How do we get buy-in and commitment to KS, how do we engage our target groups?
This is an issue that came up over and over again as a principle challenge for KS during phase 1 of the workshop and also now in our meeting here in Addis. That is why we decided to give us an extra opportunity to tackle the issue in our first morning session. We choose the Peer Assist methodology and provided space for two groups: Grace Ndungu from ILRI wanted to get feedback on possible ways to engage participants into ILRI’s upcoming dialogue on climate change and health. Gauri Salokhe asked in her group for ideas and suggestions on how to get broad buy-in at FAO for the Knowledge Fair planned for December this year. Here is a summary of the two discussion rounds around Grace’s challenge:
IlRI and partner organizations have identified climate change and its consequences on human and livestock health as a niche for further research. Google provided funds to undertake a broad consultation in order to define pertinent research questions and be able to formulate proposals. ILRI has set up a working group composed by “champions” who represent the various actors. The following consultation process has been designed:

  • A “challenge paper” has been written by scientists that lay out the overall framework and challenges
  • An invitation has been sent to 200 stakeholders for participation.
  • Their feedback on the paper will be taken into a count and build the starting point for an online dialogue to be held between June and August.
  • A face to face meeting will be held in September.

Grace’s issues were summarized by the group and with the help of the facilitator, Florencia as follows:How to get buy-in from researchers from the climate change, health, and livestock sector, people who are not used to work together? How can we reach a level of trust that motivates participation? How could we address different types of participants with different levels of knowledge and different perspectives?

Here are some examples of feedback that Grace got from the two groups:

  • Strengthen the group of champions (conference calls, pre-meeting) and promote the event through the champions to attract attention from stakeholders. Create short podcast with champions who could share the importance of the topic and consultation process.
  • Don’t start from scratch, build on what you have (people, resources).
  • Multiply the communication channels to address multiple publics and information consummation habits: A Web site with basic information resources, e-mail invitations that are forwarded by champions, a blog that could help diffuse the content of the challenge paper by small bits and cover the whole event.
  • Create perhaps a linkage to the high-level conference on climate change in Rome in September.
  • For the online dialogue, pay attention to the platform (e-mail or web based or both), the need of a facilitator, the rythme and structure over the weeks. Give options to time-poor participants to digest the dialogue.
  • Look at materials, existing experiences and evaluations of on-line events.

Peer Assist