MRLG Information and Knowledge Platform
Feedback and Mobilisation Workshop
January 21-22, 2016

Day 2 - Notes

Objectives for the day:
  • Prioritization of Activities
  • Governance of the platform (commitments from partners)
  • Action Planning / Reflection

Highlights/ achievements from yesterday:
Fleshing out and understanding more of stakeholder’s information needs and preferences.
Clearer picture of voices of farmers through this platform.

Questions / Concerns Remaining:
Has anyone mapped Farmer’s Groups/ Associations as part of preparation for MRLG Knowledge Platform?
More engagement with relevant Ministers on land-related policies.
How can M-LIKE add to existing web portals? How can users help to shape the web portal? Sustainability of platform depends on local users so crucial to involve them and address their needs: Western design concepts could differ from SE Asian designs.
Still too broad. Many different actors – have very different needs, so may be difficult to build a platform to meet their needs.
Keeping platform simple while dealing with complexity of the issues.
Which group is going to do what for which? For example: who is going to use the web portal, and who is going to use each knowledge product?
→ idea to produce ‘core products’ targeting different groups.

Question from Land Portal: How do we make the portal useful to users and avoid duplicating, but instead complement and reinforcing existing system – by creating a portal you automatically enter into a competition as donors keep track of number of web visitors etc. How to avoid entering into this?

More local organisations and nationals should be represented in the process: especially including women. Ownership of users – widening how we engage local users/ interface with them to ensure sustainability and responsiveness of the platform.

What to achieve today?
Be clear of next steps – keep moving forward.
Trying to get these views and now narrow down from the huge mandate we were given.

Open Space “Share Fair”
  • Mekong Land Research Forum (Chiang Mai University)
  • Mekong Citizen (story-telling for Greater Mekong region)
  • Open Development Mekong (new upgraded platform)
  • One Map Myanmar (Lao Decide)
  • Land Matrix (Land Observatory)
  • Land Portal (global)

Idea to use these online maps/ platforms to incorporate into State of Land series. Could present and package data through this series.

Working Groups

1. Web Portal – focusing on content and features
2. Farmer’s Groups / Media
3. State of Land series

  1. Web Portal Content, Features and Design
  • the portal should focus on Good Practice briefs, knowledge brokering, digests, q&a section and sharing amongst MRLG partners: user generated
  • Prioritisation: phase one should target MRLG partners – sharing and formatting their own materials and tools to help resolve ‘solve’ issues. ‘Minimum Viable Product’ to begin with should rely on MRLG partners

Comments: seems like a lot of dialogue spaces already – maybe just make people aware of other dialogues already taking place. Possible to synchronize platforms? Collaboration with other platforms – facilitator has a role to bring together all contributions into the same thread.

SOL report should be on the web portal – and able to be updated regularly. Maybe this would encourage people to visit more regularly. Can also put good practices documentation from the farmer’s groups.
Give a brief of existing platforms: with links to others such as Mekong Citizen, Land Matrix, ODI etc.

Comment from CLICK: don’t think it’s realistic to expect that people will contribute their time. We know that crowd-sourcing often doesn’t work. Expecting that people will voluntarily update or share is unrealistic.

Concern about English and how to manage a multi-language facility: idea is to have national level communicators embedded within each country. But how to create an interface in each language.
Land Portal: facilitator has role of translating and summarizing.

Solutions aspect: would people voluntarily contribute? – confidentiality: may need to put some disclaimers on or share some parts of the case studies and not others
Legal and political climate in every country is different – you may be held responsible for what people say on your platform.

2. Farmers Groups

Need to see activities on a timeline: June 2016 indicative start date. Want to develop relationships with regional farmer networks (identify a partner that could help coordinate the different national farmer networks).

Information Needs: new ways of good practices of dealing with land issues - want to document and share. Suggest that instead of MRLG having contracts with individual country organisations, maybe MRLG can have a contract with AFA. Have a Regional Steering Committee meeting in Laos in June: use this opportunity to develop a joint proposal – in 3 months time come up with a good proposal and submit to M-LIKE. The proposal would focus on building capacity for farmer networks to document good practices on land issues.
Hope funds available December 2016. Then Documentation Activities could begin January 2017. Country activities would be defined by national farmer networks.

June 2017 would finalise documentation, then by end of 2017 could invite farmers for face to face ‘learning event’ maybe even have an award for those who have the most best practices. This sharing would be regional – so Laos can learn from Vietnam for example (recognising land tenure).
Study visits and exchanges into neighbouring countries. Producing study tour video or case studies would then be shared through different platforms - whether on M-LIKE web portal or other platforms. Outputs produced through partnership with farmers networks would be shared through meetings.

MRLG regional land forum: make sure farmers come to the table with other MRLG partners (perhaps integrate with awards ceremony).
Issue that often farmer networks are wealthier farmers so maybe don’t have too many land issues.

AFA comment: MRLG has a role to play to advise these farmer groups, drawing on past examples to highlight good cases. In Laos at least there are 5-6 good cases that could show to the government. In Myanmar could be interesting to show how communities got compensation for the railway project.
This helps develop the capacity of these organisations to represent their country and region, not just their constituents.

Question: I don’t see clearly the 2-way communication between farmers and rest of MRLG’s reform actors – how do we organize communication?
What are we talking about in terms of resource – are we creating high expectations – within the information platform budget that we have already, don’t think there would be enough funds for this – Innovation Fund call in March and selection in May - perhaps submit proposal to MRLG for QDF or IF.

MRLG: see it a good fit for IF rather than M-LIKE. Then we could work closely to develop an IF proposal for engaging farmers networks.

3. State of Land series

Who is the public: it is broad – farmer organisations, academia, private sector, CSOs?
Synopsis of land should involve some indicators (statistical) and identify some trends, and future projections and what is likely to happen.
Another area would be the thematic focus: State of Knowledge on one particular aspect of land in the region.
Agreed that we could have some sort of policy brief published before the 2 year period – this could be based on a focus discussion (mobilise a community of practitioners on one topic).
FAO confirmed they are very interested to be involved. But Global Witness perhaps not involve to ensure neutrality of the series and ensure acceptance by government.
MRLG cannot be the main one responsible (legally) – this has implications for publishing State of the Land, for reactions of government.
For example: FAO publishes State of Forests, stimulates a lot of discussion in Laos. So we need an institution that is strong enough to sustain this kind of discussion. Need to have a dedicated scientific editor (part-time) – need to identify who can do that.

1. Produce clear concept note on what is the product
2. Re-confirm the commitment of partners on what they contribute: who will post or contribute this content.
3. Having a meeting to launch the SOL series.

Could be a special section for SOL from the portal – idea is not to just re-post information from others but make into new products.

Idea: once we have published SOL perhaps we can also release statistics or case studies intermittently if it links to the SOL issue: the farmers’ documentation / studies could also be released along these lines.

Web Portal – Prioritising Activities
Important to influence key decision makers – the portal could be a good tool to give policy makers intelligence in order to influence policy, for example: policy briefs created from synthesized information.
  • policy makers might not come to the web portal directly, but these policy briefs could be created and then shared and used by decision makers (offline).
Need to think in phases, not designing a web portal all at once: need ‘lean’ portal and identify core aspects to invest resources.
Analytics of users is important for MRLG partners to see who is doing what, who is reading what content provided by who.
Question from SDC: Would private business use M-LIKE web portal?

Key Target Group: MRLG partners

Priority Functionality:
Phase 1: Linking to original source. Dialogue Space. Translated pages in CLMV.
Phase 2: Q&A area. Analytics for user profiles. News Digest.
Phase 3: Facebook sharing. Tags (searchable content). Youtube, Flickr.

Priority Content:
Phase 1: Toolkits, how-to guides, manuals. ‘2 Pager’ good practice.
Phase 2: News digest. Policy briefs. Resource links. Conversations on land.
Phase 3: key organisations. Success stories. Knowledge brokering.

Key concerns: security and anonymity. Responsibilities. Copyright and attribution. Production. Staffing and resources. Funding. Sustainability – keeping partners engaged. Monitoring whether it is useful. Standards (quality) – which metrics to use, how much content is generated by users and how much by MRLG partners or moderator. Multi-language support. Responsibilities – who is doing what. Institutionalization. National voices. Governance. Building an identity.
  • Any overlapping content with other platforms?
ODI: there is already a lot of aggregated, tagged news sources; maybe could just create an RSS feed and not try to aggregate it every day.
There’s already a lot of news digests (i.e.- LaoFAB) – but national level, not regionally. MPE does a regional weekly digest on water and land.

Working Groups: Commitments from Partners

Strategic Partners: (Advisory Committee)
Members of Group: CLICK, AFA, CDE, ODI, RCSD, Land Portal, Land Matrix Asia.
(This is quite dependent on the individuals, rather than the organisation).

Purpose: provide advice for synergy, efficiency, sustainability of the platform
Responsibilities: ensure coordination and linkages. Engage in design process. Facilitate national level activities. Represent specific constituency. Provide information and expertise – what technology to be used, making use of existing platforms. Feedbacks – is it efficient, is it reaching its objective. Ensure quality of content (and diversity).
Expectations: ensure platform is relevant. Linking – regional, national and global systems (State of Land co-production). Participation in dialogue – try to link with ASEAN level. Develop shared standards and tools.

Contributing Partners:
Members of Group: VFI (Laos), RECOFTC (Thailand and regional), LANDA (Vietnam), LMDP within GIZ (Laos), ILC (Asia regional).

Purpose: contribute to the mission of M-LIKE.
Responsibilities: To provide content, share experiences, provide feedback during development of M-LIKE, contribute knowledge, expertise and networks. Create a profile of our organisation on strengths and needs.
Expectations: capacity development of partners - receive training, write-shops, templates and support to produce quality materials (writing, case studies, infographics etc.).
Participate in offline knowledge exchange at a regional level.
Opportunity to give ongoing input into M-LIKE development.
M-LIKE would act as a knowledge broker to help partner and link with other organisations or donors.
Opportunities to receive sub-contracts from M-LIKE to provide services.

M-LIKE could curate or provide criteria for contributing to the web portal.
Compulsory versus Voluntary contributions – idea that you must upload certain products, but voluntary (outside of contracts). Maybe a function of M-LIKE could be to translate certain tools.

Action Planning

Concept note revised.
Lean Discovery
Budget and proposal.
Taxonomy & translation (ODI)

SOL profile writing.

Research forum workshop.
MRLG budget approval

World Bank Land Group Meeting

Institutional discussions (who takes the lead?)

Production of research forum info brief on customary land tenure

Online discussion on the land portal

Possible start designing web portal

LM new interface
LM Asia new pages
Initial Farmer proposal Workshop

MRLG Regional Land Forum

SOL Launch Meeting

Land pages published (ODI)

Joint proposal development workshop

Possible web portal launch
Land gov summer school (Chiang Mai Uni)

Entry of Thai-focused articles into repository
Draft farmer proposal

Finalize and submit proposal

Approval of proposal

M-LIKE Portal Meeting
Red = web portal activities
Blue = farmer’s group activities
Green = MRLG partner activities