Group facilitation in CGIAR: experiences and lessons from international agricultural research organizations
Keywords:group facilitation, CGIAR, participatory decision making, stakeholder engagement
AbstractThis article describes CGIAR’s experience with group facilitation over 10 years. CGIAR is a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food-secure future. Including 15 research centers with a total of nearly 9,000 staff, CGIAR embarked a decade ago on an effort to improve how teams meet, think collectively, and make decisions. Inspired by participatory approaches, which had been used since the 1980s to involve farmers in research, the leaders of this effort aimed to tackle challenges faced by research teams and partnerships, and since then, the need for more effective stakeholder engagement and the consequent demand for group facilitation have steadily increased. Based on the experiences of the co-authors, a survey, complemented by follow-up conversations with CGIAR in-house facilitators and researchers, as well as professional consultant-facilitators and partners, this case study analyzes the evolution of facilitation, its added value, and current trends. In addition, the authors discuss the different ways and contexts in which facilitators have worked in CGIAR and some of the facilitation essentials that emerge from the author’s enquiry. This article should be of particular interest to knowledge management practitioners working in research and development, as it offers hints on how to position facilitation as an essential tool for stakeholder engagement and participatory decision-making in research-for-development organizations.
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