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Thursday, 14 September 2017

"Building Resilience through Innovation, Communication and Knowledge Services (BRICKS)

Synthesis of the work Organized  by  the  International  Union  for  the  Conservation  of  Nature  (IUCN),  in  collaboration with  the Permanent Inter-States Committee on Drought Control (CILSS), the Sahara and Sahel Observatory(OSS)and World Bank, the regional workshop on communicating project results to different audiences took place from17 to21 July,2017 at Hotel Gaweye of Niamey ,Niger.
The workshop is part of the implementation of the «Building Resilience through Innovation, Communication and  Knowledge  Services »(BRICKS)Project, in  support  of  the  Great Green  Wall Initiative  (SAWAP).  It aimed at contributing to communicating to key audiences the way SAWAP Projects’ results are supporting the implementation  of  the  Great  Green  Wall Initiative,  by  producing  success  stories  for decision-makers  within governments, the private sector and civil society that give evidence of the value added of the various country projects of the Great Green Wall.
About fifty participants came from 12 SAWAP countries (Benin,  Burkina  Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana,  Mali, Mauritania,   Niger, Nigeria,   Senegal,   Sudan,   Chad   and Togo) and   Guinea .   They were   made  up   of communication experts, journalists, representatives of the three BRICKS executing agencies (IUCN, CILSS, OSS), the Focal Points of Terr Africa, of  the Great Green Wall national agency and of  Re SAD in Niger.
I. Opening ceremony Chaired by Colonel Major BILA Maina,  the  Permanent Secretary  of  the Ministry  of  Environment  and  Sustainable  Development  of Niger,  representing  the Minister, the opening   ceremony   was marked by  three addresses:
The welcome remarks by the Coordinator of the Community Action Programmed  (PAC3) Mr .Ali  Moha  first  welcomed  the  participants to  the  workshop.
He   then  recalled  the  objectives  of  the  Great Green Wall before explaining the context of the  workshop that will enable communication experts of the 12 SAWAP projects and journalists to continue raising public awareness on the vision and challenges to be taken up as part of the Great Green Wall Initiative.
According to him, the Great Green Wall Initiative has positively evolved over time in its design and implementation strategy by adapting to an ever changing physical, social and institutional environment.
And it clearly appears that communication and the messages already conveyed or those to be conveyed to the general public in both our cities and country side have played and will still play a critical role.
The workshop is of paramount importance for our countries in terms of development and sound natural resource management communication.
Mr. Ali Moha concluded his speech by wishing the workshop a great success.
Address by the representative of the IUCN Regional Director for Central and West Africa First of all, Mr. Jacques Somda welcomed all participants to the workshop on behalf of the Regional Director of IUCN and of the BRICKS Project’s implementing partner institutions (CILSS and OSS).
He then recalled  the  objectives of the BRICKS project and  the  role  of each  executing agency, before  giving an  update  of the  actions undertaken in the field of communication in collaboration with the SAWAP project teams.
Convinced of  the  competencies  and  expertise  of  each  of the participants  and  confident in their commitment  to  working towards  improved  natural  resource  management  in  general,  of land and  water  management  in  particular,  he  has no doubt about the good outcomes of this workshop.
Mister Jacques Somda   thanked the World Bank for their support to the 12 countries of Africa to increase their resilience capacity in view of combating poverty.
He also thanked CILSS and OSS for their perfect collaboration in the implementation of the BRICKS Project.
To  the  Niger  Government and  to PAC3, he  expressed  his appreciation  for  their  involvement  in  the preparations for and smooth running of the current workshop.
Opening  speech  by  the  Permanent  Secretary ,representing  the Minister  of Environment and Sustainable Development of Niger Col. Major  BILA  Maina started  by  conveying warm  congratulations  and  greetings  from  the Minister  of Environment and  Sustainable  Development  who  could not  be  present  due  to  other  duties.
Welcoming  the participants  and  wishing  them  a  pleasant  stay  on  the  hospitable  land  of  Niger,  he  hailed  the  outstanding presence at this workshop of high level specialists who accepted to travel to  Niamey to share their knowledge, experiences  and  expertise.  Col.  Major then  described  the  objective  set  for  the BRICKS Project  which  is  to bring an effective contribution to the implementation of the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel.
The workshop  will  enable  the  BRICKS  Project  communicators  and  journalists  to  be  equipped with strategic  communication and storytelling  techniques so as to better share best practices, inform and raise the awareness of decision-makers and of the general public with respect to the achievements recorded in the implementation of the SAWAP projects and of the Great Green Wall Initiative.
II. Introductory activities The workshop was facilitated by Mr. Peter Paul Van Kempen for the IUCN‘s Commission on Education and Communication (CEC), assisted by Mr. Christophe Hien and
Madam  Félicite    Mangang.  Self-introductions expectations of the  Participants The  deliberations  of  the  workshop  started  with  the constitution of  working  teams  and  introduction  of  the participants.
Each  country  team  was  made  up  of  a  pair  (communicator  and  journalist).
The constitution of pairs   helped to establish working groups of 4 To 6 persons.
The   next   phase   consisted of voicing the participants ‘expectations.
These preliminary steps formed the basis for kick-starting the deliberations.
III-The proceedings 1-Presentations, group work and   discussions
The workshop methodology was based on "learning by doing" through group work and plenary discussions.
The  deliberations  were  organized  in  the  form  of  interdependent  sessions  that  contribute  to  achieving  the objectives  of  the  workshop.  Each   of the sessions contained presentations followed by practical exercises, group work and feedback in plenary sessions.

The following points were discussed during the various sessions and alternated with a field trip:
Evaluation of the changes induced by participation in training, Jacques SOMDA, IUCN The  workshop  gave  an  opportunity for BRICKS implementing  agencies  to evaluate previous  training workshops on Communication capacity building  (Dakar1,  Lomé2 and Accra3).
To  this  effect,  a questionnaire was  submitted  to  the  participantsto  collect  their  views  and suggestions on  the  relevance  of  the  trainings already conducted.
This enabled to assess the change induced by their participation in the various trainings.
Overall, 37  participants on  46 (Government  actors,  inter-State  actors,  media  men  and  women  (journalists), communication experts of the projects and NGOs) from 14 countries 4 have filled in the forms.
1- Parallel practical interactive session: communication tools, 5 May 2016, Dakar, Senegal (side event of the 3rd SAWAP Conference).
2-Regional  workshop on media men and women’s capacity building on the theme of Sustainable Land and Water Management (SLWM): Sustainablel and and water management in SAWAP countries: issues, challenges and local strategies, 3-7 October 2016, Lomé, Togo.
3- Regional Workshop on SAWAP teams’ and media men and women’s capacity building for the use of social media and collaborative web 2.0 tools for development:
The collaborative web 2.0tools: a new opportunity for distance cooperation,13- 16 February 2017, Accra, Ghana.
4- Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Soudan, Togo, Guinea and Tunis

The assessment covered various aspects:-

Relevance: all workshops ranked from "relevant" to  "extremely relevant".-
The most extensively discussed issues were in the Lome workshop on SLWM.-Effectiveness: the  trainings  made  it  possible  to  improve  knowledge  and  awareness  level  within projects and to some extent, within the target populations.
 -Usefulness of the trainings in terms of influencing the target audiences: the knowledge was used in the projects for influencing policies more particularly.
-Factors of implementation: the environment of countries and projects has greatly influenced the use of the knowledge acquired. There were however, some minor problems.
Furthermore, the outcomes show that there were more male than female participants in the various trainings.

There was therefore a gender imbalance.

The outcomes of this assessment also reveal that 11% of participants feel that the BRICKS trainings are more relevant than those received under other projects.
In conclusion, this   assessment   indicates that   the   trainings   were   all relevant   in   terms   of   knowledge strengthening and partnership establishing as well.
This  shows  that  the  community  of  practices  is  a  reality  under construction in the BRICKS project.

Sharing the Vision on the Great Green Wall, Razingrim  Ouédraogo, IUCN

The presentation enabled participants to schematically represent the  Great  Green  Wall.
The exercise and discussions that following the drawing of sketches made it possible for participants to further understand the Vision on the Great Green Wall.
Mister Ouédraogo, in his presentation and through the answers to the questions, gave the history of the Great Green Wall Initiative(GGWI) clarifying the background to the establishment of the GGWI, the initial vision and developments in the GGW vision which moved from creating a physical barrier made up of trees from the East  to  the  West  of  Africa  in  order  to "stop  desert  encroachment "to  a  set  of  integrated  sustainable development  interventions  addressing  the  multisectoral  issues  that  affect the  lives  of the  people.
In  this  new vision of the GGW which calls for synergetic actions, the presenter specified that in the longer term, the GGW extending from Senegal to Djibouti should change  from a  green strip to an  all-green area where  one  will be able  to  undertake  soil  reclaim,  agro  forestry, farming,  livestock  breeding,  soil irrigation, area  protection and more activities.

Resilience and Nature-Based Solutions, Bora Masumbuko, UICN

The   woman  coordinator  of BRICKS  at  IUCN  first  recalled  the  various  ecosystem  services (support, supply, regulation and  cultural  services)  rendered  by  nature  and  which contribute  to  human  well-being.
Ecosystems and the services that they deliver are submitted to disruptions and resilience is the capacity of a system that is submitted to disruption, to respond to long term chocks and stress; it thus maintains its structure or rebuilds itself after having gone through achoc; the more an ecosystem is protected and healthy, the more it is capable of coping with chocks.
Finally, resilience and nature-based solutions are strongly linked as
 the latter help to protect, manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems, thus enhancing their resilience.

Frogleaps Presentation, Félicite Mangang, IUCN

As a reminder, the Frogleaps site is a sustainable development communication tool.
It is a free, online interactive learning course on strategic communication and storytelling techniques.
Created by two members of the IUCN Commission on Education
and Communication  (IUCN -CEC) (Frits  Hess link and Peter  Paul  van  Kempen), this  Web  platform assists  professionals  and  helps  them  implement  the international  agreements  on biodiversity, climate  change  and  sustainable  development.
The  French  version  of  this  platform  is  now  available  and  this  was  made  possible  with the  support  of the "Building  Resilience through Innovation,  Communication and  Knowledge  Services"  (BRICKS)Project.
Madam Mangang called  on participants to make  of the site a  learning tool to deepen the knowledge  shared  during  the  workshop  and  of  course  on  many  other  subject  matters  related  to  strategic communication and storytelling.
-Storytelling through peer learning by Peter Paul, CEC/IUCN Peer  learning  was  the  flagship  topic  of  the  present  workshop  on communicating  outcomes.  It  consisted  of learning  story  telling  techniques  depending  on  target  audiences.  With the exercises,  the  teams  made  up  of journalists and Communication experts were able to improve the listening capacity of participants on one hand and the story telling techniques of participants through telling stories to their peers on the other hand.
The key points of the various sessions on storytelling were the following:
Techniques of telling captivating stories;
Understanding and designing storyboards;
Definition of target audiences;
Writing a story based on a story board;
Learning from peers’  stories.
III-The field trip The  field trip was to the rural commune of Say, located at fifty kilometers from the capital city Niamey. The aim of this visit was to have an insight of the reality of sustainable land and water management in Niger and concerned two sites: Tchirofondou  and  Lougabanda in the  Tillabéry region.
In  Tchirofondou,  the participants were  welcomed  by  the  prefect,  the  mayor  and  the populations including women as the major beneficiaries. The land reclamation initiative carried out by PAC3 on 30 hectareshas as aim  objective to improve women’s income through soil rehabilitation and productive activities,  particularly agroforestry.
In Lougabanda, The participants discovered what Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR)is all about. It consists of building the potential of an existing ecosystem, making it more productive in all aspects. ANR is the Say commune enables to regenerate 1,468 hectares, covering 15 villages.
IV-Recommendations At the participants:-

Practice the exercises more individually and between them.

To the trainers and presenters:-
Allocate more time for practical work;-
Further clarify the presentations.
To the organizers:-
Organize specific sessions for journalists and communicators in the sidelines of the workshop;-
Better prepare the demonstration-discussions sessions;-
Work towards making the community of practice a reality under the BRICKS Project;-
Consider training in photography that will allow the participants to have beautiful photos to illustrate their productions.

To the PAC3Coordination in Niger:-

Draw the attention of PAC3 on the risks of destroying the ecosystem of the site for farming purposes.-
Assist  women  in  the Tchirofondou site  in  undertaking  dry  season  farming  activities  by  building  water bodies.
The participants wish  to  thank  the Government  and  people  of  Niger  as  well  as  the PAC3project  for  their warm welcome and all arrangements made for the organization of this workshop.