Nadia Manning-Thomas

Nadia Manning-Thomas has recently (re)joined the CGIAR ICT-KM program as a Knowledge Sharing in Research specialist. She has ‘(re)joined’ because she has worked with the ICT-KM program before through a secondment to lead the Knowledge Sharing in Research project  (2007-2009) and has now found herself drawn back again for more.

Nadia has had the more-lengthy surname of Manning-Thomas for two years since getting married (to David Thomas). She is from the lovely island of Barbados in the Caribbean which gives her a sunny personality but also a constant craving for going to the beach. She has been living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia since June 2007 and despite its landlocked nature, likes it a lot. Previously she has lived, studied, worked and travelled all over the globe with highlights being Canada, USA, Tanzania, Namibia, UK, Sri Lanka, Central Asia, India, and all over Africa too.

Her academic background includes a BA in Anthropology and Environmental studies from Grinnell College in Iowa, USA and a MSc in Environment and Development studies from the University of Reading’s School of Agriculture. She has worked previously for NGOs- the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia and the Gobabeb Training and Research Centre, based in the Namib Desert, in carrying out the roles of community outreach and trainings for desert margins people, designing and running multi-stakeholder basin management committees, and designing and giving training on the arid zones to all different levels of students. She has been with the CGIAR since September 2005, working with the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) both in Sri Lanka as well as Ethiopia.

At IWMI she served in various roles both in the Information and Knowledge Group as well as in the research division – working on knowledge sharing in research, livelihood approaches and water-poverty. In the past year she was given the first Knowledge Sharing and Uptake Specialist position at IWMI – directly managing research outreach and uptake activities within a large scale research project – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded AgWater Solutions project. During her time at IWMI she also lead the ICT-KM Knowledge Sharing in Research project which explored and promoted practical and appropriate ways for knowledge to be shared within research to enhance collaboration, learning and impact.

And now she is back working with the ICT-KM program full time while being hosted by and embedded into the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, particularly in the Knowledge Management and Information Services Unit of the Partnerships and Communication Division, with whom she will also be doing some knowledge sharing in research activities.

With a title of knowledge sharing in research specialist, this could mean every- and anything, right? Well, her major interest is in learning about and promoting appropriate and practical approaches which improve the way in which we in the CGIAR (and with our partners and stakeholders) collaborate and work together towards achieving agricultural research for development goals, and that facilitate better sharing of knowledge amongst all stakeholders throughout the whole research cycle.

For ICT-KM, Nadia is currently working on the global CIARD initiative which seeks to enhance coherence in information for agricultural research for development. CIARD is closely aligned with the CGIAR’s own Triple A approach which seeks to encourage Centres to make their information/knowledge/outputs more Available, Accessible and Applicable.

She hopes to bring in the particular perspective on how to target researchers, what pathways work well within the research domain and what knowledge sharing can be performed by researchers and research managers. She is interested in meaningful stakeholder engagement both through face-to-face approaches as well as emerging virtual tools as well. Her passion is in facilitation and can often be found in front of large workshops, but also behind the scenes of e-forums too.