Dialogue sessions

A key element of the event was the dialogue sessions that were hosted by our partner organisations, Amref University, East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer (EWS–KT), IIED, IFDC, INCLUDE, NUFFIC, Prince Claus Chair, Share-Net and Wageningen University.

Through these sessions hoped to challenge participants to interrogate the way knowledge partnerships are organised and framed. We aspired to contribute to the generation of new ideas and successful innovation to forge promising and equal partnerships.

The topics and our hosts

  • Local Knowledge Global Impact – NUFFIC

    Host Organisation:


    Knowlegde defined as skills, educations or experience is ‘Power’! This power is multidimensional and multifunctional and can be used to assimilate or to empower others, create self-esteem and confidence and trust. It can also be used to solve the simplest to the most complex issues. Knowledge is coveted and always serve a cause. The language and vocabulary used to transfer this knowledge reveal the intentions and the mindsets of it source. 

    In this session, Nuffic will provide a space for peers in two cities (Amsterdam and Beirut) to engage with one another to learn, understand and define the power of local knowledge to strengthen equal partnerships (in the field of knowledge cooperation), and to understand how local knowledge contributes to global development.

    The dialogue will take place in two steps:

    Local session
    Different dialogues will take place in Amsterdam and Beirut. Key messages from the dialogues will be illustrated in the form of cartoons or caricatures. The debate will be convened by Nuffic representatives.
    Estimated time: 55 min.

    Internationally connected online session
    The internationally connected session will bring the two countries and Prof Alan Fowler together online. Convenors of each country will share the outcome of their respective sessions supported by cartoons. Alan Fowler will be listening to the outcome of different convenors and will have an additional conversation with Roos Hogenkamp, Manager Global at Nuffic.

    During his contribution, Alan will summarise the lessons learned of the outcome of each session. He will especially look at the languages and signs that block equal partnership in the field of knowledge cooperation. He will inspire new ideas that could lead to successful innovations to forge promising and equal partnerships.

    Estimated time: 20 min


    Offline dialogues in two different cities

    This session will be held simultaneously in all three locations.

    Convenors parallel dialogues:

    Amsterdam: Joseph Seh, coordinator External Relations
    and knowledge partner, Nuffic
    Beirut: Gemma Bennink, Senior Programme Manager

    ▪ Beirut: Mathilda Al Feghali (to be confirmed)
    ▪ Amsterdam: Mark de Koning

    Internationally connected online session – Amsterdam:
    ▪ Roos Hogenkamp, Manager Global, Nuffic
    ▪ Keynote speaker: Prof Alan F Fowler, “Pracademic” Honorary Professor Chair in African Philanthropy, Wits Business School, Professor Emeritus, International Institute of Social Studies http://www.alanfowler.org/

  • Governing for justice and equity in Global Health practice, research and funding – Prince Claus Chair

    Host Organisation:

    Prince Claus Chair


    This session will discuss strategies to address and prevent wrongs related to knowledge production, use, and circulation in global health. In recent years, greater attention has been drawn to the need for new governance structures and processes to ensure equitable and just practices in academic global  health  (eg,  authorship  practices, research partnerships, education exchanges, academic writing,  editorial  practices,  sense-making  practices, and the choice of audience or research framing, questions, and methods). 

    In this session we will discuss strategies to address and prevent the wrongs related to knowledge production, use, and circulation in global health. It will be framed around two forms of epistemic wrongs, credibility deficit and interpretive marginalisation, which stem from structural exclusion of marginalised producers and recipients of knowledge. Following a presentation that describes the various forms which these injustices might take, there will be three presentations that will highlight the practical tools and approaches to addressing them.

    These tools will include those aimed at:
    1. ensuring that global health funding practices are equitable and just;
    2. ensuring that global health research is conducted with fairness and integrity; and
    3. ensuring that educational exchanges in global health are reciprocal and equitable.

    The governance tools and strategies will then be discussed in an open exchange between the panellists and the audience. These discussions will be conducted with an eye on identifying potential recommendations for knowledge actors in global health. The overall aim will be to share, reflect upon and promote strategies to surface, detect, communicate, make sense of, avoid, and potentially undo unfair knowledge practices in global health that are inflicted upon people in their capacity as knowers, and as producers and recipients of knowledge, owing to structural prejudices in the processes involved in knowledge production, use, and circulation in global health.


    • Emilie Koum Besson, LSHT (TBC)
    • Rutuja Patil, VRHP KEMHRC
    • Judith van de Kamp, UMC
    • Seye Abimbola, Prince Claus Chair Holder
  • The Ethical Pathways for Equitable Knowledge Partnerships – IIED

    Host Organisation:


    This workshop will create a space for participants to explore the barriers and pathways to establish equitable and ethical knowledge partnerships in an unequal world.

    Knowledge partnerships are contingent on the effects of inequality expressed by differentials of power and resources. Gender inequalities, social injustice, colonial legacies, racism, and other social ills permeate the space of knowledge creation. Building on IIED’s interest on rethinking research and development approaches from a decolonization perspective, IIED is undertaking research on the ethical dimensions of partnerships. The ongoing research involves a process of documenting decolonial approaches and frameworks from other organizations active in international development, identifying progressive policies and donor initiatives, and analyzing IIED’s own decision-making and expressions of power from a decolonial, racial and gender justice framing.

    The workshop will be an opportunity for cross-learning among participants and will have an interactive format with two segments.

    In the introductory segment, speakers will discuss the most prevalent institutional barriers and share principles and pathways for equitable partnerships. During this segment, IIED will share initial findings from its ongoing research.

    The second segment of the workshop will use the research cycle as an entry point for discussion to engage participants in a facilitated dialogue to identify barriers, principles, and best practices to establish ethical knowledge partnerships at different stages of the research cycle.
    The expected outcome of the workshop is to collectively identify and document practices that have enable organisations to institutionalise change, and address inequality and colonial legacies in funding, research, and development practice.


    • Tracy Kajumba – Principal Researcher and Team Leader, Strengthening Partnerships
    • Partner speakers – TBC
  • Oversight and insight – A conversation about equity and power dynamics in knowledge networks – KPSRL, Share-Net, INCLUDE

    Host Organisations:

    Knowledge platforms: Share-Net International (SNI),
    INCLUDE, Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law (KPSRL)


    In 2011, the Dutch government subscribed to the importance of knowledge brokering by calling for the establishment of knowledge platforms aiming to improve institutional capacity to absorb and utilise expertise and knowledge in international development.

    Knowledge networks bring together individuals and teams, often across organizational, spatial and disciplinary boundaries, to generate, share and apply knowledge. There exists a variety of practices how knowledge networks are led and organised, what is the distribution of roles and responsibilities and the level of supervision and management as well as how they uphold principles of fairness, accountability, transparency and participation.

    Together with representatives from three Dutch knowledge networks and an international thought leader on knowledge management, participants will engage in a (self-)reflective workshop. To start with, this 90-minutes session addresses the question to what extent equitable practices within knowledge networks differ from other partnerships in international development.

    We will also unpack diverse management cultures and governance experiences among SNI, INCLUDE and KPSRL, touching upon good practices and reflecting on blockers when linking research, policy and practice in domains such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, inclusive development, and security and rule of law.

    Hereinafter, participants will be invited to join the networks in co-creating bold ideas and formulating recommendations to improve knowledge management processes through equitable and inclusive governance. Linking the emerging achievements, challenges and recommendations from the session with global trends and evidence around equitable knowledge management, Gladys Kemboi will wrap up the session with her closing remarks.

    Panellists and Facilitator

    • Dorine Thomissen (Share-Net International coordinator)
    • Anika Altaf (Coordinator INCLUDE Knowledge Platform)
    • Messina Laurette Manirakiza (Programming Officer at Secretariat Knowledge Platform for Security & Rule of Law)
    • Gladys Kemboi (Knowledge Management Advisor)
    • Hannah Kabelka (SRHR advisor at KIT)
  • Multiple dimensions of knowledge & power in Ethiopia – Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation

    Host Organisation:

    Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation


    Ethiopia has a long-established agricultural knowledge network with knowledge being generated in research institutes and scaled out to the regions and users through an extension system. The knowledge landscape and flow and use of knowledge is top-down. Many research and development projects are dependent on outside financing, including bilateral and world bank funding. These externally funded projects have their own agenda and impacted the continuity and sustainability of knowledge management and institutional partnership.

    In the Ethiopia Wageningen partner projects, we are transitioning to bottom-up planning, ownership within the various administrative levels of the Ethiopian governance structure and engaging universities as equal research partners.

    The challenges and the power dynamics of the transition trajectories will be discussed in this dialogue session.


    • Irene Koomen (Dr.), organizer
    • Dawit Alemu (Dr.), speaker
    • Tewodros Tafere (Dr), speaker
    • Mohammed Hassena (Dr.), Speaker
  • The AMIU Story: Using lessons learned from 65 years in the NGO community to build a university with global partnerships – Amref

    Host Organisation


    The Amref International University (AMIU) is a Pan-African health training and research institution that focuses on developing primary healthcare health workforce leaders and service providers. The university is founded in the premise that health problems know no borders and health policies and guidelines are globally developed and so health institutions must train health workers who think globally, are connected across borders but are able to work locally with their communities. The unique model of AMIU has organically developed over the last 65 years as Amref Health Africa, the largest indigenous African health NGO, implemented programs over the years.

    In this session we will discuss the AMIU model including how partnerships with communities can lead to development of fit for purpose graduates; how locally led context specific research agenda can be developed and how institutions of higher learning can challenge colonial legacies in education and still maintain mutually beneficial global partnerships.

    Session details

    1. Understanding the AMIU model
    This will be a 15 minutes presentation providing a framework for developing knowledge hubs and learning institutions in partnership with communities. A historical perspective of how the university has developed over the years will be presented. Further, the presentation will discuss how the university has continued to remain connected globally despite being a community co-created institution based on local needs.

    2. Brainstorm
    This will take 45 minutes. Participants will be put in 3 groups and will discuss the main challenges around equitable partnerships in the AMIU model:
    –   As AMIU enters the league of universities with all the mandatory regulations and accreditations will it maintain its community-driven approach? How have other universities maintained their local niche and still achieved global excellence?
    –   As student numbers grow, how do you ensure knowledge and practice are interlinked? How do you make sure that students do not lose touch with community needs and that they have the right culture to serve, i.e. being fit for purpose?
    –   As universities develop their unique approaches and try to delink from colonial legacies including attempts to decolonize research – how do we ensure that they maintain mutually beneficial global partnerships?

    3.  Plenary discussions
    This will take 20 minutes. Groups will present their report in plenary and give recommendations.

    4. Wrap up – The last 10 minutes will be used to summarize the key messages to guide future partnerships.

    Session Facilitators

    1.  Prof Joachim Osur, Vice Chancellor, Amref International University (AMIU)
    2.  Prof Tammary Esho, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs, AMIU
    3.  Aletta Jansen, Portfolio Manager, Amref Flying Doctors, Netherlands
  • Enabling transformative partnerships and knowledge for better farm productivity and higher income – East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer, IFDC

    Host Organisation:

    East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer, IFDC


    The use of improved crop varieties and better farming practices not only boosts smallholder farmers’ income in rural areas but can have a huge impact on nutrition. However, in many rural communities, farmers still struggle with poor yields, and crop and vegetable production is rarely positioned as the profitable and sustainable business it can and should be.

    This session presents perspectives from two organisations aiming to catalyse transformative partnerships for positive change in agricultural markets. IFDC leads the Private Seed Sector Development (PSSD) project in Burundi. The project leverages a unique ‘diamond’ approach to partnership building with key stakeholders, which has enabled systemic changes in the seed system and created new demand for quality seed of improved varieties. The presenters explain how these changes have come about through an intensive process of multistakeholder engagement and facilitation, and which gaps still remain.

    To catalyse the growth of local markets, East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer supports long-term programs aimed at enhancing farmers’ production capacity. EWS invests in peer-led, field-based approaches which put farmers on a positive path of change. The session will detail how local experience to used to ensure farming communities are empowered with the most appropriate context-specific knowledge. In addition to looking at how EWS generates technical knowledge and market-related information, presenters will explore how this is then shared through a network of key farmers and local stakeholders.

    Participants will be asked to reflect on how these initiatives can potentially add further value and deepen the sustainability of their work through, for example, more focus on inclusivity and the scaling-up of positive partnerships. What more can be done?


    • Stuart Morris, Director of East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer
    • Sylvie Desilles, Knowledge Manager of East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer
    • Johann Bonnand, Wageningen Plant Research, Wageningen University & Research (TBC!)
    • Bastian Huesken, Deputy Regional Director East and Southern Africa,
    • Cyriaque Simbashizubwoba, Chief of Party, PSSD Project, IFDC

Dialogue Session Partners

Nuffic Logo 70jaar
Wageningen University and Research
Utrecht University
IFDC logo
EWS - logo
amref international university logo