Around 50 participants including farmer leaders, NIAs, Knowledge Management (KM) officers, and Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) officers from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Philippines, and Thailand and SRIA SEA including the secretary general, program manager, finance manager and officer, M&E officer, KM and communications officers convened in Yogyakarta, Indonesia on 22-25 July 2017 for the ASEAN Farmers’ Organizations Support Program (AFOSP) and Medium Term Cooperation Programme phase II (MTCP2) Southeast Asia + China Sub-Regional Steering Committee Meeting.
The 5-day meeting was divided into three parts: Knowledge Management Fair, Monitoring and Evaluation Session, and Program Management Meeting.
Knowledge Management Fair
The meeting opened with a two-day session on Knowledge Management. Each country presented stories about the projects they implemented which reflect the good practices they employed for the project to succeed. In the afternoon, a panel consisting of representative from each member country also discussed briefly the most significant things they learned from all the cases presented.
The KM session provided an opportunity for the participants to share, learn and innovate from each other’s experiences, good practices, and success stories on production, governance and advocacy. At the end of the day, the submitted stories were placed in a ‘market’ where the participants voted for their favorites by placing mock-up currencies under their bets.
To equip the participants with skills to better present their stories in the future, Irshad Khan of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) shared guidelines on developing Knowledge Management materials focusing on producing good stories and photos. The KM and Communications team of the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA) also shared guidelines on communication and visibility, creating materials, and tips on web and social media posting of stories. The KM session aims to furnish the participants with skills on writing good stories, taking good photos and other forms of documentation to help them effectively communicate the progress of their projects and their accomplishments to their target audience.
On the second day, the participants proceeded to Sleman District to visit a sustainable field laboratory in Dusun Ndero, Harjobinangun Village in Pakem subdistrict managed by Komunitas Pertanian Alami Sleman. In the laboratory, farmers cultivate organic vegetables including okra, mustard, pakcoy, etc. Afterwards, the farmers demonstrated how to make calcium, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate using natural ingredients including brown sugar, cow bones, egg shells, plants etc. The different mixtures are fermented for several weeks, and when ready, are used as fertilizers in the farms. After the demonstration, each country shared their practices related to organic farming.
In the afternoon, the KM session resumed with a discussion by Mr. Khan on how to take good photos, which is just as important as the text when presenting stories about the projects. Each country was also asked to submit photos they took during the field visit which were shown to all and subjected for comments. Each country also wrote a story about the field visit applying the guidelines and tips they learned from the earlier discussions.
The KM Fair concluded with a Solidarity Night where the participants witnessed the diverse culture of Southeast Asia and China from the dance and song performances.
The winners of the Good Practices stories were also awarded. The Philippines won 3rd place with the story about how a “Coco Fiber Processing Facility” helped improved the lives of coconut farmers in a village in Camarines Norte, Philippines. Laos won 2nd place with the story about the youth getting into agriculture by selling organic vegetables and fruits through “Farmer Basket”. Myanmar bagged the 1st place with the story about Saw Htoo Baw, a young farmer who aims to reintroduce the traditional and natural ways of farming for a sustainable agriculture to uplift the living conditions of farmers. Laos also received a special award for submitting the most number of entries.
Monitoring and Evaluation Session
On the 3rd day, the Management Information System (MIS), the new web-based system for planning and management of projects, was unveiled. The new system aims to make monitoring and assessment of project’s progress and performance, and reporting of updates easier and faster.
The Monitoring and Evaluation officers were trained by the system developers on how to utilize the tool. However, proposed modifications and other suggestions from the M&E officers will be made in the system to make it more efficient.
The last day of the meeting was allotted for updating and reporting of key activities for the first semester of 2017. The targets and outputs of the programs and the upcoming activities were discussed as well.
The SSRC SEA Sub-Regional Steering Committee Meeting is supported by the Asian Farmers’ Association, La Via Campesina, European Union, IFAD, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).