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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Online community project stories in Laikipia County inaugurate

By Noah Lusaka and Bob Aston
In this era of a knowledge driven society, many development organizations including governments involved in community development work, rarely share their experiences about their work, successes and challenges. This leads to many projects failing since similar mistakes are repeated quite often by different organizations yet solutions are there!
Mr. Anthony Mugo from ALIN admiring one of the blogs
To enhance project experience sharing globally, there are many new tools that can be used. In the past and even now, some organizations shared experiences through newsletters, e-mail and face to face meetings. Some of the new online information sharing tools include websites, blogs, wikis, tumblr, Skype, twitter and much more.
To enhance United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) grantees from Laikipia County to share their project experiences, Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) organized a three (3) days workshop on citizen Journalism and blogging at Olympia Hotel in Nyahururu from 22nd to 24th July 2014.
The workshop involved eighteen (18) participants who learned how to document their project activities and use of social media to disseminate their activities.
The training provided the grantees with an opportunity to learn about news writing, creative writing, feature writing, photography, interviewing, online journalism (blogging) and media law and Ethics.
The knowledge gained will be key to meeting the project goals as the grantees seek to articulate their community project experiences and for wider sharing.
The development of information and communication technologies has led to the emergence of citizen Journalism, also referred to as “participatory Journalism.”Citizens are now playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information.
This is what led ALIN to use the Citizen Journalism aspect to try and equip the grantees with basic journalism skills. This has also taken into cognizant the fact that in today’s internet-based society, having an online presence is one of the most powerful ways of sharing knowledge.
The forum provided the participants with an opportunity to create blogs for their organizations. 18 blogs were created and the participants will continue populating them with their project activities.
During the workshop, participants were particularly impressed with learning how to blog as all of them picked the sessions that involved blogging as the most interesting part of the training. Learning how to take quality pictures as well as conducting an interview also elicited a lot of interest.
Mr. Philip Nandwa, officer of Environment and Natural Resources in Baringo County said that he has now been empowered on how to create a blog. Mr. Nandwa has already created a blog that their department will now be using to disseminate natural resources and environmental conservation matters in Baringo County.

One of the participants practicing how to take a good photo
 “It will now be easier to document and disseminate what we are doing to the general public through the blog that I have created for Environment and Natural Resources in Baringo. The training came at an ideal time as knowledge sharing has always been an issue. Most people rarely share what they are doing,” said Mr. Nandwa.
Mr. Godfrey Ndonye, from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Laikipia County has already started blogging. He has so far posted two (2) articles in their blog Laikipia County Govt. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. He is happy that their department now has a forum to share what the County government is doing.
The work that the grantees are doing is expected to help enhance online visibility of UNDP GEF SGP project as well as helping in closing knowledge gaps, improving accessibility of indigenous knowledge as well as ensuring that the communities are better informed about Sustainable Land Management (SLM).
Fostering a knowledge sharing culture among organizations will go a long way in enhancing synergy amongst different stakeholders involved in similar projects. It is worth noting that organizations are increasingly recognizing that knowledge constitutes a valuable intangible asset for creating and sustaining competitive advantage.
Already ALIN is using the push and pull way to share knowledge between the various UNDP GEF SGP grantees. The grantees are set to use knowledge push by using a quarterly newsletter called Laikipia Maliasili to disseminate project activities. A knowledge sharing Kibanda was established at the Ng’arua Maarifa Centre to create a platform for Laikipia partners to share knowledge on environmental issues. .
Knowledge sharing about SLM is essential to the successful management of natural resources. Opportunities for collaboration can play an important role in allowing different stakeholders to bring their unique skills and perspectives together to address various challenges faced.
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