Knowledge Access in Rural Interconnected Areas Network
About Karianet
About Karianet


KariaNet was founded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in 2005 to enhance the effectiveness of development projects and programs that serve the rural poor. KariaNet I (2005-2008) worked with 10 IFAD funded projects in 5 countries and was managed jointly by IDRC and IFAD. The second phase KariaNet II (2010-2013) worked over the entire MENA countries and had as “main clients” the IFAD and IDRC funded projects in the region.
A third phase KariaNet III has been devolved to the Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU) of the American University of Beirut in February 2013 and is present in ten countries of the MENA.

About ESDU

The Environment and sustainable Development Unit, ESDU, hosted at the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences (FAFS) at the American University of Beirut (AUB), pools together expertise from the University and beyond to deliver programs and research in Sustainable Development. ESDU is now widely recognized as a national and regional Center of Excellence, combining research, education, training and outreach.
Among its achievements in the MENA region within global Research and Development (R&D) initiatives are the FAO’s “Communication for Development” network linking in development, agricultural extension and natural resource management and the MENA Resource Center on Urban Agriculture and Food Security aimed at supporting agriculture in and around urban areas through multi-stakeholder approaches for policy formulation and action planning through community based projects.

More recently, ESDU championed the efforts aiming at contextualizing and “Arabizing” evaluation methods and approaches which brought about the establishment of the MENA Evaluators Network EvalMENA. In parallel, building on its regional expertise in capacity building and participatory development, ESDU further launched a pioneering Master degree in Rural and Community Development (RCODE), one of the only graduate program of its kind in the region.

Today, ESDU brings to KariaNet its incremental R&D experience and expertise in MENA as a regional Center of Excellence in sustainable development. The Unit believes that development without Knowledge Management/Knowledge Sharing (KM/KS) remains a purely cerebral exercise. ESDU’s ability to better collaborate in physical and virtual teams, as trainers and researchers, is effectively mainstreaming knowledge and information in the region.

KM has always been at the core of ESDU strategy and activities. Reflection of the pivotal role that KM/KS plays in any developmental endeavor, a dedicated full-time Knowledge Management Officer position was created within the Unit in January 2008. These enabled ESDU to Arabize and contextualize no less than eight reference books on Sustainable Livelihoods, Urban Agriculture & Food Security, Evaluation and Communication for Development, as well as countless manuals and magazines on these four thematic areas.
ESDU approaches KM, and its sharing, to make tacit knowledge more explicit and well documented through “contextualization” blending in cutting-edge knowledge with local know-how to best reflect on-the-ground reality and its related challenges and opportunities.

Contact information:

Environmental and Sustainable Development Unit
Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences
American University of Beirut – Ras Beirut
Beirut – Lebanon
Phone: +961 1 350 000/4503-4510
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