PlaSA Colombia, Community of Practice in Food Systems
CGIAR Initiative on National Policies and Strategies
On April 27, 2023, the launch of the PlaSA Colombia platform took place at the Los Andes University, Bogota Colombia, with the support of the CGIAR initiative on National Policies and Strategies (NPS), under the leadership of the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture) in Colombia. This launch allowed a second meeting in which the allied entities of the platform were convened and had the opportunity to create the community of practice “PlaSA Colombia COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE IN FOOD SYSTEMS”, a community that brings together academy, research, and private sector with the intention to contribute, influence and actively impact on food systems in Colombia.
The NPS initiative seeks to co-create demand-driven policy solutions with national institutions to transform food, land, and water systems for development and contribute to a sustainable future. This initiative expands the impact on the national food system while strengthening the links between entities, generating knowledge to influence public agendas and products with the capacity to be replicated at different scales. Thus, a community of practice that seeks to further boost the alliances generated around the PlaSA Colombia platform and strengthen policy coherence, to respond to crises and exchange knowledge among the various institutions, is created.
What is a Community of Practice (CoP)?
According to sociologist Étienne Wenger, a Community of Practice (hereafter CoP) is a group of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis. CoPs are supported by three pillars: domain, community, and practice. The domain refers to the common theme and/or expertise present among the participants; the community includes the members, the rules of participation, and in general the agreements that give rise to the formation of an organized group; and the practice describes the tools, techniques, methods, and activities to achieve the objectives (Wenger et al, 2002, p. 4)1.
At the PlaSA Colombia CoP working session, the interest in working together around food systems to understand them and generate new knowledge and tools to describe, monitor and influence them from different angles was widely discussed. This led to the establishment of a name for the community that encompassed the intentions of its members, who agreed that the common field of action would be to influence food systems. The result of the discussion led to the name of the community: “PlaSA Colombia, Community of Practice in Food Systems”. In addition, discussions were held on the scope, vision, some activities for different time periods, the basic rules to be part of it, and the discussion channels, among other essential aspects that serve as a starting point for the community.
The creation of this Community of Practice in Food Systems in Colombia is a significant achievement, as it brings together the perspective of different key actors related to the food system. This milestone represents an important step towards the institutional union that the country needs to address the current and future challenges facing the system. With the participation of different experts and professionals in the field, this Community of Practice becomes a space for the exchange of knowledge and experiences, the identification of solutions, and the implementation of concrete actions such as advocacy in public policy to improve the food system in Colombia.
1Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. M. (2002). Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
- Juan Sebastián Rivas, Reaserch Associate, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT.
- Luis Armando Muñoz, Senior Reaserch Associate, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT.
- Daniela Salas, NPS Initiative communications, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT.
- Daniela Salas Betancourt, NPS initiative communications, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT
This work is part of the CGIAR Research Initiative on National Policies and Strategies (NPS). CGIAR launched NPS with national and international partners to build policy coherence, respond to policy demands and crises, and integrate policy tools at national and subnational levels in countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. CGIAR centers participating in NPS are The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (Alliance Bioversity-CIAT), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Potato Center (CIP), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and WorldFish. We would like to thank all funders who supported this research through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund.