February 15, 2017

The meaning of an African landscapes dialogue

Louis WertzEcoAgriculture Partners

When you bring landscape leaders together, they inspire each other to make big change.

That’s what the upcoming African Landscapes Dialogue in Addis Ababa, March 6-9th is all about: gathering the leaders of agricultural, conservation and rural development projects and programs from around the Horn of Africa together and giving them the platform and the microphone, and letting them learn from each other.

Having an African Landscapes Dialogue means subverting the typical dynamic of “expert” speakers (selected by the organizers) lecturing to “attendees,” and instead focusing on putting the participants at the center of an enlightening and inspiring conversation.

Dialogue means two-way street

To transform landscape management in Africa, or behavior anywhere, research shows that far more than new skills or techniques are needed: attitude shifts and perceived social support are required. The best way to accomplish these transformations is in an environment where leaders can share their challenges and success stories openly. In this type of environment, not only are skills and techniques shared (the classic “I’ll email you that manual/report” conversation closer), but participants receive vital affirmation from their peers (“I’m going through that too! Here’s how we deal with it…”).

Delivering the latest in best practice, without preaching

Surfacing and sharing the latest in successful innovations in landscape management, from farm and protected area to policy and business, is what EcoAgriculture Partners is all about. So, together with our co-organizing partners under the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative umbrella, we’ve set up the program of the African Landscapes Dialogue to prompt the kind of sharing that leads to these discoveries.

Highlighting this approach, nearly every one of the approximately 100 attendees will present some aspect of their work during the agenda, whether through invited short presentations during group breakout sessions, during a tool sharing sessions, at our nightly poster share fair, or through participation in plenary panels. Having an African Landscapes Dialogue means subverting the typical dynamic of “expert” speakers (selected by the organizers) lecturing to “attendees,” and instead focusing on putting the participants at the center of an enlightening and inspiring conversation.

Share with participants in the Dialogue. Add your voice by sharing using the hashtag #LandscapesDialogue.

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Partners

EcoAgriculture Partners, Horn of African Regional Environment Centre & Network; Water and Land Resources Center; World Resources Institute; Solidaridad Network; African Model Forests Network; and TerrAfrica/NEPAD.

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