Upcoming Events

AGCommons, the program led by the ICT-KM Program to provide location-specific (geospatial) information to smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa with the goal of improving productivity and livelihoods, will be present at the Africa GIS Conference 2009 in Kampala, Uganda (25-30 October), to inform participants about its development as an Africa-based service bureau and its Quick Win Projects.

In conjunction with the Conference, AGCommons will organize WhereCampAfrica-Kampala to be held on 30 October. After the success of WhereCamp Africa-Nairobi, this will be the second gathering of its kind to take place in Africa and the first one in Kampala.

WhereCamp, a free ‘unconference’ for geogeographers, mobile location experts, social cartographers and all kinds of folks interested in place, is an opportunity for participants to present ideas, questions, projects, politics, and technical issues that people have – and contribute to and get feedback from other participants. More information at www.agcommons.org and www.wherecampafrica.org.

Social media is using the Internet to collaborate, share information, and have a conversation about ideas, and causes we care about, powered by web based tools.” – [We Media]

From the learnings from the successful pilot (See blog posts about the event), and second  Social Media Online Workshop, the CGIAR through its ICT-KM Program, is pleased to offer a new online opportunity for social media explorations, this time with the specific objective to embed social media in participants’ contexts of international development work. This fully online workshop will run from September 7 to 25, 2009.

Social media offers development practitioners and organizations a move from “push” communications towards a place where we can interact with our constituents, listen and engage with them in ways we never could before. It enables us to network with colleagues and some stakeholders. If facilitates collaboration in the lab and in the field.

Social media also offers so many options that it can be overwhelming. This workshop focuses on exploration of social media from some specific development contexts. So instead of saying “there is a tool, how can we use it,” this workshop seeks to answer “we need to do this activity, how can social media support it and under what circumstances.”

If you ask yourself questions like these, you might consider joining the workshop:

  • How can I support collaboration in wide-spread teams?
  • How can I provide opportunities for open dialogue with my stakeholders?
  • How do we support communities of practice and thematic networks, online and offline?
  • How do we share our content and knowledge effectively online?
  • How can we make use of social media under low-bandwidth constraints?

This online workshop is designed for researchers, research and development communications professionals and knowledge sharing practitioners.

Objectives of the workshop
This three week online workshop will provide a collaborative, peer based learning opportunity for you, as development practitioners, to address if and how social media can help address your needs, opportunities or challenges related to collaboration, participation, or communication. By the end of the workshop you should be able to understand and analyze the opportunities that social media can offer in the view of your specific research and development context, identify some potential tools and create a plan of action.

During this workshop you will:

  • Identify possibles usages of social media through small group synchronous and full group asynchronous conversation, exploring opportunities and constraints related to your work.
  • Obtain an understanding and appreciation of the role and value of social media.
  • Explore 2-3 different social media tools which may be appropriate for your context.
  • Start to plan the implementation of one or more social media tools that fit our work environment.
  • Learn from participants of mixed professional and organizational backgrounds.

Outline of the 3-week event

  • Week 1 to 2 – Context and Application of Social Media: Introductions, and telephone conversations in small groups to assess your research for/and development context and identify opportunities for social media practices.
  • Week 2 to 3 – Testing Social Media Tools. Explore select social media tools in small groups.
  • Finalizing week 3 – Reflection for Action. Reflect on individual and group learning of the past two weeks and  create an initial plan for social media implementation.

Maximum Number of participants: 18

Language: English

Participant Requirement/Dedicated time: This workshop offers an in-depth exploration of social media tools adapted to your specific context with personalized support and work in small groups. To do this, we ask the following of each participant:

  • Organize your agenda to dedicate up to 1-1/2 hours per day during the three weeks. If you will be on travel and won’t have time in a particular week, save some time for “catch up.” If you will not be able to participate in more than one week, please consider taking a future workshop. It will become hard to catch up after missing significant time.
  • Participate in weekly telecons of  60-90 minutes. These are scheduled for the afternoons for those in Europe and Africa, mornings for North and South American, and evenings for Asia. We will try to accomodate all time zones as best we can.
  • Read and respond to blog posts
  • Explore at least 2 tools
  • Reflect and share your learnings on the workshop blog and wiki
  • Complete a pre- and post-workshop survey.

Open to: CGIAR staff, not for profit partners, agricultural and development organizations. Individuals, consultants and members of for profit organizations may join on a space available basis as the unsubsidized rate. (See costs below)

Platform: Blog, Skype and/or telephone, email and wiki. Our teleconference platform allows you to call for free using Skype. If you choose to use a landline for the conference calls, you will be responsible for long-distance costs. You should have regular access to the Internet. Some tools may not be accessible for those with low bandwidths. You may need to check with your IT department, as some web-based services you wish to explore may be currently blocked in your organization and you may need to seek support to access them.

Facilitators: Nancy White (Full Circle Associates), Simone Staiger-Rivas (CGIAR-CIAT), Pete Shelton (IFPRI)

Cost: USD$ 850. Individuals who work for for-profits or consultants: USD$ 1050.

Contact: Please write to Simone Staiger-Rivas (s.staiger[at]cgiar.org) for questions and subscription by August, 10 at the latest.

After a successful pilot online event (See blog posts about the event), the CGIAR, through its ICT-KM Program, is pleased to offer an online Social Media Workshop from May 25 to June 12 2009.


“Social media is using the Internet to instantly collaborate, share information, and have a conversation about ideas, and causes we care about, powered by web based tools.” – [We Media] Social media offers a move from “push” communications towards a place where we can interact with our constituents and engage with them in ways we never could before. It enables us to network with colleagues and some stakeholders.

Objective of the workshop: Introduce researchers, communications professionals and knowledge sharing practitioners to social media tools and support their social media strategy development. As a participant, you will:

  • Obtain an understanding and appreciation of the role and value of social media.
  • Learn how to apply social media concepts and tools to both gather information and increase the dissemination of your information.
  • Learn how to apply social media concepts and tools for collaboration and interaction with your organization’s staff and partners.
  • Learn from participants of mixed professional and organizational backgrounds.

Outline of the 3-week event

  • Week 1 – Introductions, conversations and assessment of your communications needs and goals.
  • Week 2 – Social Media Tools (wikis, blogs, twitter, file and photo sharing, and many more). You can join the exploration of a range of tools or start a new discussion on tools of your own choice.
  • Week 3 – Social Media Tools and strategies. How these tools can help you to achieve your knowledge sharing goals. Develop your strategy.

Number of participants: minimum 22,maximum 30

Language: English

Dedicated time: A minimum of one hour per day, asynchronous (you decide when you go online), as well as two telephone conversations, one during Week 1 and the other during Week 3. Optional synchronous calls or chats may be offered if there is an interest.

Open to: CGIAR staff, partners, agricultural and development organizations

Platform: Moodle, Skype and/or telephone. If you choose to use a landline, you will be responsible for long-distance costs. You should have regular access to the Internet. Some tools may not be accessible for those with low bandwidths. You may need to check with your IT department, as some web-based services you wish to explore may be currently blocked in your organization and you may need to seek support to access them.

Facilitators: Nancy White (Full Circle Associates), Simone Staiger-Rivas (CGIAR-CIAT), Meena Arivananthan (CGIAR-WorldFish)

Cost: USD 500

Please write to Simone Staiger-Rivas (s.staiger@cgiar.org) for questions and subscription by May, 15 latest.

A workshop for CGIAR communications professionals will take place next week at WorldFish Center, in Penang, Malaysia. From March 23 to 26, some 20 participants from 14 CGIAR centers, the Secretariat and the Alliance will meet to:

  1. Provide input into communications during the CGIAR reform process and consider the role and scope of communications in the new CGIAR.
  2. Identify means, incentives and specific opportunities to strengthen our collective communications.
  3. Develop a Work Plan for Collective Communications through 2009.
  4. Identify a set of news story ideas that will provide a focus for CGIAR media outreach over the next year.

The Institutional KS project will support this event with facilitation, documentation and some social media hands-on sessions. ICT-KM Program leader Enrica Porcari will also participate with the objective to contribute to the vision of the new role of Communication in the renewed CGIAR and share the program experience in making information available and accessible.

Bookmark this

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Everything is ready for this event that registers fully booked with 30 communication professionals from 13 CGIAR centers.

We will start for three days with introductions and a short review of our communication goals. Next Tuesday we will hold a teleconference call (in two sessions to cover different time zones). We will talk about what social media is and how it can help us achieve our goals.

For two weeks participants will explore specific tools of their interest (i.e. blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, photo and video sharing, micro blogging etc). For each tool the facilitation team (Nancy White, Petr Kosina, Simone Staiger) prepared a short introduction, recommends some resources and offers a couple of questions as discussion starters.

At the end of the workshop we will discuss via the event platform Moodle and a second conference call how social media might play a role in the new CGIAR communications approach, taking specifically into account the CGIAR change process: What role could / should social media play in future communications strategies? What are the ideas that we could start to try out together?

Watch out this space for regular posts about this event.

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On-line Social Media Workshop for CGIAR Communications Professionals March 2-13, 2009

070119_finish_your_rssToday, Communications within the CG must go beyond scientific journal articles, press releases, or static web sites to engage the users of our research in new ways. Social media is an alternative to traditional mass-media that may allow the CGIAR to target its audience in different and more effective manners.

In addition to the exiting forms of communication and marketing of our research processes and results, social media has a huge potential for the CGIAR to increase its visibility, participate in conversations and debates around our research areas, and strengthen relationships with peers, partners and actors in our field of work.

This two-week online workshop offered by the Institutional Knowledge Sharing project will allow CGIAR communications professionals to go deeper and explore how social media can help to innovate in the communications area.

The workshop is a follow-up activity to the KS Workshop that has already involved many center and partner staff.   Nancy White will facilitate our collective exploration with support from Simone Staiger-Rivas (CIAT, ICT-KM Program) and Petr Kosina (CIMMYT).



Share Fair Opening Ceremony


Tuesday, 20 January 2009

FAO headquarters, Rome

Plenary Room / Building A, 3rd Floor


10:00 hours      Welcome and Opening Remarks


Ms Lorraine Williams

Assistant Director-General

Knowledge and Communication Department, FAO


Mr Jim Butler

Deputy Director-General, FAO


Mr Paul Larsen

Director of External Relations, WFP


Mr Emile Frison

Director General, Bioversity International


Ms Enrica Porcari

Chief Information Officer, CGIAR


Mr Kevin Cleaver

Assistant President for the Programme Management Department, IFAD


Mr Anton Mangstl

Director, Knowledge Exchange and Capacity Building Division, FAO



10:35      “Networks and Effective Flow of Knowledge: how knowledge sharing tools maximize success in the working environment”

Keynote speech by Mr Geoff Parcell, Knowledge Management coach for WHO, UNDP, the World Bank and the Swiss Development Agency


11:15                Information about the Fair


Ms Roxanna Samii, IFAD on behalf of the ShareFair Steering Committee


11:30                Official inauguration of the activities in the Atrium



 Watch this space for coverage of the opening ceremony.


At a pre-meeting of CGIAR participants for the Share Fair starting tomorrow, it was exciting to learn about the diversity of the CGIAR presence at the Fair.

The participants are representing a number of Centres and Programs including WARDA, ICRAF, WorldFish, IRRI, Bioversity, ICT-KM, CIMMYT, ICARDA, CIAT, IWMI…

The participants are diverse in where they come from too both by birth and location including Syria, Mexico, Malaysia, Colombia, Rome, Philippines,  Benin and more.

The group includes KM specialists, people working on GIS, communciations personell, a web designer, someone working on learning and innovation systems, soemone working on indigenous communities and climate change and more…

The CGIAR participants are also presenting a wide range of interesting and exciting activities, projects and approaches based on knowledge sharing of various types–which we will try to share with you over the course of the Share Fair…so stay tuned.

An extensive training programme is offered to all participants in the ShareFair. At the Fair you will have an opportunity to learn not only about Knowledge Sharing Methods but also about tools.

Firefox Web Browser and its Plug-ins
Social Bookmarking
Video Sharing
Blogging and Micro-blogging
Technical Tools for Social Networking
Google Apps
Web Meeting Tools

Check out the training program

And the Full Programme for detailed schedules.

Ever used our Knowledge Sharing Toolkit?

journalist If you follow this blog, you will know the value we attach to ‘reporting with a twist’. We see reporting quickly from events we are organizing or participating in as a way to include others, those who could not, for one reason or another participate, but would have liked to. Look at it as an attempt to “democratize” our activities. Approximately 30 colleagues from CGIAR centers are now on their way to Rome to participate in the Knowledlge ShareFair…but what about all the others? The CGIAR has over 8,000 staff worldwide! We want to make sure you do not feel excluded. That’s why some of us volunteered to be your “reporters from the front line”.

What we will do for you during the event:
– Blogging during event and afterwards
– Interviews with presenters and participants
– Session summaries (brief feedback on what it was about, lessons and highlights)
– Photographs
– Video clips, blips, pod casts

If you would like to join the contributors to the reporting….drop us a comment!

So stay tuned checking the sharefair blog

Interested in reporting? Read this post on the ShareFair Blog!

Final preparations are under way in the Atrium of the FAO Headquarters in Rome which will see the launch of the ShareFair on Tuesday. In the meantime the program that will help guide you through these 3 days of sharing and learning is now available on-line.


Rome-based international agencies are jointly organizing a 3-day Knowledge Share Fair to showcase success stories and learn from each others good practices and experience. The open-house event will provide an extensive insight into the agencies’ many efforts and related activities in the field of agricultural development and food security.

The Fair will be a platform for people from different agencies to informally and openly discuss their personal experiences and lessons learned, to build networks and to share knowledge and information using modern web-based communication tools. It is the first time that an event of this nature has been organized by the participating agencies.

The Fair is jointly organised by Bioversity International, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

More information and the schedule of this innovative event can be found on the Share Fair website at http://www.sharefair.net/

Video-feeds and blogging will make it possible to follow and participate in the event online.

Watch this blog for interesting and informative posts on the event.

Next week I will join the Share Fair in Rome.

The Institutional KS project is happy to support some sessions as facilitator, and to present at a booth and together with FAO the KS Toolkit and the KS Workshop. It is also rewarding that one of our pilot projects on “Storymercials” will be presented as a way to effectively communicate project results through short videos.

As the end of this projects comes nearer (end of April), I am very much looking forward to the event which will allow many colleagues and friends who have deeply contributed to the project, to meet, like Nancy White and Lucie Lamoureux who put their brain and energy into the workshop and toolkit, or Gauri Salokhe from FAO who’s enthusiasm made it possible join forces with FAO on the KS workshop and the toolkit. I am also looking forward to meet for the first time Michael Riggs from FAO who was a first class workshop participant, and then mentor. And there are all these other incredible people and colleagues who work so effectively on knowledge management and sharing in their organizations:  Sophie Treinen, Luca Servo, Andrew Nadeau (all FAO), Petr Kosina from CIMMYT, Andrea Pape-Christiansen from ICARDA, Vanessa Meadu from ICRAF…

I am also looking forward to meet new people, to facilitate sessions in which I hope to be able to help the groups to “do their best thinking”, to listen and learn from the experiences of others, and I hope to see us close to a tipping point where participatory communication processes become as essential as a project report, or any kind of publication.


(photo credit: bikeracer)

On the second and last day of our Maputo workshop we wanted to to hear back from the groups. We used the fishbowl technique: the group listens in as three participants (sitting in the middle of the circle: in the fishbowl) question each other about what was discussed in their groups. Anyone can move to the middle. Read more about this and other methodologies in the KS toolkit.

Although at first somewhat uneasy, later on the Fishbowl worked really well to have a more conversational, more open and more participative summary and digest of the group work.

Here are some notes on the Fishbowl session: notes-on-fishbowl-session-maputo.

Here are some notes of the last session of the KM group, about capacity building: capacity-building-and-km-exploring-commonalities.

UPDATE 31 December: another post on this session is here

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