GFAR blog, Partnerships for impact

“Challenging Development and Research Communications” – two more GFAR webinars.

Women involved in the participatory research on tropical fruit trees (South India)

Ready for a challenge?

Up to now, our GFAR webinars have concentrated on how to use communications for outreach and marketing,… But in our professional field, “communications” runs much deeper than “promotion” and “raising awareness”.

In the next two webinars we will challenge ourselves. We will dive into the deep end, to shed some light on the “challenging communications”: How can communications contribute directly to development outcomes and changes in knowledge, attitudes and skills? How can we add participatory communications into research for development and knowledge sharing? How can we use communications as a social learning process? How can we use communications for research uptake? How can we involve our stakeholders – even if they might have conflicting interests – in a positive communications process?

And we’ll also look at SEO Dublin the art of “internal communications”: How do we communicate within our work groups, our project teams, our organisations or our constituency? What are the challenges, the wins, and tools we could use?

For this series of two webinars, we have assembled a large group of well-reputed speakers who will share their experiences to inspire us…

Challenging Communications – Part I: Participatory communications and uptake communications

Date: Tuesday March 21st 2017 – at 14:00 Rome time
Duration: 2 hours
(Use this tool to convert “Rome time” to your timezone)

This webinar will cover communications as a “process for change” rather than for promotion or awareness-raising communications: using communications for knowledge creation and sharing, participatory or social learning, creative participatory project synthesis and writeshops or learning briefs. How to work with multi-stakeholder platforms, or use tools like participatory video or farm radio..?

Challenging Communications – Part II: Internal communications

Date: Tuesday March 28th 2017 – at 14:00 Rome time
Duration: 2 hours

This webinar will cover different parts of “internal communications”, specked with ample examples on internal comms within a team, an organisation or a consortium of many organisations? How can we work with a geographically disbursed project team?

Register now!

You can register for these webinars by sending a simple email to Peter Casier – peter.casier(at)

Please mention the title of the webinar you want to participate in (“Challenging Communications”), your name, affiliation (organisation/institute) and function.

We will send you an email confirming your registration. You will get a reminder with the technical details to join the webinars, one day before each.

Register fast! Our webinars are limited to 100 participants and the available “seats” are often taken in a matter of days.

Our webinars are open to GFAR partners as well as other nonprofit organisations or individuals working in the area of agriculture, ecosystems and sustainable development. They are often attended by scientists, students, communications staff as well as agricultural practitioners.

We do not ask for a participation fee, but we encourage participants to actively engage in our webinars with feedback, questions to the speakers. We count on the participants to share their own experiences and to discuss topics online with the other participants during the webinar.

Our speakers:

These webinars are a collaborative effort: a dozen professional communicators will share their experiences and approaches, their trials and errors.

Speakers for Part I: Participatory communications and uptake communications

Michael Victor is a communication, knowledge management and policy engagement specialist with more than 20 years of experience delivering on strategic communications, production of high value knowledge products, and facilitating multi-stakeholder learning and dialogue processes in the agriculture and natural resource management sectors. He is currently coordinating communication and knowledge management activities for the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE).

Meredith Giordano is a Principal Researcher and U.S. Representative for the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). During her tenure at IWMI, Meredith has managed multi-million U.S. dollar collaborative research and outreach projects, programs in Asia and Africa and has been responsible for strategic leadership of IWMI’s research-for-development portfolio. The results of her work have influenced donor investments and have been published in a range of academic journals and other outlets. Prior to joining IWMI, Meredith served as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development and an auditor for Arthur Anderson & Co. Meredith has a Ph.D. in Geography from Oregon State University, an M.A. in International Relations from the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University, and a B.A. in Accounting from Luther College.

Peter Ballantyne is head of communications and knowledge management at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). He has worked in agricultural information and knowledge for 30 years, championing open access, participatory communications, local content, social media and the use of information and communications technologies in development. He is an experienced facilitator and has been closely involved in several ILRI and CGIAR research program projects, contributing especially to engagement and collaboration activities in the Livestock and Fish research program, various research synthesis activities, and development of the livestock CGIAR research program proposal. Before ILRI, he led communications and knowledge sharing activities in several research, NGO and policy institutes in the Netherlands.
In this webinar, Peter’s topic will be: “Beyond articles: Participatory, ‘social’ agricultural research communication”.

Juliet Braslow has worked with farmers and rural communities internationally for the past 10 years. Juliet holds a Masters in Horticulture & Agronomy and another in International Agricultural Development. She has a diverse background of skills ranging from soil management and agricultural extension to international development. Juliet conducts interdisciplinary and participatory research in addition to leading effective and engaging communications for development and knowledge sharing.

Julian Gonsalves is an experienced manager, action researcher and advocate for over 35 years in the areas of international agriculture and rural development. He is currently Senior Advisor for Asia at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) Philippines. He is a strong proponent of participatory approaches and community based approaches. Julian has developed and continues to adapt the writeshop process, an intensive, participatory writing process which brings writers and production teams to synthesize, simplify research outputs in order to improve their uptake.
He has worked in more than 35 countries since 1980. He has a Phd in extension education and international agriculture from Cornell University, Ithaca (NY), which he pursued under a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. He has a Masters Degree from Michigan State University where he specialised in knowledge utilization strategies. He has a BS degree in Agronomy from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, India.

Beatrice Makwenda is a motivated agricultural development leader with Agricultural and Business Management training.

Beatrice is specialized in programme and policy development for livelihood improvement. Currently, she serves as the Head of Policy & Communication for the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM). Beatrice will present the uptake and communications of aflatoxin research findings in Malawi and Zambia.

Karen Hampson is Regional Programs Manager with Farm Radio International (FRI), a Canadian NGO. She has over 20 years experience in international development, working with farming communities on three continents in various guises. In her current role, she supports fifteen radio and ICT projects in four countries of East and Southern Africa. The projects use the power and reach of radio and ICTs to engage with listeners for various aims: to scale out proven technologies, to promote uptake of agricultural innovations and improvements, or to assess the effectiveness of radio, ICTs and other extension and communication for development methods. Karen also leads project and partnership development in the region, building partnerships with various international organisations and research centres for effective impact projects. Karen is based in Arusha, Tanzania, at FRI’s regional office for sub-Saharan Africa.

With a background in history, modern dance, health improvement, learning & development, and higher education management, Fisher Qua brings eclectic skills to his consulting work. He is primarily focused on organizing and structuring interactions that invite more people to contribute more of their intelligence. He uses “Liberating Structures” and other generative interaction patterns to help groups shape the future together.

Speakers for Part II: Internal communications

Carina Carrasco is currently the communications and knowledge management adviser for FONTAGRO, administered by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Since 2010 Carina works as a communications adviser for development institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2013 she created the communications department of FONPLATA, a multilateral organization for countries in the southern cone, based in Bolivia. She participated in the creation of the Argentina Global Compact Network (UN) in its role as administrator and leader of corporate social responsibility in the private sector. She holds a Master Degree in Communications Management from Universidad Austral/IAE, Argentina.

Simone Staiger-Rivas is leader of Knowledge Management at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) where she works on data and information management, knowledge management in research processes and internal communications (Check out their blog).
Having worked at the center for 16 years, she has been involved with many aspects of communications and organizational change within the organization. Recently she has been looking with her team into the adoption and use of theories of change for internal communications processes.

Cavin Mugarura is an I.T. Professor, with international experience as a consultant for the World Bank, and the United States Department of Health.

He is also the Founder / Technical Director of Blue Node Media, an I.T. Consulting firm based in Uganda and the United States.

peter-avatar-with-dog-copyPeter Casier is GFAR’s community coordinator. Peter went from software developer, network manager, telecommunications consultant to working with the UN. For the past seven years, he has been consulting on online communications.
Peter currently mostly works with online teams consisting of volunteers or volunteering contributors. He will share some of his experience of “internal communications” within this type of working environment.

About the GFAR webinars

The Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) strongly believes in the power of communications to bring – with our partners – our common messages to the public, and to network within our own communities. That’s why we continuously support trainings, workshops and webinars on communications.

Our webinars are presented in collaboration with our partners. If your organisation is not a GFAR partner yet, join now!

The webinars are moderated via BlueJeans, an online tool running within any internet browser. It only requires participants to have a good and reliable internet connection and a computer running any browser.

Topics of our past GFAR communications webinars include:
“Email based newsletters”
“Building a bridge between scientists and communicators”
“An introduction to social media”
“How to read updates from hundreds of websites, easily”
“How to define and measure your social media performance”
“How to find and use pictures for your websites”
Basic Search Engine Optimization
The Art of Website Revamps
The Crystal Ball: Predicting the future of online media

Top picture courtesy Narasimha Hegde (LIFE Trust)s

2 thoughts on ““Challenging Development and Research Communications” – two more GFAR webinars.”

  1. Great article, wonderful to see awareness about this, I would be very interested in your webinars if you can forward some information, keep up the good work guys

    1. We have two webinars in the pipeline for end 2018/start2019: one on gender (topic to be defined) and another on scholars doing work in agricultural innovation with Nuffield International. Please stay tuned to the GFAR Blog for the announcements!

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