In this technical guide we describe the Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (SAKSS) concept developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute in response to the capacity gaps typically found in many African countries for generating and translating evidence into action. SAKSS is defined as a collaborative network that acts as a mechanism by which relevant evidence is generated and used to inform agricultural and rural development strategy formulation and implementation. SAKSS brings together two important concepts—“strategic analysis” and “knowledge support systems.” The strategic analysis component describes an integrated framework of analysis that helps identify strategy and investment options for achieving high-end development goals. This analysis is carried out within the context of a knowledge support system, a network that serves the evidence needs of strategy formulation and implementation. By providing a platform for exchange, information, data analysis, and knowledge can be compiled, synthesized, and packaged into evidence that is supplied on a timely and reliable basis to be of use during strategy processes.
The purpose of the technical guide is to present a useful and practical guideline for applying the SAKSS concept and establishing a country SAKSS based on the experience to date.The need for this has come about due to a growing demand for the kinds of applications offered by the SAKSS as many more countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, express their wish to establish similar knowledge support systems. The technical guide is therefore intended to serve policy analysts and researchers who are helping to set up country SAKSSs, African government and development partners who wish to use SAKSS for their evidence needs, and others who wish to participate in such a network. It is organized in three main parts. The first part reviews the SAKSS concept and approach to provide a background defi nition of its objectives and underlying principles. The second part provides a practical guide on how to set up a country SAKSS, followed by examples of existing applications. The final part serves as an appendix of tools and resources.