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FEATURE: Postcard from Frankfurt – CDKN Knowledge Brokers Workshop day 1


Tim Woods of Green Ink, rapporteur for CDKN’s Knowledge Brokers Worskshop in Eschborn, Germany, blogs on a successful first day and describes the climate change knowledge challenges raised by participants.

6pm on a Friday evening is an odd time to start a workshop; would meeting at the end of the working week mean a few disgruntled participants? As the participants made their way into the hotel garden in Eschborn, near Frankfurt, Germany, the buckets of coke and orange juice were quickly emptied in the hot evening sun, and conversations started. “So, which platform are you with?” was the standard opening gambit as people met the faces behind the platforms, until a glass was tapped and Christopher Feldkoetter of GIZ formally opened the workshop by welcoming us to Eschborn, which, he said, was basking in “perfect Biergarten weather”.

This was followed by Susanne Schwan’s ice breaker. Everyone chose a postcard from the GIZ collection to represent knowledge sharing, and had to explain their choice to the group. Some played to form – Shaun Martin from WWF went straight for the elephants – and some interesting early thoughts came out: “We may be surprised with what users are using,” noted Blane Harvey from IDS, with his picture of a Masai woman using a mobile phone. After everyone had their turn, a shuttle bus (lower CO2 than taxis, top marks GIZ) took us for an evening meal that included asparagus soup and strawberries – two seasonal German specialities.

The main workshop started early on the Saturday morning. After a buffet breakfast that covered five tables – another fine German tradition – the participants set off on a carbon-busting walk through Eschborn to the plush headquarters of GIZ. The mood was positive – many people observed how important the workshop was, and how “visionary” CDKN, GIZ and PIK were to have held it. Geoff Barnard, who came up with the idea for the workshop, noted how pleased he was that so many people had come – a positive start to what could have been a competitive workshop, with so many people doing much the same thing all in the same room.

The mapping tool was the crux of the first morning – six categories, with up to ten sub-categories each, scored by 20+ organisations. It could have been chaotic, but the session worked; people thought through what they were doing, and some clear trends emerged along with some key questions: are donors driving the overlap between platforms, in terms of target audiences, purpose and content? Is information enough, or do we need to do more to support people’s understanding of climate change?

How this mine of data will be presented and used is a challenge for another day (although CDKN will present initial findings in Bonn next week week). But in terms of meeting a key workshop objective – mapping where we are in relation to each other – the donkey work has been done.

Further discussions followed in the afternoon, with some eyes already turning to the questions of the second day. Who can I work with in future? What are the next steps for network forming at this workshop? And the one question that has yet to be asked – are there simply too many platforms out there?

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