FANRPAN, as one of the foremost think tanks on agricultural and food security policy in Africa, pursues leading edge thinking and approaches to food and nutrition security communication and engagement with partners, intermediary institutions and agencies, and smallholder farmers. In doing so it has to be very clear on who its partners are, what their needs are, and what processes need to be engaged in to ensure its messages are received and understood along the communication chain.
FANRPAN has both recognized and engaged with the lessons – for policy and practice – that have come from the experiences. Social learning principles, and critically practices, need to imbue most learning processes in development. And that learning has to extend to all those in the development community – from those who occupy high level public policy or private sector positions through to those working smallholdings.
In what are often complex and politically charged policy environments in Africa, mere case-making through passive analysis and presentation of evidence is mostly insufficient to even get important policy “prime mover issues” on the table or agenda at higher levels. This is why FANRPAN has recognized and given strong and recurring impetus to active regional and in-country platforms for dialogue and advocacy to take forward given policy messages, equip and fortify messengers with communication tools, and create space for voices in ways that they stand a much better chance of being listened to and gaining footholds and support for desired change.
FANRPAN’s programme approach focuses on three key impact areas for nodes and partners. Nodes comprise the message, the messenger and platforms. The message comprises the particular policy evidence that is generated and shared with key national stakeholders. The messenger is the local person in the node who facilitates the sharing or conveying of the policy message to local decision-makers. Platforms are a key cornerstone for stakeholder convening, exchange and learning.