Communication, Information, Knowledge and Data

In the NBDC, communication and knowledge management play a major role in both internal communication (ensuring that the teams can work easily together, engage with each other, find good records of conversations and learn together) and in external communication (ensuring that the NBDC key messages are brought to their audiences and these audiences engaged as much as possible in NBDC work at every level possible). This page lists a number of resources related to this work in NBDC.

What is the comms approach in NBDC?

The brief 'Communication tools in the Nile Basin Development Challenge' summarises the list of communication channels and tools that NBDC is using to communicate internally and externally. This brief is also the basis of the NBDC website page 'Comms tools'. The brief 'Communicating inside out—The NBDC’s first year' reviews the first year of comms work in NBDC, while the more recent brief 'Communication priorities for the Nile Basin Development Challenge 2012-2013' indicates the broad priorities and principles of work in NBDC for the second half of the programme.

The Prezi 'NBDC knowledge management and communication' reviews the history, achievements, challenges and lessons of NBDC communication and knowledge management in the Challenge. The NBDC institutional history also tracks back some of the plans, activities, achievements, challenges and lessons of communication in the NBDC.


Essentially, the NBDC comms approach revolves around five key pillars:
  • Project and event planning and reporting - systematically
  • Documenting discussions and events
  • Using different meeting formats
  • Publishing different products
  • Spillovers to other organisations
The communication work was previously nested under the Nile 5 project.

The NBDC comms team also commissionned the work of Elias Damtew on 'Communication tools for improved knowledge sharing in rainwater management: A case study of the Nile Basin Development Challenge to further understand communication and information preferences and practices in the sites where NBDC is active.

The comms tools we use in NBDC are the following:
In order to keep everyone informed about the NBDC activities, we developed 6 'news briefs', showcasing articles from the website: NBDC update 6 (February 2014) - NBDC update 5 (July 2013) - NBDC update 4 (December 2012) - NBDC update 3 (December 2011) - NBDC update 2 (May 2011) - NBDC update 1 (September 2010).


Important discussions about communication and KM

Recent discussions, meetings or milestones on Comms, information, knowledge and data:

In preparation for the end of program, read CPWF material and publication guidelines (May 2013)

Roles and responsibilities

  • Overall strategic responsibility for communication lies with Alan Duncan and Simon Langan, with support from Ewen Le Borgne and Peter Ballantyne.
  • Decisions on publications produced by the NBDC (content and process) lie with Alan Duncan and Simon Langan, with all Nile project leaders with support from Emaelaf Kebede and Meron Mulatu.
  • Knowledge sharing / managementand internal communication work is a responsibility of Ewen Le Borgne, with supervision from Peter Ballantyne and Alan Duncan and Simon Langan.
  • Info flow across projects – yammer/wiki. The Yammer champion used to be Aberra – responsible for harvesting snippets across the programme. This has been abandoned for general lack of time among the team.
  • Media work at national level is the responsibility of Alan Duncan with Simon Langan and Meron Mulatu, with support from Ewen Le Borgne.
  • Organizing events and workshops is the responsibility of Alan Duncan with Simon Langan with support from Ewen Le Borgne and logistical support (scheduling, invitations, venue, transport, equipment) from Yemisrach Regassa (IWMI) and Abeba Asmelash (ILRI) to be identified.
  • Monitoring (and reporting) of communication work is the responsibility of Alan Duncan with Simon Langan.


Communication priorities in the next phase (2012-2013)

Bearing all the above in mind, the following are the main priorities (see more details in the brief Priorities in NBDC communication for 2012-2013), even though the people may have changed (e.g. Tilahun Amede is mentioned a lot, below, although he has been replaced as NBDC coordinator by Alan Dundan and Simon Langan).

Develop a clear strategic and operational plan for communication

The management of the project has to issue a clear position on the science vs. process discussion and on who plays what role.
  • Tilahun and Ewen to organize a team (focus) discussion on ‘science and process in NBDC’ to develop a clear and integrated approach about this in the NBDC;
  • Tilahun to issue a short statement about that position as a result;
  • Ewen and Tilahun to develop a clear set of roles and responsibilities for communication work, on the basis of the section ‘roles and responsibilities’ here.
  • The project leaders, Tilahun, Emaelaf and Ewen will have a discussion on setting up the publication strategy for NBDC with clear editorial process, peer review etc., following established ILRI procedures and ensuring oversight on IWMI-generated outputs too;
  • Tilahun and Ewen, with project leaders, will discuss the preparation of the next batch of MSC stories and plan outputs accordingly;
  • Tilahun and project leaders will discuss the possible need to hire a consultant to write some of the final NBDC outputs;
  • Ewen and Tilahun will take stock of existing research outputs (and their stocks) from phase 1 and from current phase and prepare an overview of what can be shared with whom. Tilahun will entrust project leaders to ask their staff to bring these publications when going to the field;
  • Tilahun and project leaders will identify key publications/outputs that need to be translated in Amharic and/or Oromiffa or need to be packaged through audio/video formats;
  • As part of his ongoing tasks Ewen will keep checking publication updates at monthly meetings and share this with Emaelaf’s management of the ILRI publication pipeline.

Manage the production pipeline for NBDC outputs

Most importantly, we need to know what is planned and when, who by; and the scientists as a group are aware of gaps/opportunities they may not have thought about.

Strategize knowledge sharing and engagement

  • Ewen, Tilahun and the NBDC project assistants will further develop the mailing list of NBDC VIPs (based on the list of people who attended face to face meetings compiled by Tsehay, and one of researchers to be able to share effectively NBDC updates and outputs with them on a regular basis;
  • Ewen and Tilahun, with support from N-project leaders, will develop a calendar of NBDC (possibly linked with IWMI, ILRI, ICRAF, and other project partners) seminars about different topics and will invite relevant audiences for these; this needs to be part of ‘campus-wide’ communication at ILRI, in which Meron has a major role.
  • Ewen and Tilahun will schedule a series of team (focus) meetings on key topics for the NBDC, possibly related to seminar topics and aiming at understanding what each N-project might be doing in the area investigated (or what they might do);
  • Meron and Tilahun will liaise with the national press and identify opportunities to organize briefings, press releases, interviews, articles or radio programs on NBDC work.
  • Project leaders, with support from Tilahun and Ewen, will see to the systematic collection of publications, presentations, pictures, videos etc. from the field and other activities? The ILRI editorial team will see to it that all information handled is collected;
  • Ewen and Peter will discuss a process to review what is added to the wiki, to see what can be taken a step further.
  • Ewen might prepare guidelines for what information to document/collect and how;
  • Ewen and Tsehay will review comms needs of the NBDC team with Tilahun and recommend one or more ‘Komms Klinics’ sessions to address those needs;
  • Tilahun will go around and ask project leaders and staff to update the NBDC Yammer and follow his example with interesting developments and to inform him or Ewen about potential blog post matter;
  • In late 2012 and in 2013 again, a communication meeting will look into engagement, social learning and knowledge sharing internally, assess bottlenecks and possible opportunities.

Support the internal culture of knowledge sharing and social learning

Maintain the course and dynamics

The danger of ‘communication relapse’ needs to be countered with activities to maintain the dynamics:
  • At every team meeting, Ewen will keep the emphasis on planned outputs (to be included in the publication pipeline), events (for the calendar) and possible stories to tease out on Yammer or – if more elaborate – on the blog;
  • For every half yearly or yearly report, Bizuwork and Abenet (under supervision of Ewen and Tilahun) will ensure that all key outputs are registered and available on Mahider and properly documented (with a blog post).


Action List

Task

Description

Responsible

Status

Strategic Comms
organize a team (focus) discussion on ‘science and process in NBDC’ to develop a clear and integrated approach about this in the NBDC
Tilahun and Ewen
Done - the science meeting and the One NBDC initiative
Strategic Comms
issue a short statement about that position as a result
Tilahun
N/A
Strategic Comms
develop a clear set of roles and responsibilities for communication work, on the basis of the section ‘roles and responsibilities’ here
Ewen / Tilahun
Done and introduced here
Publications
have a discussion on setting up the publication strategy for NBDC with clear editorial process, peer review etc., following established ILRI procedures and ensuring oversight on IWMI-generated outputs too
project leaders, Tilahun, Emaelaf and Ewen
Abandoned but generally handled by ILRI publications team
Publications
discuss the preparation of the next batch of MSC stories and plan outputs accordingly
Tilahun and Ewen, with project leaders
Done
Publications
discuss the possible need to hire a consultant to write some of the final NBDC outputs
Tilahun / project leaders
Done - Terry Clayton
Publications
take stock of existing research outputs (and their stocks) from phase 1 and from current phase and prepare an overview of what can be shared with whom. Tilahun will entrust project leaders to ask their staff to bring these publications when going to the field
Ewen and Tilahun
Abandoned
Publications
identify key publications/outputs that need to be translated in Amharic and/or Oromiffa or need to be packaged through audio/video formats
Tilahun & project leaders
To do
Publications
Keep checking publication updates at monthly meetings and share this with Emaelaf’s management of the ILRI publication pipeline
Ewen
Ongoing
Knowledge sharing and engagement
Further develop the mailing list of NBDC VIPs (based on the list of people who attended face to face meetings compiled by Tsehay, and one of researchers to be able to share effectively NBDC updates and outputs with them on a regular basis
Ewen, Tilahun and the NBDC project assistants
Meron and Abeba are working on this
Knowledge sharing and engagement
Develop a calendar of NBDC (possibly linked with IWMI, ILRI, ICRAF, and other project partners) seminars about different topics and will invite relevant audiences for these; this needs to be part of ‘campus-wide’ communication at ILRI, in which Meron has a major role
Ewen and Tilahun, with support from N-project leaders
Abandoned - but ILRI-wide seminars are happening
Knowledge sharing and engagement
schedule a series of team (focus) meetings on key topics for the NBDC, possibly related to seminar topics and aiming at understanding what each N-project might be doing in the area investigated (or what they might do)
Ewen and Tilahun
Done
Knowledge sharing and engagement
liaise with the national press and identify opportunities to organize briefings, press releases, interviews, articles or radio programs on NBDC work
Meron and Tilahun
Done
Social learning culture
see to the systematic collection of publications, presentations, pictures, videos etc. from the field and other activities? The ILRI editorial team will see to it that all information handled is collected
Project leaders (with support from Tilahun and Ewen)
Ongoing
Social learning culture
discuss a process to review what is added to the wiki, to see what can be taken a step further
Ewen and Peter
Done (see Discussion about updating the NBDC wiki and website)
Social learning culture
prepare guidelines for what information to document/collect and how
Ewen possibly
Optional
Social learning culture
review comms needs of the NBDC team with Tilahun and recommend one or more ‘Komms Klinics’ sessions to address those needs
Ewen and Tsehay
Done
Social learning culture
ask project leaders and staff to update the NBDC Yammer and follow his example with interesting developments and to inform him or Ewen about potential blog post matter
Tilahun
Abandoned
Social learning culture
Organize (in late 2012 and in 2013 again), a communication meeting to look into engagement, social learning and knowledge sharing internally, assess bottlenecks and possible opportunities
Ewen and Tilahun
Done - see Discussion about communication support to the general program
Social learning culture
Maintain dynamics
keep the emphasis on planned outputs (to be included in the publication pipeline), events (for the calendar) and possible stories to tease out on Yammer or – if more elaborate – on the blog
Ewen
At every team meeting
Social learning culture
Maintain dynamics
ensure that all key outputs are registered and available on Mahider and properly documented (with a blog post)
Bizuwork and Abenet (under supervision of Ewen and Tilahun)
Ongoing
Communications strategy for Nile 5
develop draft for early september
Peter
Replaced with the 6-pager from May 2012.
Delayed to first quarter 2011. Need to also engage with CPWF comms people.
comms tools - proposal
share ideas with project teams
Peter
Unclear status?
sent: 5 july 2010
comms tools - wiki
set up
training for teams
Tsehay

Tsehay
http://nilebdc.wikispaces.com
comms tools - yammer network
set up
guidelines for use
KMIS
https://www.yammer.com/nilebasindevelopmentchallenges
comms tools - document repository
set up
feeds and alerts
guidelines for use
KMIS
http://mahider.cgiar.org/handle/10568/2296

http://feeds.feedburner.com/nilebcdoutputs
blog space
set up
sign up for alerts
Tsehay + KMIS
http://nilebdc.wordpress.com

http://feeds.feedburner.com/nbdcnews
Google calendar
set up
KMIS
http://nilebdc.wikispaces.com/calendar
NBDC logo
done
Meron
Revised after feedback from CPWF -View and Download
NBDC Briefs

Meron
6 completed in September.
Data management
We need webspace and metadata and tools to save and make all kinds of data available to the projects

Unclear status
Charlotte, Peter and others working on this
Base maps
We want to have a set of basic maps of the project sites that can be used by all teams

Catherine and Amare have done some of these. See basemaps page
Standard powerpoint template
for use by all projects, with NBDC branding
Meron
Unclear status - use CPWF template
Standard NBDC ppt introduction
for use by all projects, with NBDC branding
Meron
Unclear status - use CPWF template
Photo archive
To share NBDC photo collections
Tsehay
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nilebdc
Slideshare
To share powerpoints and posters
KMIS
http://www.slideshare.net/ilri/tag/nbdc
http://www.slideshare.net/cpwf/tag/nbdc
Awareness and training for staff
In how to use the tools
Tsehay
Peter
small session in December 2010
small session in September 2010
Planned session in January 2011
WEBEX
online conferencing tool
ILRI ICT
First used for N2 workshop in December 2011
Comms workshop
Organise in September 2011 around the planned reflection meeting. Two ideas: 1) link comms activities to Project OLMs; and 2) organise a day for teams on 'effective' comms tools and approaches. Or a bit of both.
Peter
Tilahun
\Michael Victor
Done in February 2012
To discuss further with teams and CPWF.
Publications
Populate the table with all planned publications
All in the team
http://nilebdc.wikispaces.com/Publication+pipeline
Nile 1 report
Layout and publish as a project document

develop other products: CPWF working paper, briefs, journal article
KMIS

Tilahun
Done
NBDC Poster
General introduction
Meron
http://mahider.ilri.org/handle/10568/3157
NBDC Update
Published simultaneously on the blog and as pdf.

September 2010.
May 2011

Dne