The Good, the Bad and the Lessons

Monday April 19th, was yet another day that another institute seminar on CGMap Ongoing Research in Africa was held. The venue this time was ILRI Ethiopia, Addis Ababa campus targeting ILRI and hosted institutions staff who among others included IFPRI and IWMI colleagues. What was an exciting, informative and very insightful session with tons of feedback was given by myself and chaired by the jovial and enthusiastic Nadia Manning–Thomas of ICT-KM.

From creating awareness to raising interest on the map, the objectives were also to establish the extent to which people use the map and to find out what other useful features and functionalities can be incorporated for future development.

Below are the highlights from the seminar as a well as from ILRI’s Annual Planning Meeting (APM) whose theme was on the good and the bad of livestock where in one of the round ‘cafe table’ session chaired by ILRI’s Bruce Scott, participants were asked to list down the good, the bad and the lessons on Collective Action CGMap Ongoing Research in Africa.

The good

  1. Fast and simple to update information
  2. Easy access of agricultural research projects i.e. from one central hub
  3. Tremendous opportunities for creation of partnerships (individual and institutional)
  4. Tremendous potential for the new CG to show what it is doing collectively

The bad

  1. Lack of awareness among some people on the existence of the tool
  2. No links from centers websites to the map for ease of accessibility
  3. Updating information is viewed as an extra burden on scientists who feel that they already have too much to do

Lessons

  1. The benefits of interacting with the map ought be communicated more to scientist, other CG staff and also partners
  2. Establish links with centers data to enable automatic harvesting of research project information – have common policies and guidelines with regards to the projects data
  3. Send out quick facts as well as summaries of the information in the map, using diverse channels of communication
  4. Send out email alerts to website subscribers once new projects are entered in the map
  5. Report collaboration and other direct benefits that come with interacting with map

The two sessions were quite enriching and will help a lot in shaping the current and also future developments of the map. Just looking at the web visits statistics for the week when the meetings were held, while on average, in Africa the map has had the maximum number of hits from Kenya, during this period Ethiopia’s visit surpassed Kenya visits by 16% a direct indication on the impact of the two sessions as well as other face to face interaction.

Stay informed on agricultural research projects at; http://ongoing-research.cgiar.org

Evelyn Katingi

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