The Expert Group kick-started with the inception meeting on the 12th of June 2014 and set the timeline for the future activities. The ways to increase public awareness about land restoration were the main focus of this meeting.
Together with the Triple-L Initiative the Expert Group will be organizing a workshop and participate in the organizational meetings in Kenya in late November. Triple-L or “Land, Livestock and Livelihood Dynamics in drylands in West Pokot, Kenya” is a research initiative and a knowledge exchange platform. It is one of the SLU projects and is a major partner of the Restoration of Rural Landscapes Expert Group.
On the 18th to 21st of November 2014, the Expert Group is co-organizing the policy interaction part of the Triple-L workshop in Kitale, Kenya. On the 20th of November the Expert Group participants are meeting with policy makers and administrators from West Pokot for the introduction and discussion of the future activities.
Additionally, on the 21st of November the experts from this group will meet general public, NGOs and policy makers in Chepareria (semi-arid agro-pastoral community in West Pokot). It will also be an introductory meeting with discussion on budgeting, funding and staff.
The plans of the group also include organization of a workshop in Sweden as well as production of an academic article and a policy brief.
However, these were not the most discussed points of the meeting. What puzzles the members of the expert group is how to reach out further than the traditional academic and policy oriented actors? How to reach the general public with the message that Sweden has a lot to contribute both knowledge-, experience- and practice-wise when it comes to Restoration of Degraded Lands?
It was concluded that the communication strategy of the Expert Group would aim for a wider audience outreach, particularly to the groups that are traditionally not well connected neither to academia nor to policy makers, e.g. immigrants from countries where degradation is a problem, youth organizations, NGO’s, schools etc. Additionally, the Expert Group decided that, in order to increase the public awareness about the land degradation, academia has to look into unconventional means of communication.