ImplementIng effectIve knowledge management in emergencies: a case study from Somalia WASH cluster

Somalia1_2013Year of publication: 2013

This learning paper captures the experience of the Somalia WASH Cluster and draws lessons on how an effective knowledge management system can be developed and implemented. The paper aims to provide an example framework of a successful knowledge management system that can be adapted by other national WASH Clusters to support a predictable, effective, timely and coherent WASH emergency preparedness and response.

The paper will first outline the concept of knowledge management before featuring the key aspects of the knowledge management system in Somalia: basic components; challenges and actions; knowledge flow; backbones of the system; and feedback from the system users.

Lastly, it will highlight lessons learned from this experience.

The experience of the Somalia WASH Cluster demonstrates the importance of knowledge management in ensuring greater predictability and accountability in humanitarian response, while at the same time strengthening partnerships.

All members of the Somalia WASH Cluster were involved in developing the knowledge management system and contributed to the continuous improvement in response. The survey results indicated that the system was useful at all levels. Drawing on the lessons learned in Somalia, it is recommended that a knowledge management system be implemented in all national WASH Clusters.

Practical knowledge management provides information, support and clarity to field level WASH practitioners, and enhances the impact and effectiveness of humanitarian response.

For the request of further information and actual documents presented in this paper, please contact the WASH Somalia Cluster through (


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