ILRI / ILRIComms / Knowledge and Information / people / Social media

ILRI ‘communications’ powers the Livestock Exchange event

Apollo and Zerihun documenting speeches

Apollo and Zerihun documenting speeches

International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Knowledge Management and Information Services (KMIS) and Public Awareness (PA) teams were heavily involved in organizing, facilitating,  documenting and reporting about the recent Livestock Exchange (or LivestockX) event held on 9 and 10 November 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The event, which was hosted by the ILRI Board of Trustees, had 130 participants (ILRI staff and research or development partners) discuss and reflect on livestock research for development.

Throughout the event, the KMIS and PA team worked relentlessly to ensure a focused, lively and engaging experience for all participants through:

  • Designing, editing and printing 19 issue briefs prepared before the event to offer entry points to the various sessions
  • Organizing interviews of key ILRI staff members about their research, in relation with the  session events and blogging about it (as well as about the results of the session)
  • Facilitation of five engaging sessions that put the emphasis on conversations, as opposed to presentations;
  • Organizing a market place where all kinds of teams and projects showcased their work and results
  • Preparing a series of posters on the ‘Seré’ legacy
  • Live reporting (real time documentation of the LivestockX sessions through social media tools: Yammer for internal audiences and Twitter for external ones)
  • Organizing social events (farewell party for the leadership and contributions of Dr. Carlos Seré as ILRI Director General after 10 years of directorship)

As an entry point to the event and a great opportunity to capitalize on the past years of research throughout the institute, ILRI staff members prepared 19 four-page issue briefs giving some direction for future livestock research for development. The KMIS team conceptualized, edited, designed, printed and distribute these offline and online.  Twenty five short online ‘think pieces’ were also contributed by staff, former staff, and partners of ILRI.

The PA team in Nairobi interviewed and blogged the experiences of many ILRI staff: Iain Wright on global research with regional relevance, Tom Randolph about focus on focus, Roger Pelle on molecular research around East Coast Fever, Phil Toye on animal health research, Purvi Mehta on capacity development, Alexandra Jorge on the forage genebank, Delia Grace on human health issues, Steve Kemp on biotech research and Bruce Scott on partnerships and communications.

During the event itself, the KMIS team led the design and facilitated five sessions:  Livestock and human health, Livestock systems in transition, Animal health and genetics, Livestock market opportunities for the poor and Livestock impact pathways. To keep all participants engaged in novel ways, various facilitation methods were used: fishbowl, world cafe, Lalibela buzz, six-thinking hats and buzz groups. The facilitators were greatly supported by a team of KMIS and PA reporters who captured the group discussion for inclusion in the final notes.

I wanted to thank you and your team for an extremely well organized event” – Vish Nene, ILRI

On the Market Place various outputs, photos, publications and posters from different ILRI themes, projects and hosted institution were presented to reflect and share work from the past ten years. The project ‘Improving Productivity and Market Success of Ethiopian Farmers’ (IPMS) organized a special exhibition of its livestock works in Ethiopia and gave participants a chance to indulge in honey testing. The KMIS team led the market place preparations; a weak point was the abandoning of the stands after the initial morning …

‘Instant’ reporting:  the PA and KMIS team produced over 45 blog posts about the event, 18 videos , uploaded  58 photos, and contributed over 100 tweets and yammer posts throughout the event.

In addition, KMIS Addis organized two much-appreciated social events:

  • A dinner party to bid farewell to Dr. Carlos Seré for his leadership and legacy as ILRI Director General and for 10 years of his services to the institute.
  • A Mesheta Bet (‘Local bar’ in Amharic the dominant language in Ethiopia). After the two days of intensive learning and sharing, the team organized an Ethiopian style party (with local Ethiopian drinks and food). This highlight of the Livestock Exchange proved a wonderful avenue for all the participants to continue their informal sharing, collaboration and socializing with each other. Instant praise from participants – the ‘best’ ILRI party ever!
  • Our thanks to ILRI colleagues in catering, conferencing, engineering, housing, national liaison, security and transport for making everything possible!

After the event, the KMIS team in Addis held an after-action review to reflect upon the process and achievements and to improve the organization of such events in the future.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for the preparation and implementation of the Livestock Xchange event. I know the Board were very pleased with the event and what we have accomplished. I also know that Carlos was very pleased with the way we organized the event and the substance that was generated from the Livestock Xchange – Bruce Scott, ILRI.

Outputs of the event are available here:

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