Back-to-back with the 11th EfD Annual meeting in Addis Abeba, the EfD secretariat organized a two day workshop for communication officers and researchers at all EfD centers, with the specific aim of boosting skills in Policy Interaction and Communication.
The reason for this current investment in Policy Interaction and communication is that EfD is in a dynamic and interesting expansion phase. Three new centers in India, Vietnam and Colombia were introduced to the network last year and the three collaborative research programs ESAfD (Ecosystem Services Accounting for Development) SETI (Sustainable Energy Transition Initiative) and Forest management are all growing stronger. Therefore it is important for the network to get on the same page and create a joint understanding and agenda for our interaction and outreach.
The workshop had four clear goals; Getting a joint understanding of what Policy Interaction and Communication activities within EfD involves; Build specific skills in Policy Interaction and communication tools; Networking and peer learning amongst centers and to initiate the work on a 2018 policy interaction and communication plan for each center.
The first day of the workshop was devoted to Policy Interaction processes. Daniel Slunge, Researcher and Senior Policy Analyst at GMV, University of Gothenburg, lead the first workshop day, which had elements of short lectures, exercises and group work. Center´s Policy Research reviews were the core input from participants, and discussions were organized into regional groups where EfD centers from the same continent shared research agendas, key policy processes and stakeholders with one another. Yitatek Yitbarek, Policy Interacton manager of ECRC, also gave a talk about the Ethiopian EfD center’s strategy and methods of assessing climate research - policy linkages.
The second day addressed communication and Pete Nelson, Communication Director at Resources for the Future, USA opend. Pete talked about RFFs experience of communicating research and gave some hands on advice about crafting clear key messages and to build in as many outreach vehicles into your workflows as is practicable.
Cyndi Berck, editorial expert and managing editor of the EfD Discussion Paper series and Leonie Joubert, freelance science writer and communication officer of South African EfD center EPRU, lead two different writing workshops. Cyndi´s session had a focus on Research Breifs and how to bring out the essence of research to Policy makers, while Leonie´s session focused on popular writing and the media. Karin Jonson and Eugenia León, representing the EfD secretariat´s Policy Interaction and Communication management function, concluded the day with a discussion on responsibilities within the network and how to find coherence in a joint worksflow.
Next steps after this workshop is for the secretariat to process what came up in the workshop and based on identified needs provide an EfD manual for Policy Interaction and Communication practices. We will also continue to map where the EfD centers joint interests are in terms of both research areas and means of outreach as well as work on a joint network strategy for Policy Interaction and communication.
Participants’ reactions to the workshop have been positive. The aim is to gather this group again online and physically, to continue build on what we have started off here.
Some voices from the workshop
It was great to share experiences and have a better idea about the aims of them.
This workshop was very important in sharpening the skills, getting new approaches to make effective and efficient interaction and communication as well as networking
By: Karin Jonson