American University of Beirut

 Regional Networking - KariaNet

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What is KariaNet?

KariaNet – Knowledge Access for Rural Inter-connected Areas Network - (​, is a regional network for the management and sharing of knowledge, information and experience in agriculture and rural development, covering  10 countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region: Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen.

KariaNet is a multi-stakeholder partnership between IFAD (, IDRC (, and IFAD-financed projects in the NENA region (Near East and North Africa). Activities are coordinated across the networks and throughout the MENA region through a small, regionally based, secretariat.

Hosting of KariaNet

In October 2012, IDRC issued a call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) to host the KariaNet regional secretariat. The International Institute for Sustainable Development was chosen to provide an independent scoring and assessment of the EOIs on the basis of its previous work with KariaNet.

ESDU’s application presented a strong case for institutional alignment and long term ownership of KariaNet, based on its prior experience with proactively setting up and running other networks where they saw to be a need and opportunity, and seeking ongoing support for those activities, because they were considered to be important to ESDU’s mission. ESDU’s technical capacity for knowledge management (KM) and knowledge sharing (KS) is strong, with (a) demonstrated experience in running centers of excellence and communities of practice, and (b) a designated KM officer in place as a long term commitment to the role of KM in development. The organizational capacity to operate across the region was well documented and met all the requirements.  The documentation provided suggests ESDU has an extensive reach into a number of countries in MENA and are recognized as a regional organization. They are “implementation ready”, based on infrastructure, available staff, contracting ability and prior experience contracting with IDRC.

Objectives and Responsibilities

The overall goal of KariaNet is to enhance the effectiveness of development projects and programs that serve to enable the rural poor to overcome their poverty.

Its primary objective is to develop sustainable mechanisms, using action research and learning, for sharing knowledge and innovations among rural and agricultural development projects in MENA, that enable them to improve their performance.

The key tasks and responsibilities of ESDU during and after the transition consist of providing leadership in coordinating the network, stimulating interest, enhancing the learning environment and leveraging resources in a participatory and consultative way with key partners (individual and organizations) in the region.

The general objective of the devolution exercise is to ensure the sustainability of the regional knowledge management and knowledge sharing network, KariaNet, for agriculture and rural development practitioners, government agencies and agricultural research institutions and programs working on or interested in KM/KS practices for agriculture and rural development in MENA region.

The specific objectives of KariaNet are to provide leadership and coordination of the network in order to facilitate change in KM/KS perception, value and role in projects and programs’ efficiency and outcomes, through:

  • Collaboration with regional and national organization to ensure a viable network of individuals and organizations that are interested in KM/KS in order to promote the culture and practices of KM/KS.

  • Organizing of regional knowledge management and knowledge sharing events  to build the capacity of all partners in KM/KS.

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