Training Programme on Water Speaks: Effective communication for advocacy, influence and impact

Date: July 09-12 , 2019
Venue: AAETI, Nimli, Rajasthan

The School of Water and Waste organised a joint training with the Environment Resource Unit, and Down to Earth on effective communication of water and sanitation data for policy advocacy and decision-making. Titled 'Water Speaks: Effective communicationfor advocacy, influence, and impact', the training took place at AAETI, Nimli, Rajasthan from 09-12 July, 2019. 

The training aimed at enabling participants to transform available water and sanitation data into stories which can influence advocacy and societal transformation. The week long capacity building programme was a mix of interactive classroom sessions, hands-on exercises, and group activities like creating effective short videos using smartphones. Key take-aways / learning outcomes focused on finding relevant data for your message / story, different platforms for communicating data, visualization tools and techniques, social media engagement and outreach. 

Our interactive cohort comprised of 24 individuals from diverse demographic and professional backgrounds. These included government workers (from NMCG, SUDA Jharkhand, SBM UP, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation), NGOs (like Tarun Bharat Sangh, Development Alternatives, Dasra, Sehgal Foundation), academia (IISc, Jamia Milia Islamia), journalists (CNN News 18, Hindustan Times), and industry (Ambuja Cement Foundation). 

Day 1 kickstarted with welcoming rains and Dr. Rohilla introducing CSE and AAETI to the participants, followed by his presentation on challenges and opportunities around water. Richard Mahapatra took this conversation forward by asking participants questions on data and data sourcing, why or how something becomes a story or doesn't, and communication as a two-way street: being created by the author and the audience. Rajit Sengupta then discussed how to conceptualise a story and contextualise data along with sharing some smart online search tips. Kiran Pandey wrapped up the day with the importance of open source data, and finding relevant content for research and advocacy. Participants were given project work on which they built up through-out the training, incorporating learnings from each day. 

Day 2 began with Dr DD Basu introducing participants to statistics and how to turn numbers into information, followed by a full-day hands-on practice of Excel for data cleaning, presentation, and management as well as an introduction to Power BI for data visualisation.

The later days of the training leaned towards the visual telling of narratives and impactful use and employment of social media to get your message across. On day 3, our participants were joined by Prof. Vinay Shanker, Anshul Ojha, and Kishore Bhargava. Prof. Shanker has been working as a Media Professional since 1995. Currently he is with the University School of Mass Communication, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU), New Delhi. Mr. Ojha is the South Asia Coordinator, Television for Education, UK. With over 30 years of experience between them, the two discussed fundamentals of framing photographs and videos using mobiles with our cohort. 

Mr. Bhargava is a technology consultant with over 35 years of experience in communications. He engaged our participants in an interactive activity with the blogging site Wordpress. Participants were introduced to the nuts and bolts of blogging, and how to use data analytics to increase our engagement with the audience.  

The final day began with Joyjeet Das discussing social media communication with the participants. This was followed by a session with Souparno Banerjee, on engaging with the media and writing effective press releases.

The training wrapped up with the presentation and feedback of the project work our participants had been involved in through-out the week, and felicitation. 



List of Participants
Water Speaks: Feedbacks
I can directly use skills in conceptualising communication content, mobile videography and excel. The over-all training programme was excellent. I would recommend this training to the communications team at our organisation, and the team that builds capacities of rural communities through modules.

Parul Goel, Deputy Manager, Development Alternatives

I can now apply the skills of using Excel and social media communication. We had a wonderful learning experience with this workshop, looking forward to connect with CSE again. Thank you.

Shailendra Singh, Project Executive, Ambuja Cement Foundation

The overall training structure, methodology, and quality of materials were excellent. It was a mix of everything. Nice food, nice hospitality,nice campus and facilities.Please keep it going! I would recommend e-learning and mail alerts as follow-up activities.

Arvind Thakkar and Kamal Kishor, Chief Sanitary Inspectors, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation

My key objective was to learn about communication and advocacy. Special thanks to the CSE team for this training. They really worked hard and kept us engaged.

Dr Seema Singh, IEC Expert, Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), Uttar Pradesh

My key objective was to learn more on social media communication. Through the training, I can contextualise social media content better.

Abhay Isaac, Social Media Executive, National Mission for Clean Ganga