 – 15.30 Tent: Chill-out Corner),
  • the Chill-out with Mark Davies (15:30-16:30 Tent – Chill-out Corner), and
  • the Social Reporting Team

The final Agenda of the Fair is available here.

This is not going to be alone, as at the ned of the week the km4dev annual meeting will also take place, in the same venue with even more people and things to learn.


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Prodding from the Share Fair 09

Thanks to Nadia Manning-Thomas, my friend in the KM4DEV list, for this interview to Geoff Parcell, who opened the Share Fair 09 with his keynote.

When asked about the highlights of the Fair, Geoff, who is in charge of the knowledge management for the WHO, UNDP, the World Bank and the Swiss Development Agency, noted:

An additionally exciting part of the event for me was being able to witness the overall chaos and energy in the Atrium.”

I felt exactly the same. It is definitely true that there was a wind of emotion and energy across the “Atrium” of FAO. This place, a very large hall with a glass cover and lots of plants, is usually silent and not living. There are occasions across the year, with the Committee on  Forestry, Fishery or Agriculture, when life comes to the Atrium but still, it does not become vital. It’s just movement, passing by, crossing the space with no or few occasions for real INTERACTION: to meet, sit together, talk and share.

For sure people have energy also in those occasions BUT is not easy to show off. Maybe, because people are very much willing to say or show something, rather then to meet someone or hear something. Geoff’s interview was titled “Time to make connections – not collections” and this can make us reflect!

Geoff’s interpretation of the future for international organizations, like FAO and the other Rome-based UN Agencies, is another good point to reflect:

All of the organizations involved in this Share Fair can no longer think of themselves as the authority on food and agriculture. People will get information wherever they can. And especially with new and advancing technologies, information is now available in many more ways than it has been before.

Regarding this, last November, when the Cultural Change Team initiative was launched at FAO, I wrote some notes on the problem of “Changing”. Now, I see Geoff’s position and mine are very similar, at least when we both agree that International Organizations have to get into a new perspective, where facilitation of international projects is a key point and becomes a powerful condition.

Essentially knowledge management is an attitude change from ‘we are the experts, telling others what to do’ to ‘let’s look at what’s going on and see how to support those efforts.’ The problem is that people feel threatened by change.

What they don’t realize is that it can be a very powerful thing to facilitate processes rather than dictating or leading them.

The point for us now is to find the way to spread this message and help people not to feel threatened by this occasion and future perspective.


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Share Fair 09 just started

The Fair is started at the end after so much preparation and it’s seems to be quite successful until now. The official ceremony was full of people and the atrium at FAO is a great place to meet people and talk.

I’m confident the event can be interesting even if many people in the buildings are not giving enough attention to this occasuion as very busy in the everyday job.

More details about the Opening plenary and keynote speech in the Share fair blog and on twitter.