On 22 February 2021, the Digital Agricultural Services to Improve the Livelihoods of Communities (DigitAL) project held a semi-virtual learning lab with multi-sector participants from Lawra and Nandom districts in Ghana’s Upper West District. Prince Ansah led the in-person portion of the lab (with COVID-safety protocols in place) from the Lawra Climate Advisory Resource Centre (CARC) which has been equipped with virtual technologies over the past year. Co-facilitators participating virtually included Dr. Elaine T. Lawson, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Ghana’s Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies currently based in Calgary, Canada, and Dr. Mary Thompson-Hall, a Senior Program Specialist at START.
Participants in the learning lab included representatives from traditional authorities, women’s groups, non-governmental organizations, extension officers, media, farmer groups, youth and health. The aims for the lab were to:
- Better understand how information and messages shared by the project are being received by different people.
- Learn how we can improve our messaging and content.
- Find out if there are groups of people we haven’t been engaging that we should be engaging.
- Explore how we can more effectively create two way knowledge exchange between project information platforms and the end users.
- Hear new ideas for helping sustain the open knowledge sharing through the Climate Advisory Resource Centers (CARCs), mobile app and more.
The lively discussions during the lab created wonderful opportunities for sharing experiences and for encouraging new ideas about who else might benefit from the CARCs, the DigitAL mobile app and how the project can better engage those groups. Some promising ideas include new ways of engaging youth in this time of COVID-19, better content development for women’s groups, and more field-based programming for those far from the city centers. Follow our progress by following START and the DigitAL project on Twitter and Facebook! You can find more information on the mobile app here and women’s group songwriting here.