If you haven’t already read the introductions to bottom-up and top-down project structures and communication problems we suggest you follow these links and do so now, this will give you a basic understanding on the driving forces behind communication problems.
Sharing knowledge, information and becoming a bridging organization
As your project is finalized and its solutions put in place, it provides an opportunity for another kind of communication; your project and project partners can become a source of information for others, and help bridge the gaps between different professional cultures.
COMMUNICATION CHALLENGE – Share knowledge, information, become a bridging organization
Having undergone your project process and applied communication solutions such as two-way communication and target-audience based communication, you will have achieved a more holistic overview of the perspectives, roles and skillset of your fellow project partners.
Your new knowledge places you and your project partners in a position to help others achieve a project with good communication processes as well.
There is a lack of sources of information that are readily accessible to farmers, solutions that are practically implementable and easily understandable. Sharing your knowledge and outcomes of your project provides a much needed bridge between professional cultures, providing relevant scientific information or legal information in a format easily understood by other farmers.
In this way your project, or you as an individual could fulfill a bridging role becoming a knowledge broker, communicator or mediator for other projects, or between different stakeholders.
Share your solutions, knowledge and information, help to educate others.
COMMUNICATION SOLUTIONS – How to communication of the solution
Becoming a bridging organization
This requires using all of the communication solutions provided, and soon these methods of healthy communication will become almost second nature.
Spread the word about your project:
Empowerment – Following a bottom-up project structure along with the communication solutions outlined in previous steps will have resulted in your empowerment, a process by which you, the practical implementer has taken a proactive role and actively identified a problem and developed a solution using your unique knowledge and skills. The continuation of your involvement in research, the policy making process, or community engagement is fundamental to the empowerment of farmers as a stakeholder group. Give farmers a voice in arenas where their knowledge is essential, but their role may be overlooked. (thesis chapter 4.4.9 pg 97-98, appendix pg 44)
Bridging Role Gaps- Having an individual or organisation with a diverse background work as a communicator and translator can bridge the gaps between different stakeholder groups, making communication smoother. This is of special importance with regards to communication with members of the scientific community and when sourcing scientific inforrmation. (4.4.3 pg 86-89, appendix pg 42)
Policy and legislation rectification – Upon establishing good communication with, and attaining the trust and respect of the local or regional policy-making and administration community, it is possible that you will naturally fall into the bridging role between them and the farming community. Ultimately this would result in your knowledge and opinion being taken into account when new policy or regulations are established, or old ones rectified. (thesis chapter 4.4.15 pg 113-115, appendix pg 45)
Positive press – Positive press is a powerful way of raising awareness for a project, solution or a new bridging organization. Be it television, newspaper articles or more subject-specific media such as farmers magazines, it is a way of raising general awareness of environmental problems, agri-environmental solutions, or for your specific project itself. It also provides those involved with the project with some sense of recognition for their efforts, which is important for motivation. (thesis chapter 4.4.7 pg 94-95 , appendix pg 43)
Networking – Forming connections between different organisations or individuals with mutual interests can initiate a relationship involving information and knowledge sharing, collaboration and mutual benefit. (4.4.11 pg 101-102, appendix pg 44)
Youth outreach – Young people are the key to the future, and sharing knowledge, both agri-environmental and communication solutions is important to ensure that the farmers of tomorrow have a good foundation, learn from our mistakes and can continue to develop environmentally and economically viable agriculture in the future. (thesis chapter 4.4.14 pg 113, appendix pg 45)
Education - In earlier steps this involved raising your own awareness, here it is important to help raise that same awareness in others; share the knowledge gained regarding how other stakeholder groups work, and educate others to dispell misconnceptions. Share the communication solutions, your own solutions to problems you may have faced and your in-depth knowledge regarding your agri-environmental project. (thesis chapter 4.4.6 pg 92-93, appendix pg 43)
Raising other stakeholder’s awareness of incentives though
Incentive awareness - In earlier steps this involved raising your own awareness of what kind of incentives, monetary or otherwise, exist that may benefit your project. Here it is important to help raise others awareness of the many subsidies and various other incentives provided by the regional or local government, these may not always well advertised, there may be opportunities available to take advantage of. This awareness can be attained through other solutions, such as networking, two-way communication and having a communicator or mediator individual bridging the gap between farmers and policy-makers and administrators. Incentive does not have to be governmentally provided, it may be the application of agricultural techniques which are both environmentally and economically beneficial. Depending on the stakeholder group in question, incentive may be entirely financial, purely environmental, or a combination of both. (4.4.13 pg 103-113, appendix pg 45)
Continued application of good communication practices:
Two-way communication- By making sure communication always allows for the participation of both or all parties, important feedback and valuable opinions will be heard, all perspectives should be valued. (thesis chapter 4.4.1. pg 83-84, appendix pg 41)
Target-audience based communication- Keep in mind who you are talking to, and adjust the way you convey your message accordingly. Different stakeholder groups have different interests and field of expertise. A message should be simple and concise when aimed at individuals who don’t share your background. (4.4.2. pg 85-86, appendix pg 41)
Trust building- Trust between partners is essential for the success of any project, it will ensure good relationships and is especially important when new roles have been assigned. Cultivating trust is a powerful way of vastly increasing your project’s chances of success (2.9.4 pg 19-20, 4.4.10 pg 98-99, appendix pg 44)
Collaboration and cooperation - Naturally, good collaboration of the participants in a project as well as their cooperation in order to reach the same goals is an important process. (2.9.7 pg 21- 23, 4.4.12 pg 102-103, appendix pg 44)
Giving recognition and credit- Providing recognition and credit to those stakeholders who have reached their goals and are an asset to the team of your project is a powerful way to ensuring continued enthusiasm and motivation. It is also a way of giving feedback and reassuring stakeholders that they are valued and an integral part of the project. (4.4.8. pg 95-97, appendix pg 44)
Role redefinition and reallocation- Bottom-up projects call for bottom-up roles for each stakeholder, suited to their expertise and maximizing the efficiency of the project. Discussions and reallocation of roles should occur early on in the project, and should include the participation of all stakeholders. (4.4.4 pg 89-91, appendix pg 42)