Five reasons why you’ll regret missing out on IIED’s Communications Learning Week

Guest blog by
26 June 2015

Guest blogger Aniessa Delima Sari shares her top five reasons for taking part in a knowledge exchange hosted by IIED.

Participants in IIED's 2015 Communications Learning Week provide feedback on their experiences (Photo: Matt Wright/IIED)

Thank goodness, I didn't miss IIED's Comms Learning Week. 

I got information about this event from one of the institute's researchers, Diane Archer, and I saw this as a good opportunity to improve my work both for the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience (ACCCRN) programme that I work on, and for my organisation, Mercy Corps Indonesia, to help them communicate more effectively.

So I attended the four-day programme in London. I want to let you know why I'm glad I did.

1. No boring sessions

Count how much training you've ever attended that didn't make you yawn, I bet there's not been that much. I found it great that the way the training was delivered kept me awake.

From normal presenting (which surprisingly was very easy to digest and very well-designed), video calls with the use of technological magic, to the amazing mixed presentation/video from David Sankar. Now, I can't stop dreaming about that video! Trust me, it will stick in your head for days! 

2. Knowing the secrets of doing more with less

As a person who's working for programmes, I always feel overwhelmed by the extensive work needed to communicate our programmes to our beneficiaries. I collaborate with the communications team in our organisation, but still have a hard time figuring out what works and what doesn't.

More good news. The learning week actually provided me with a lot of tools, templates, and numerous options for communications work, with tips and tricks for using them. Now it will be easier to harness our communications strategy and allocate effective resources instead of trying out everything wildly.

The programme showed why you really need to invest in communications to have more impact. And it is really worth it.

3. Inspirational practices from real experts

It was amazing to see the diversity of the participants' backgrounds. And they brought their expertise from different backgrounds and from real examples of work.

There was Francis from Uganda, who's working to promote decision-making among farmers. Their team has created a local radio show using stories that inspires farmers to take more decisions in choosing their local leaders.

Michael from the UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative shared great examples of having celebrity endorsement for a "Body Burden" public campaign to promote awareness of dangerous chemical substances that stay in our body. Not to mention the three IIED researchers, each sharing unique stories about how to approach policy people in different parts of the world.

4. New learning, every day

Think you know it all? Even if I am familiar with some topics, there's always new information to cover each day and new insights into how to do something differently. From tips and tricks to get rid of lengthy, boring text, getting familiar and choosing the easy wording options, to putting yourself in front of a camera to send out impactful message to your audience. 

5. The extras

At the end of the day, it's not just all about the training. The people are so much fun!

The nice dinner together with the communications team and the participants, great food and must-see recommendations for London, and the informal side-track chit-chat about everything is something that I totally appreciated for the week. 

  • Read a summary of IIED's social media coverage of the four-day Comms Learning Week sessions on our Storify site

Aniessa Delima Sari (asari@id.mercycorps.org) is Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) programme manager at Mercy Corps Indonesia.

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