Capacity development and innovative communication

M. Koningstein (CIAT)

Policy and science meet online in Africa

East Africa

Making sound agricultural policy decisions in Africa is not easy. Weather patterns are changing due to the effects of climate change, and to withstand this variability farming communities need to change too. So, how can policymakers provide the best guidance for farmers in such complex circumstances?

A new online platform aims to help. Formed by CCAFS, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Rockefeller Foundation and Pamoja Media, the Climate and Agriculture Network for Africa (CANA) is a knowledge-sharing platform that bridges the gap between agricultural science and policy. CANA means that policymakers can guide farmers with decisions based on the best available evidence.

V. Atakos(CCAFS)

Collating a range of scientific research pertinent to farming livelihoods in Africa, CANA provides a ‘one stop shop’ for policymakers. The platform includes a section dedicated to climate-smart agriculture plus other sections on: building resilience to climate change; low emissions development; financing climate change adaptation; policies for adaptation; and gender and equality.

“This is an amazing opportunity that brings scientific evidence direct to policy makers.” James Kinyangi, CCAFS East Africa Programme Leader

To boost the sharing of information among policymakers and scientists, CANA has extended its reach through Facebook and Twitter. These are actively used to further share materials like reports, blog stories, news articles and videos, and opportunities for learning such as webinars and symposiums.

The CANA platform itself had 9 505 views in total in 2015. During the year, CANA’s interactive online sessions were in high demand, with participants signing up to receive regular updates and take part in discussions. Also in 2015, CCAFS and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) conducted a training workshop and a webinar to build regional capacity on the use of the CANA platform.

More than 100 people from research, policy and training organizations attended the CANA training workshop, and the webinar attracted around 150 participants, with another 350 people expressing interest in receiving the webinar report.