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Organizing the FSCA-PISA Training Workshop on ComDev

One of my main tasks in this period is the organization of a training workshop on Communication for Development from 11 to 15 April 2011 in Dakar, Senegal. This training is a direct outcome to the recommendations of the FSCA-PISA project team during the latest Regional Workshops.

Preparing the FSCA-PISA Training Workshop in BanjulWe consider this event being fundamental for the progress of the project: it aims at enhancing the communication skills of project staff and key stakeholders, and at strengthening the linkages among the various FSCA projects and harmonizing communication approaches. The workshop also aims at addressing the specific training needs expressed by the individual projects.

Our first worry was to design a highly participative workshop, where trainees are asked to contribute with their own experiences, know-how and visual material from their own projects. These will constitute the basis for interactive sessions during which all participants convene around themes of common interest, prepare case studies, share successes, approaches and lessons learned through tools such as World café, Open Space, Chat Shows and other modern km techniques.

Each project is asked to propose a team of maximum 7 participants among whom we suggest representatives of Ministries of Agriculture, involved in the activities, members of farmer based organizations, partners and the communication consultants. The selection process is fundamental because these people play a crucial role in the management of the projects. A focal point will be designated to coordinate the participation of the whole country team.2nd FSCA-PISA Regional workshop in MonroviaWhile waiting for April to come, we don’t want to loose time. So, the training will consist of two distinct phases: a pre-workshop distance learning step and the proper 5 days face-to-face workshop:

Phase I –  The distance learning step must be completed in advance. It basically consists of a data collection exercise about the projects and about the participants themselves. Our team of facilitators will soon contact them individually and guide them through the process. This phase will help in solving part of the problems due to distance and differences of the 7 countries involved in the FSCA-PISA activities. The more data and objects related to the activities will be collected the better. They will be used to give the other Teams the feeling and the sense of what each project is like.

Phase IIFace to face workshop will be held over a 5 day period in Banjul, Gambia. In addition to the theoretical presentations, there will be practical, participatory labs for communication tools such as web, video, photography, rural radio and mobile telephony. The training sessions will run in parallel for both English and French groups.


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Onda Rural is online

Onda Rural, the alliance on rural radio in Latin America between FAO, ALER and AMARC is online.

We are very proud of that. It is the re-edition of a long standing collaboration among the three organizations which lasts from 2004.

We foresee interesting spaces of collaboration in the area in the field of radio, disaster risk management and communication for development.

Follow the account of Onda Rural on twitter.


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Radio is for everyone

Last week Mr John Cheburet was in Rome with us. It was a very nice experience and I’m sure everyone involved in this experiment got a benefit from it.
jc in rome005As you probably remember, John is the winner of the FRI scriptwriting competition on innovation in smallholder agriculture. His script was a story about how Sawdust prolongs the storage life of potatoes. John is a journalist from Kenya and works for The organic farmer. John usually spends his time in contact with farmers around Kenya, collecting ideas and stories.

jc in rome035This time the approach was a bit different. John spent three days meeting with people in Rome, partly at FAO and partly at IFAD. All of them dealing with agriculture but from very different angles. Very different, one from the other: we meet people dealing with Animal health and rinderpest and those working for CountryStat, people dealing with Plant production and potato (the subject of John’s winning script), gender issues, bees pollination and FAO-EU Food facility. And they were many..

jc in rome022The variety of interests was enormous as John interviewed more than 15 people in just one morning and two afternoons. More than 10 hours of sound, as he calls it, were recorded using a fast and simple voice recorder.

The last morning I asked him the miracle: “John” I said, “this afternoon we are going to call everyone back and we need to give a sample of what radio can do for them. We need to show also what contribution they can give to radio. Can you put together a clip to give a perception of what we have been doing the last two days? Some minutes of recording with the essence of what you and these people said during 11 different meetings.”

John just did it.

jc in rome027Wednesday afternoon we were again in the meeting room to learn how radio and development projects can go together. To give the taste of the power of communication. The power of radio, in the days of the Internet. So simple, so powerful.

And John had a great success. Every participant was extremely fascinated by what he/she saw and heard. Now you can hear it and see it, just as the participants did few days ago!

I think it was a very interesting experiment and would like to have chances to repeat it again, soon.

In conclusion, and above everything else, a very special thanks to John for his energy and enthusiasm.

John Cheburet‘s blog.


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2nd AMARC Asia Pacific Conference

Do you remember the AMARC Pan African Conference I took part last April, in Abidjan? Good! I’m almost ready to go to Bangalore to take part to the 2nd AMARC Asia Pacific Conference!

Reports will be available soon in this blog as well as on my twitter account.

This is a very important occasion to meet for the first time with such a large group of Asian radio broadcasters who are actually expanding and developing many activities in the field of rural and community radio.


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FSCA Regional Workshop in Monrovia

FSCA

Almost ready to the start of the second FSCA Regional Workshop here in Monrovia, Liberia. During the third day I will spend the morning introducing Communication for Development and Knowledge Sharing to the tens of people working in the seven countries (Senegal, The Gambia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau) involved in the projects and the Inter-Country Coordination project.


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Climate Change and Communication for Development

Today, for the Blog Action Day ’09, the topic is the connection between Communication for Development, the discipline managed by the Team I’m part of at FAO, and Climate Change, the topic all of us are dealing with these days and in the near future.

Writing this post is not an easy job due to the vastness of the argument. Climate Change influence our actual and, more then anything else, future life. In this perspective, we think communication can be a valid tool if not to solve at least to afford and manage the change. The objective is to avoid that this phenomenon that we provoked could damage our future existence in an unsolvable way.

Communication helps people to manage their life in a better way. The exchange of thoughts from one person to the other and vice-versa can help all of us to reflect and find new opportunities, solutions and ideas to afford and solve our problems. Communication for Development is a discipline which takes care that communication is embedded in development activities. This is because where the future is created, as in such activities, then interaction is fundamental to prepare a better approach to that future. Exchange is a key word for ComDev. Parity is another one. Dialogue, and not monologue, is the forth keyword.

Those are the reasons why we consider Communication fundamental also in facing Climate Change. Adaptation to CC, that’s to say the option to adapt human behaviors and attitudes to the Change of Climate, is the way to prepare ourselves for the future way of living when, probably: temperature will change around the globe, plants and animals will move from equator to poles, agriculture and nutrition will change as a consequence, wearing, eating and working habits will modify, etc etc. We really believe communication can offer a great opportunity to sustain Climate Change Adaptation and that’s the reason why we dedicate our job to encourage, stimulate and support people, organizations and projects which adopt communication when involved in adaptation to CC.

Just to mention one concrete activity in this direction, the Communication for Sustainable Development Initiative – CSDI is one of them. CSDI aims at implementing communication programs and services in selected countries, and to make available suitable ComDev methods and tools at the international level through knowledge networks and partnerships.