Collaborate, Create, Communicate

About the CSO-CGIAR Engagement Process and the KS Project

The Knowledge Sharing project has been involved for more than a year in an effort of the CGIAR to “give civil society a stronger voice in the CGIAR and foster mutual learning in joint endeavors”. The project has done this through suggesting, co-designing and facilitation of participatory processes applied in on-line and face-to-face interaction in order to achieve KS principles like inclusiveness, active listening, and opportunities for exploration.

Most recently, the Institutional KS project got involved in the design and facilitation of the inception workshop of the 4 winning projects of the Competitive Grant Scheme that was held in Washington D.C. last week.

The two-day event offered opportunities for fruitful discussions around each project’s focus, partnership networks and issues related to project communication. Some main points on the workshop agenda have been:

  • An interactive exploration around the projects to find common ground
  • A session on people and networks led by the consultant Nancy White.
  • An introduction to communication and outreach strategies led by Purvi MhetaBhatt, from the Science Ashram in India.
  • An overview of a partnership study recently commissioned by the CGIAR Science Council.

In the short videos produced with our digital cameras, the participants highlight very different aspects of the event: Sylvain Mapatano from the Plateforme Kiobass liked the cross regional richness of experiences of projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America; Andrew Noble from IWMI appreciated the opportunity to share with colleagues of similar thinking and thoughts, Pascal Sanginga from CIAT had a particular interest in some sessions, like the one on networks and communication.

One participant, Nigel Asquith from Fundación Natura stated at the very end: “We are committed to make this process work”, expressing this way the consciousness about the opportunity to showcase more effective ways of CSO-CGIAR engagement.

Some things that went well KS perspective: (1) There was sufficient time and space to come up as a group with ideas for follow-up actions. (2) The guest-speakers made it lively and brought in diverse perspectives.

Some things that could be improved: (1) More active involvement of the participants beforehand via a Dgroup to share workshop expectations and be prepared to include those better in the agenda; (2) The Grant Scheme doesn’t include the issues of joined learning between CSOs, CG centers and Secretariat on partnerships throughout the Program, which seems to be a vital component. Participants came however up with constructive suggestions that will now be explored.

See Workshop pictures at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8764209@N07/sets/72157602342081967/

See videos at: http://blip.tv/file/425193/

More information on the Competitive Grant Scheme Program and the winning proposals at: http://www.cgiar.org/csos/cso_cgiar_grant_program.html