HPC Fellow: Rita Kuman, Tostan

Rita Kuman is a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow working with Tostan. At Tostan, Rita helped to develop a knowledge management system that will allow new team members to reduce their ramp up time, capture more learnings of long term staff, and help Tostan scale their learning using some newer channels. In her blog, Rita reflects upon her work to improve information management and collaboration at Tostan.

Knowledge Management
By: Rita Kuman

Knowledge Management (KM) is a key discipline that is now becoming increasingly popular. There are various definitions of KM, but broadly it focuses on the areas of information management and collaboration for an organization. Good KM practices and approaches should consider these broad areas internally and externally facing.

As a Knowledge Professional with over eighteen years of experience as both a consultant and embedded professional, I have been fortunate to work with some organizations which have complex and diverse needs. Some of those include World Bank, UNDP, GEF, and Adaptation Fund in the public sector and organizations such as Hewlett Packard and Cornerstone On Demand in the private sector. I have also been afforded the opportunity to develop the syllabus for a Masters in Knowledge Management program for the American University in the Emirates. It gives me tremendous joy to be able to help organizations as they consider their knowledge management opportunities and to provide an approach that would be best suited to the culture of their organization.

Some of the key learning and considerations in my experience include ensuring that there is executive sponsorship and ongoing support for a knowledge management program. A big gap has often been the desire to have consultants come in and develop a knowledge strategy and implementation plan; however, organizations often discount the value of having dedicated resources focused on knowledge initiatives and governance on an ongoing basis.

Having the ability to help Tostan think about their current knowledge management gaps and opportunities was meaningful to me because their social cause and mission appealed to me on a human level. I have tremendous respect for the work they do and their history. The people are simply inspiring and the amount of experience and impact they have had in Senegal is of tremendous value from a knowledge perspective.

Tostan’s newly developed knowledge roadmap, which considers key priorities and process changes, will allow new team members to reduce their ramp up time, capture more learning of long term staff, and help them scale their learning using some newer channels.

90% of an organizational institution remains uncaptured, and it leaves the organization when staff either retire or leave the organization for other reasons. It is important for an organization to think about what knowledge needs to be captured, how to capture it, maintain it, and share it.  Knowledge is only truly useful if it results in action or other solutions. This is often complex and does require a lot of consideration.  This can be a key competitive advantage for any organization that takes the time, invests in KM, and builds a program.

KM is something organizations large and small should be considering as each organization has challenges and opportunities and I look forward to working with other organizations to help them get started, benchmark, and evolve their process as they move along their KM journey.

About The Hilton Prize Coalition

The  Hilton Prize Coalition  is an independent alliance of the 22 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the  Fellows Program, the  Collaborative Models Program  and the  Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat,  Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit  prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact  prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow  the Hilton Prize Coalition on  Twitter and  LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

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