Earlier this year, the Stakeholder Engagement and Communication teams from the three partner countries of Target Malaria in Africa met in Accra (Ghana) for a workshop to discuss the stakeholder engagement work that is being carried out on the ground in Burkina Faso, Mali and Uganda.
“I came up with the idea of the workshop because I see the quantity of information that the SE teams produce by interacting with stakeholders and I wanted to create an environment and an opportunity where the SE teams could mutually share their knowledge. Creating and facilitating the workshop was challenging but is one of the elements I bring to the SE teams as the Regional Stakeholder Engagement Support. I think that this challenge has been successfully accomplished seeing the enthusiasm of the teams. Furthermore, we decided to put together a knowledge management strategy in order to systematically gain additional knowledge from the stakeholder engagement experiences of the teams” shared Mohammed Drabo.
This workshop was a great occasion for the teams to spend time together, to strengthen their working relationships and to share their respective knowledge and experiences gained from their years of practicing engagement in the field. Although the engagement approach and process are similar in all countries the realities of the ground and context are different and thus learning from each other’s’ experiences is important.
The workshop evolved around key themes that were identified and presented by the teams of Burkina Faso, Mali and Uganda. This enabled the group to then have discussions and share their own approach by discussing the methods used, the best practices and the lessons learned from their engagement activities.
Themes varied and included amongst others for Mali the engagement and consultation process of stakeholders around the insectary concerning the sterile male stage of the project and the engagement of national stakeholders on the development of new genetic vector control strategies for malaria control. The team of Burkina Faso shared their experiences on the engagement around Mark-Release-Recaptures activities in one of the village site and their engagement strategy for civil society groups and the implementation of “relay groups”. Finally, the Ugandan team presented on the public acceptance for mosquitoes’ collection activities in field sites and on the interactions and dynamic between a research project and local communities.
“The workshop gave us the opportunity to strengthen the collaboration between the SE teams in terms of communication, sharing experiences and lessons learned from our work in-country. We are committed to keep this interaction productive and alive by exchanging on the good practices of engagement but also on challenges that we face so we can support each other” said Bakara Dicko, Stakeholder Engagement Lead of Target Malaria in Mali.