UNDP-Ethiopia Reintroduces Knowledge Management to Improve Integrated Programming

December 17, 2021

UNDP Ethiopia Staff during an Accelerator Lab exercise on knowledge mapping

Knowledge Management is retaking centre stage in the work processes of the UNDP Ethiopia Country Office. This follows a recent re-configuration and tasking on policy and programmatic work of the Country Office, supported by the Sida-UNDP Programme on Environment and Climate Change (Sida-UNDP Programme).

The portfolio approach to programming introduces new ways of working that break down silos, emphasizing partnerships and coordination across programme units, with the goal of creating an open, innovative, collaborative, and networked team, and along with it, a strong focus on knowledge management. It advocates for more integrated work, breaking the barriers that impede delivery, creating better and more impactful results on the ground.

“Our new way of working includes learning from the past where our portfolio became fragmented, with insufficient connection among related interventions,” says Cleophas Torori, Deputy Resident Representative for Programme at the UNDP Ethiopia Country Office. Torori adds that “our future work calls for a clearer focus and logic as well as a higher level of ambition commensurate with the scale of changes happening in Ethiopia”.

In this new agile work approach, programme units will promote the environmental and climate dimensions of the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework as they deliver on the UNDP Country Programme Document (2020-2025). Information sharing and learning will improve work processes by connecting the dots across the work of different teams of the Country Office. 

Martha Mogus who heads the Development Communication and Advocacy Hub at the UNDP Ethiopia Country Office, and she explains: “It has been ten years since last time we had dedicated staff working on Knowledge Management in the Country Office. Through the support of the Sida-UNDP Programme we are re-engaging with this discipline and building a strategy that will support staff to systematically capture and share knowledge using a broad range of existing and new platforms”.

Parallel with these efforts, the Country Office is tapping into the work of its Accelerator Lab to connect the dots and capture lessons from programme engagement. “We are promoting a strategic and coherent approach to programming through stronger coordination ranging from work planning meetings to activity review sessions”, says Amanuel Tadesse, Head of Solutions Mapping in UNDP Ethiopia’s Accelerator Lab. “Evaluations are carried out to document learnings, improve performance and create opportunities for innovation,” he adds.

Although UNDP Ethiopia is taking great strides in facilitating integrated programming, several challenges remain, Martha Mogus notes. She emphasizes that documenting and communicating information require the development of a work culture that supports continuous sharing and learning.

Amanuel Tadesse shares these sentiments, adding that “Existing Knowledge Management tools, including digital platforms, require a systematic and uniform application by all Country Office staff.” He stresses the importance of capturing, documenting, and sharing of programmatic information through knowledge repositories and platforms as a means to increase the active participation of staff in knowledge sharing for development results.

As a first and critical step in implementing the Knowledge Management dimensions of the Sida-UNDP Programme, the Country Office has engaged a specialized consultant to identify existing knowledge assets and gaps while designing a Knowledge Management Action Plan along with a roadmap and the identification of tools needed to accelerate implementation. This Action Plan will align with and inform UNDP’s global Nature, Climate and Energy Knowledge Management Strategy under current development. “UNDP Ethiopia acknowledges and thanks the Government of Sweden for supporting these initiatives”, Cleophas Torori concludes.

What has been achieved so far?

  • Comprehensive Knowledge Management Strategy and protocols developed with full participation of the Ethiopia Country Office staff
  • Training was given to the staff on integrated programing, gender mainstreaming, knowledge management, data and communication.
  • A number of projects are reviewed from a gender lens and the country office has started to undertake full portfolio review of all programs with systematic guidance and procedures to ensure practicality.
  • Web-based monitoring and evaluation system were developed for NDC by aligning the ten years development plan through the support of Climate Promise.