Collaborate, Create, Communicate

Central American A4N Project Share Fair – A story of impact

Six months after the Knowledge Share Fair Cali, which was held at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia in March 2010, I was contacted by Ruth Junkin, who is currently leading knowledge management (KM) activities in the Agriculture for Basic Needs (A4N) Project* that Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is rolling out in Central America. Ruth, who had attended the Fair, asked if I could go to El Salvador to conduct a KM workshop for some of her project team members.

Inspiration for the A4N Share Fair

During the recently-concluded workshop, Ruth and I had a chance to talk about the Share Fair she had organized with her team at the end of last year, an event that was inspired by the Cali Fair. She told me that they used the same event design starting with the call for proposals they launched among the project beneficiaries and national and regional teams. The positive replies she received encouraged her to lay out an event design that replicated many of the sessions and ideas that she had seen working in Cali: the parallel session formats, the Fair Café, the Knowledge Tree, and getting participants to report back in plenary at “The A4N bar”.

Vibrant Marketplace

A4N Share Fair Marketplace

It was also good to hear that the marketplace exhibition was even more successful at the A4N Fair. The photo above shows the colorfulness of the marketplace and the richness of the stands exhibited by the participants.

The A4N Fair, which had more than 120 visitors and participants, resulted in many positive evaluations, confirming that the event came at the right time for a project in its mid-term. Showcasing the results in this way helped build motivation and energies.

Ruth also told me that a national project team is already planning a similar event in its country, which shows that the Share Fair journey continues on and on.

Well done A4N, and well done Ruth!

* Funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the A4N)Project represents an effort of the CRS) and its partners CARE, Cáritas, FIDER, REDES, and FUNDESA, to help 15,765 family households in remote rural areas of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua to improve sustainable production and increase their incomes.