Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Workshop to elaborate a FARA communication strategy

" Developing communications strategies for entities such as network
secretariats is notoriously difficult. On the one hand a secretariat exists
to service the network members, and therefore its role is to support and
facilitate member’s own communication activities through providing training, resources and connections. "

"On the other hand, a secretariat is often expected to spearhead network communications and therefore be pro-active in seeking communication opportunities. Success can lead to tensions if the profile of the network becomes associated with the secretariat to the detriment of individual member profiles." (Pete Cranston)

The FARA communication strategy workshop(22,23,25 Feb) identified the different needs of each of the networking support functions (NSF) within the FARA Strategic plan. It included discussions on how the communication strategy will be monitored and evaluated to ensure effective implementation.

Czech Conroy; Aggrey Agumya; Francois Stepman; Richard Lamboll; Sidi Sanyang; Jean-Pierre Ilboudo
Myra Wopereis; Pete Cranston; Dady Demby; Jacqueline Nyagahima; Ajit Naru, Gloria Tetteh

Outcome mapping lended itself well to the assessment of FARA communications, as it facilitated the integration of quantitative and qualitative indicators. Outcome Mapping proved to be a straightforward methodology for the workshop, designed and built from FARA's development practice and Medium Term Operational Plan.

The methodology called "Outcome Mapping" was developed by IDRC, which characterizes and assesses the contributions development programs make to the achievement of outcomes. Outcome Mapping can be used at the program, project, or organizationel level. The book can be downloaded: OUTCOME MAPPING Building Learning and Reflection into Development Programs

Interview with Ajit Maru of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research GFAR

Ajit Maru explains why FARA needs a communication strategy. It is one of the steps to improve an organisation. He identifies four steps:

1. Improve the financial flows through project management

2. Improve the human resources capacities

3. Improve and change the management

4. Improve the internal and external communication flows: a communication strategy is an instrument to implement or communicate change in agricultural research for development in Africa.

Ajit gives an answer to the questions (i) whether the workshop contributed to a greater focuss in the FARA communication strategy and (ii) if GFAR will benefit from an improved FARA communication?

Interview with Jacqueline Nyagahima

Jacqueline reflects on the usefullness of the Outcome Mapping concepts such as Boarder partners, Outcome markers and Progress markers for a communication strategy ; she trusts FARA can now better finetune the targets ; she thinks this approach is also usefull for ASARECA.

Interview with Czesh Conroy (Natural Resources Institute)

Czesh answers the questions : Was the outcome mapping useful + Challenges ahead for FARA as a young organisation.

Interview with Jean Pierre Ilboudo (CORAF-WECARD)

Jean-Pierre explains what he takes back to Dakar, how new outcome mapping was to him despite the fact that he has been into communication for his whole life. He elaborates on how outcome mapping allows to identify the stakeholders, who to target, with whom to communicate, which content and messages, using which tools and channel, and how it can improve the communication about ARD in Africa.

Related resources:

Monitoring and Evaluating Information and Communication for development programmes.
DFID guideline - 21 pages - File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - mapping challenges more traditional approaches to monitoring and evaluation.

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