AFRICA RISING

Program level communication

See all the publications and final products of Africa RISING


Each of the three Africa RISING related projects has its own specific communication and knowledge sharing activities:

Data management and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is supported and managed at the Program level by IFPRI, even though it is somewhat connected to program level communications.

Communication and knowledge sharing at the Program level is facilitated by ILRI.
See a presentation (soon on Slideshare) about communication in Africa RISING: Africa RISING Comms presentation.

Check our comms tools and resources

The text below is the official text from the program framework about communication and facilitation in the Africa RISING program - it represents the communication strategy for the program and is supported by yearly communication plans for the program and for each of the three projects.


Africa RISING
Communication and Facilitation Component
Peter Ballantyne
May 2012


Africa RISING comprises 3 ‘research’ projects in different regions of Africa (West, East and Souther, Ethiopia Highlands) as well as a program-wide ‘M&E’ project led by IFPRI.

In January-February 2012, design workshops for each of the 3 research projects were held in Ghana, Ethiopia and Tanzania. Each workshop set directions and priorities and established a coordination framework.

The Tanzania workshop also identified a ‘program coordination’ component needed to foster learning and coherence across the 3 regional projects. Within this, a ‘communication and facilitation’ role was identified and ILRI asked to take the lead. This note outlines the main elements of this role, deliverables, and an indicative budget.

Starting assumptions

We start assuming that each project will have ‘local’ communication elements built into its activities. These are likely to mainly focus on ‘communication for development’ – ensuring that communication opportunities are taken up as an integral part of implemented R4D activities. In addition, we assume that the lead and partner institutions will ensure, for instance, that research results from the regional project are documented and published or communicated, that internal communication takes place, and that knowledge is shared across activities and partners involved in the project.

Thus, as an example, the Ethiopia Highlands project will dedicate approximately 50% of a national communication specialist to the project, with additional resources and backstopping from ILRI and other staff (for specialist facilitation, publishing, etc.).

This component is directed towards the overall program, reinforcing sharing and learning across the different components.

Program level activities

We expect the main focus at the Program level to be on the following activities:

  • Providing an overall ‘external’ web face for the Program – a web site where information about the Program as a whole and the individual projects can be found. It would report on activities in the 3 projects as well as any cross-cutting activities. Regular news updates and announcements would be produced and communicated to international audiences.

  • Ensuring that outputs from the Program and projects satisfy emerging CGIAR guidelines on branding and that they are fed into the wider CGIAR knowledge base and digital dissemination systems.

  • Providing a framework and open platforms/tools to share products and results from the Program and the individual projects. This would include an open photo and image-sharing space (on www.flickr.com) , an account on www.slideshare.net for powerpoints to be shared, as needed a video sharing space (on http://blip.tv), and a document repository (at http://cgspace.cgiar.org).

  • Once a year, commission a photo-journalist and science writer to visit one of the regions to document activities and results for wide audiences.

  • Supporting and facilitating internal collaboration and communication across the Program using online tools, such as a wiki, online calendar, or discussion space. The main priority would be to support exchange and communication across the Program as a whole. Primary responsibility for internal communication in each project would be with the lead center – we would encourage consistent use of tools and platforms across all the projects. We would dedicate people time to support such exchanges; the tools alone are inadequate.

  • Supporting, facilitating and acting in a ‘secretarial’ role to the ‘program coordination team’ and other Program-wide mechanisms intended to provide consistency and coordination across the Program.

  • Organizing and facilitating an annual learning and out-scaling event bringing together partners from across the Program and associated organizations. Participants will include researchers from the projects, other development actors, funders, and other national/regional actors likely to contribute to or benefit from the Program’s various actors. This would also act as a review and planning mechanism across the Program as a whole. Participants would pay their own travel and time costs.

  • From year 2, make funds available for up to 6 ‘peer exchange/learning’ visits for national scientists in the different projects to spend time visiting related projects in other regions.

We aim for a ‘light’ approach with systems and workflows reinforcing and building on expertise and capacities in each of the regional projects.

Year 1 deliverables
  1. Set up of a Program web site with regular reports and updates from the projects, and the Program as a whole [DONE]
  2. Set up of an initial wiki collaboration space to share activities and plans [DONE]
  3. Set up of an online calendar [DONE]
  4. Set up of a Program repository [DONE]
  5. Support to the program coordination team meetings and communication [DONE]
  6. Prepare the first learning event, in West Africa [moved to Ethiopia, 2nd year) [DONE]
  7. Support one photo-journalist/science journey – to West Africa [DONE]
  8. Recruitment/identification of people to support these activities [DONE]

Year 2 deliverables
  1. Program learning event in Ethiopia [DONE]
  2. Peer exchange visit across the program [moved to third year]
  3. Branding guidelines developed and implemented [DONE]
  4. Program newsletter developed and disseminated several times per year [DONE]
  5. Yammer communication space developed and used [DONE]
  6. Program coordination team meetings organized and supported [DONE]

Year 3 deliverables
  1. Agrilinks programs featuring Africa RISING activities and members
  2. Peer to peer visits with governmental agents organized
  3. Program level digital stories on baseline work developed
  4. Program learning event in Arusha, Tanzania
  5. Program staff profile updated on the workspace [DONE / ONGOING]
  6. Photo journalism trip in Ethiopia
  7. Sustainable intensification pictorial/visual developed
  8. Program coordination team meetings organized and supported



Communication plan priorities (yearly overview)

Communication activities are structured around five main clusters of activities. Specific priorities and plans for each year are summarized in the table below. Specific details are available below the table.

Wider influence and impact
Research outputs into development outcomes
Enriching learning, interaction, exchange
Publishing, capturing and disseminating
Internal communication
2014
(tentative)
  • Feature Africa RISING at USAID events and Agrilinks meetings
  • Organize peer to peer visits with governmental agents
  • Develop program level digital stories on the baseline work?
  • Prepare the third learning event (in ESA?) about the research framework revision
  • Organize peer exchange visits across the program
  • Ensure more is shared from ESA and WA regions on the website
  • Keep collecting all finalized outputs onto CGSpace and curate collections
  • Feature profile of all program staff (on the wiki) and some website interviews
  • Photo journalism trip in Ethiopia
  • Develop sustainable intensification pictorial
  • Get regular updates from ESA/WA on the wiki and on Yammer
  • Train comms officer ESA/WA
  • Support the organization of program coordination team meetings
2013
  • Nurture relationships with program donor and important decision-making agencies
  • Invite important partners to program events
N/A (too early for research outputs and development outcomes)
  • Prepare the second learning event in Ethiopia
  • Organize peer exchange visits across the program
  • Revise and fine-tune branding guidelines
  • Ensure all outputs are channeled, tagged and archived on CG Space
  • Develop program newsletter (Arising Matters)
  • Set up a discussion space for internal communication (Yammer)
  • Train Comms staff in using wikis and all platforms
  • Support the organization of program coordination team meetings
2012
Connect with important projects, initiatives and indecision-makers
N/A (too early for research outputs and development outcomes)
  • Set up a program website
  • Prepare the first learning event in West Africa
  • Ensure that outputs satisfy emerging CGIAR guidelines on branding
  • Set up a program repository for final outputs on CG Space
  • Set up a program wiki to collaborate
  • Set up FlickR photo repository
  • Set up Slideshare presentation/poster repository
  • Support the organization of program coordination team meetings

Specific communication plans

See the 2014 global program communication plan.
See the 2015 global program communication plan
See the 2016 global program communication plan

Other communication discussions and resources

A discussion within the Ethiopian Highlands which took place in October 2014, focused on the work flows around Africa RISING sites, to identify how information is generated and how it is captured, how it should be and what can be done accordingly... See the results of this discussion here.
Most other Comms team meetings are documented on the Africa RISING Yammer network (see one example here), linked from the general page 'Comms/KM activities (generic)' and related to the page on 'Comms priorities and pending issues'