APRA ICE Insight

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APRA ICE Insight 5: The Power of Blogs to Share Research and Communicate Policy Lessons
May 4, 2022 / APRA ICE Insight Publications

Written by: Alice Mutimer, Susanna Cartmell, Sophie Reeve and Olivia Frost

Over the course of the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Programme (2016-22), researchers produced over 150 publications, including Working Papers, Briefs, COVID-19 Papers, Journal Articles and several books. The intended audience of these publications varied, from the academic community to national and regional policymakers and other stakeholders; but their value is multiplied when they engage a broader audience. A key approach taken by APRA’s Information, Communication and Engagement team to further the reach of these publications was to support the researchers in publishing weekly blogs. Ranging in length from 700 to 1,000 words, these blogs condensed the key insights and messages from longer, more technical publications, particularly highlighting valuable findings and policy takeaways, into a shorter, more accessible and relevant format. With over 200 blogs published since 2018, these outputs have proved highly valuable in promoting APRA publications and events, receiving multiple viewings from a diverse audience and leading to significant subsequent downloads of the related research outputs. This report explores the use of blogs throughout the APRA programme to identify what went well and what could have been improved to expand their impact even further.

APRA ICE Insight 4: e-Dialogues Spark Debate on the Dynamics of Agricultural Commercialisation
May 4, 2022 / APRA ICE Insight Publications

Written by: Sophie Reeve, Susanna Cartmell, Alice Mutimer and Olivia Frost

In early 2022, the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) Programme of the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC), in partnership with the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Foresight4Food, held an e-Dialogue series: Towards an Equitable and Sustainable Transformation of Food Systems. This followed an earlier, highly successful series organised with the same partners in the second half of 2020 on What Future for Small-Scale Farming? The latest series included three online Zoom sessions led by APRA over January-March 2022 on topics including COVID-19 and its effects on local food systems and rural livelihoods, and transition pathways and strategies for supporting more equitable and resilient food systems in Africa. These virtual events were designed to replace an international conference that was part of APRA’s original end-of-programme plan, before the COVID-19 crisis prevented large, physical gatherings. The three e-Dialogues brought together APRA researchers and expert commentators from across sub-Saharan Africa, as well as a wider audience. The objective of these dialogues was to examine evidence and lessons from APRA’s six-year collaborative research programme (2016-22) analysing the dynamics of agricultural commercialisation processes, agrarian change and rural transformation in the region. This report looks at their impact, what worked well, and what could have been improved.

APRA ICE Insight 3: Communicating New Evidence Through APRA Working Papers and Briefs
May 4, 2022 / APRA ICE Insight Publications

Written by: Olivia Frost, Susanna Cartmell, Sophie Reeve and Alice Mutimer

Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) has been a six-year research programme of the Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC), aiming to identify the most effective pathways to agricultural commercialisation that empower women, reduce rural poverty and improve nutrition and security in sub-Saharan Africa. Through in-depth, interdisciplinary, comparative research across nine countries, APRA has generated high-quality evidence and policy-relevant insights on more inclusive pathways to agricultural commercialisation. To disseminate its research findings and policy messages, APRA had a multi-format strategy to produce a portfolio of mutually-reinforcing publications to inform a broad spectrum of actors. This report evaluates APRA’s publication outputs to understand what went well, and to identify what improvements could have been made.

APRA ICE Insight 2: Making the Most of the Media
May 4, 2022 / APRA ICE Insight Publications

Written by: Susanna Cartmell, Olivia Frost, Alice Mutimer and Sophie Reeve

To disseminate policy-relevant messages based on APRA research at country and regional levels, the Information and Communication and Engagement (ICE) team encouraged country teams to build relationships with the media from early on in the programme. This is not something with which APRA researchers had much experience and, subsequently, the approach was taken up by only a few teams. Nevertheless, with support from the ICE team, those teams that pursued active engagement with the media proved very successful. This report reflects on the APRA programme’s engagements with the media to identify what went well and key lessons on what could have be improved.

APRA ICE Insight 1: Investing in Social Media Pays Big Dividends
May 4, 2022 / APRA ICE Insight Publications

Written by: Sophie Reeve, Alice Mutimer, Susanna Cartmell and Olivia Frost

Over the past six years, the use of social media, including Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp, has been a vital part of APRA’s Communications Strategy in raising awareness of the programme’s activities and outputs. Since 2016, APRA’s social media profile has been embedded within the Future Agricultures Consortium’s (FAC) well-established online channels – including Facebook and Twitter – with the view to increase FAC’s followings and enhance APRA’s visibility. The Impact, Communication and Engagement team has been responsible for developing APRA’s Digital Strategy and tracking the impact of social media activities, including sharing APRA’s publications and news on events, and promoting APRA’s key research messages. This report explores this impact, what went well, and what could be improved as future programmes plan their own social media efforts.