Bensa district, one of the LIVES project sites in Sidama zone is constructing a new building to be an agricultural knowledge centre (AKC).
The decision to build a centre emerged from a visit to Dale district where experiences of an existing IPMS-supported knowledge centre were seen first hand and convinced decision makers to replicate the approach.
The visitors were convinced that an agricultural knowledge centre offering offline and online resources, print materials, and spaces for discussion and learning is instrumental in imparting knowledge and building capacities.
Officials from Bensa immediately allocated fund to construct a new building to be an agricultural knowledge centre. Couple of months after the visit to Dale, the building is almost complete (see picture). This story demonstrates that awareness and peer-to-peer learning does influence decision making.
Like Bensa, other districts and zones where the LIVES project operates are setting up their own knowledge centres as mechanisms to reinforce skills and capacity development of the public sector staff and act as platforms for knowledge sharing and learning.
LIVES knowledge sharing activities are not confined to the centres. The project is also distributing e-book readers (kindles) to front line extension staff and other regional decision makers. The readers are loaded with selected research and extension resources in local languages and English. These are expected to help extension personnel acquire the knowledge they need to support value chain actors and better deliver extension services. A study on the efficiency of these devices is underway and will be finalized in 2014.