I recently attended the Climate Knowledge Brokers Workshop at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) at Sussex University in Brighton, UK. The workshop brought together members of the Climate Knowledge Brokers (CKB) Group. This group is organised via a Coordination Hub hosted by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) and a CKB Steering Committee chaired by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN). The workshop was held over two days and attended by representatives from around 40 different national, regional and global institutes that are engaged in the management of climate change data and knowledge products. The event provided a lot of guidance for the Gobeshona initiative.
A series of activities took place throughout the workshop, including short presentations, knowledge ‘clinics’ and brainstorming activities. Presentations were given by representatives from CDKN and REEEP. They introduced the initiative and explained the context within which the CKB Group was formed. The group was created, we learned, in an attempt to reduce the confusion brought about by the multiple climate knowledge portals now available, and it is designed to bring knowledge brokers together to share data.
Knowledge clinics aimed to find solutions to problems faced by knowledge brokers. Representatives volunteered as ‘patients’ bringing their problems to a group of ‘doctors’ who aimed to diagnose the problems and find ways forward. This was a good chance to meet people facing similar challenges and to share possible solutions. The challenges discussed included the engagement of contributors, the targeting of specific audiences and the participation of users in online portals. Brainstorming sessions allowed certain out-of-the-box topics and project ideas to be explored. These focused on creating business strategies, linking portals and securing funding.
I offered the idea of a joint project designed to increase the quality of research being produced in developing countries. I was pleased to have an enthusiastic response and productive brainstorming session with fellow knowledge brokers. In the discussion, it was emphasised that producing quality research need not mean producing journal articles. A better approach might be to identify the purpose of the research and, therefore, the target audience and appropriate knowledge product, be it a brief, project report, journal article or book chapter. This and the other activities certainly provided food for thought and the potential of collaboration and idea sharing with some of the institutes represented.