On 6, 7 and 8 December, staff of Knowledge Management and Information Services (KMIS) at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) provided facilitation and reporting support to a Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) workshop titled ‘Developing climate-smart crops for 2030 world’. It took place on the ILRI Ethiopia campus in Addis Ababa.
The workshop involved over 40 participants from 16 countries, primarily from the crop-breeding, plant-modeling or climatologist communities from East and West Africa. The workshop aimed to identify strategies to develop crops that are better adapted to climate change risks and fast moving breeding challenges. Breeders and modelers in particular need to work together to prepare themselves for the possible consequences of climate change.
The KMIS team:
- Designed and facilitated the entire workshop in a participatory fashion;
- Documented workshop conversations in Word and occasionally on Yammer and Twitter and wrote one blog post about it (published on the CIAT-Decision and policy analysis blog);
- Took pictures during the event and the field trip;
- Organized a series of interviews of participants and video-documented group work reports;
- Uploaded all presentations, pictures and other products to relevant CCAFS repositories for later access;
The workshop was designed to be interactive to emphasize conversations and to let working groups develop their plans. The working groups were arranged either as regional groups or as crop groups, along the four crops that CCAFS focuses on: Banana, beans, rice and sorghum. At the end of the workshop each crop group had developed a vision for their crop in 2030, they identified the regional challenges that prevent more effective breeding strategies, the specific challenges facing each crop, and the the traits that will help develop climate-smart strategies for African breeders by 2030.
Despite the technical nature of some discussions and the inherent challenges of working with heterogeneous groups (not sharing the same language, getting confused, disagreeing on priorities etc.), the groups really managed to get far in their planning and action and enjoyed the highly interactive nature of the workshop.
The documentation and reporting work allowed the participants to focus on the conversations rather than the documentation and overall process. Using video to capture group reports also contributed to this work and ensured that no essential issue raised was missed. The outputs from the documentation work will feed the final workshop report bythe CCAFS team.
Interviews with five participants: Aissata Mamadou (student from the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement), Eric Danquah (Director of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement), Kofi Bimpong (Senior scientist from the Africa Rice Centre), Mary Mgonja (scientist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics) and Piet van Asten (scientist at the International Instituteof Tropical Agriculture) will appear shortly on the CCAFS YouTube channel.
All the presentations are on the CCAFS Slideshare account, with tags, descriptions and references to this specific workshop to make them easily accessible and searchable in the future.
Overall, the workshop went very well, though being better informed about the ins and outs of the workshop would have helped us provide even sharper inputs for the blogging and documentation. The participants expressed their appreciation verbally and on the workshop feedback forms, praising among others the “interactive nature of the workshop and the high level of engagement.”
The organizing team also warmly thanked the KMIS team for their inputs:
“Thanks for the excellent facilitation! Thanks for all the support from your group.” (Maren Radeny, CCAFS and co-organizer of this workshop).
“Thanks for this excellent material… Congrats to all of you for setting a really high standard for workshops that I hope can be replicated in the CCAFS program!” (Vanessa Meadu, CCAFS communications).