ILRI 40 Comms plan

From ilri40 ilriwikis

ILRI @40 comms plan

Objectives These are the general objectives of the ILRI@40 celebrations:

  • Showcase major accomplishments of ILRI, its forerunners and its partners
  • Look forward to the livestock research challenges and opportunities we can expect in the coming 40 years
  • Connect with former staff, students and alumni and strengthen relationships with partners
  • Raise awareness about the important roles that livestock play in sustainable development globally

Specific comms objectives for the ILRI@40 celebrations entail:

  • (buzz) Raise awareness about ILRI@40 celebrations and inform everyone about activities;
  • (connect) Connect ILRI current and former staff, partners, donors and event participants around relevant livestock-related conversations and activities during and beyond the celebrations;
  • (amplify) Stimulate engagement, knowledge sharing and learning across platforms;
  • (reflect) Document and assess results to inform ILRI strategy and activities, generally and on comms in particular


Each activity could target any of the following groups:

  • Current and former staff and graduate fellows and board members
  • Current and former partners
  • Current and former donors
  • Participants at ILRI@40 events
  • Followers of ILRI’s social media accounts
  • Staff of hosted institutions
  • The “online public” interested in livestock research for development and related themes

And so each event should specify which of these key audiences are targeted by the events. Likewise for non-event-based activities.

Principles of action

All comms folks should try and follow these guidelines:

  • ILRI@40 activities involve everyone in comms and their success is everyone's responsibility, not just people who have formal responsibilities for parts of it. We are ambassadors and whatever channels we use, we should buzz, connect, amplify and reflect
  • ILRI@40 activities are made of a series of events and conversations happening throughout, even side events. It is the combination of this ongoing online social networking and face-to-face events that we hope to stimulate as well as possible;
  • For large events we develop a dedicated comms plan ( done for the Nairobi event and in progress for Addis event) - but even for small events we need a quick checklist of main activities per event, drawing from Tropentag lessons. who does what, when...
  • We exploit specific opportunities for each event and don't approach every event in the same way (e.g. stronger media presence in Borlaug event, stronger emphasis on possible launch events in Addis);
  • We focus on substance rather than on reach, i.e. more blog posts and engagement in actual (e.g. LinkedIn) conversations than simply Tweets and Yammer posts;
  • We post blogposts across all blog channels, depending on focus and potential audiences. The ILRI website and Rebelmouse help us aggregate;
  • We work as one team and keep each other posted on the ILRI Comms Yammer group at all times, but for interactions with the wider group (colleagues and ex-colleagues, partners etc.) we use the ILRI LinkedIn group.
  • We want to understand how well we have managed to achieve the objectives set out for the whole campaign. So we will monitor our efforts and focus particularly on the two questions that will be systematically thrown to participants of our anniversary events:
    1. Looking to 2054, what are THE two most critical livestock-related challenges we must answer through research?
    2. What is THE most promising ‘best bet’ opportunity we should invest in to achieve better lives though livestock in 2054?
  • We use the #ILRI40 hashtag throughout the events and across the platforms (that accommodate tags).

Channels and platforms (and who's in charge)

We will make use of the following channels in general (and the persons responsible are mentioned in brackets - at this stage these are just suggestions). For the main Nairobi event, Tezira Lore is the person keeping the supervision of ILRI comms activities. For the main Addis event, Peter Ballantyne is the person keeping the supervision of ILRI comms activities.

ILRI@40 web pages (Peter Ballantyne)

ilri 40 web pages [it also aggregates our own blogposts]. should be primary reference point for events from other channels.

ILRI@40 wiki (Peter Ballantyne)

This wiki is used for coordination purposes. This specific page on the comms plan should be reviewed and updated along the way, as we make progress with the anniversary activities.

LinkedIn group (Tigist Endashaw / Ewen Le Borgne)

This is the main space for connecting, engaging, sharing throughout ILRI@40 celebrations, with the possible exception of the Nairobi event on 1 October. See detailed guidelines about using this LinkedIn group. The bottom line for all involved is to:

  • Join LinkedIn;
  • Connect with current colleagues and former staff and alumni and encourage more people to join this platform;
  • Cross-link all posts on the blogs and websites on this group - and start off conversations around the substance discussed at those events;
  • Promote and stimulate cooperation and joint activities to go beyond sharing information and discussing ideas;

Beyond the ILRI@40 events, this group will be used for interactions between current and former staff and alumni. This group will connect strongly with the ILRI news blog as the main platform of disseminating information about ILRI@40 events and activities. It will also be a place to collect links to all photos, videos etc. coming from events and activities.

ILRI news blog (Paul Karaimu / Susan MacMillan)

This will be the primary communication channel for announcing and reporting the events, as well as the blogs of the concerned programs (e.g. LSE blog for the LSE session in Addis). But the overview will happen on the ILRI News Blog. Blog posts will be tagged ‘ilri40’. This blog will function very closely with the LinkedIn group.

Email (Jimmy Smith)

Strategic emails will be used to encourage specific people (particularly staff) to take action;

  • Jimmy Smith will occasionally send an email or video message via the Announcements Blog to all staff informing them about what is happening around ILRI@40 and how they can get involved.
  • An email from ILRI management to staff, graduate fellows, staff of hosted institutes and campus users will inform people about specific events and invite them to attend these (using the master mailing list Ben Hack and Nadine Sanginga have developed for ILRI@40 and beyond).

Twitter (Tsehay Gashaw / Susan MacMillan)

Twitter will be used as an additional channel for online audiences to engage with us 'live' from the events and to pump out any information related to ILRI@40. Tweets from @ILRI will inform people how to follow specific events virtually, linking to the events' web page and/or livestream URL. We will encourage people to live-tweet the event. Tweets will be hashtagged #ilri40, curated on RebelMouse and monitored later on.

Yammer (Ewen Le Borgne)

Yammer will be used to engage specifically with staff, as an additional announcement and reporting channel, as well as for 'live' interactions for those who favour this medium.

  • A Yammer post to ‘All Company’ will inform CGIAR colleagues about the event and how they can follow virtually;
  • We will encourage ILRI Comms colleagues to live-yammer the event;
  • Yammer posts will be hashtagged #ilri40.

Photo (Liya Dejene)

Photos of events and activities will be tagged ‘ilri40’ and saved in a designated album on the ILRI FlickR account. Photo sets etc. will be shared on the LinkedIn group related to the event. Interesting photos will be curated on Rebelmouse.

Video (Paul Karaimu / Apollo Habtamu)

Short filmed interviews may be used to capture perspectives of the speakers, panelists, participants at the various ILRI@40 events. The videos will be posted on the ILRI YouTube account with the tag 'ilri40'.

Rebelmouse (Ben Hack / Liya Dejene)

Rebelmouse is used as a curation tool for all anniversary activities. We will collect a board with all the good inputs collected, so as to have a visual impression of "the buzz created" around anniversary activities, and to show to the ILRI management and board.

Other channels/platforms

  • The ILRI Announcements blog will be used for postings related to informing staff about what is happening around ILRI@40 and how they can get involved.
  • Slideshare will be used to collect all presentations of all events and the presentations will be linked onto the LinkedIn group to stimulate conversations.


The following events and online activities are planned: Three main events:

And various side events:

As well as some other events with ILRI participation.

See the full list of events.

Various conversations will happen online in relation with these events, first and foremost on the ILRI LinkedIn group but also on other channels, as specified in comms plans for these events:

Documenting and monitoring ILRI@40 work

We will make sure to document the process of and progress with events and activities throughout the anniversary campaign - both to keep track of what happened and to look back at what came out and the results of interactions.

  • Our primary online documentation and curation tool will be RebelMouse, run by Liya Dejene with backstopping from Ben Hack. In addition we may use the Maarifa blog to document the process and keep lessons learned.
  • Offline, we will use the same standard two questions asked to staff to collect information about participants' feedback.
  • After the events, we may use a survey sent to all the people we have been engaging with throughout the anniversary events, to find out what they thought and what it means in terms of possible changes brought through the anniversary events and activities.
  • As a comms team we will also organize an after-action review to look back at our comms support and at the results registered - also in order to prepare a final output introducing the sum of all efforts put into this campaign, to be shared with ILRI management and Board.

Ben Hack and Ewen Le Borgne will look into baseline indicators and will keep track of efforts to monitor online and offline interactions around these activities. The baseline may be based on the TropenTag event.

Baseline indicators

Action plan - what to do next?

Here are the next immediate action points pending:

  • PB, SMM and all: Review, edit and implement this plan
  • ELB: go over social media baseline and prepare monitoring plans.
  • SMM to draft request for Jimmy to send out to join the LinkedIn Group
  • PB, ELB, SMM and Addis team to develop dedicated comms plan for Addis Ababa
  • ?? to develop dedicated small comms action plan for each of the events (Borlaug event etc.)
  • Paul K to develop an updated poster template for Nairobi / Addis.
  • ELB and E&C team to keep ILRI Comms team up-to-date on ILRI@40 events on ILRI Comms Yammer.

Appendix: Checklist - how can you contribute to ILRI@40?

(We hope this becomes part of a message from Jimmy Smith to all staff).

There are various ways you can engage with and contribute to the ILRI@40 events:

  • You can register your interests in ILRI@40 activities
  • You can follow all news regarding ILRI@40 activities on [| the ILRI website] and on our [| Social Media dashboard]
  • You can join our ILRI LinkedIn group where you can:

Connect with current colleagues and former staff and alumni and encourage more people to join this platform; Cross-link all posts on the blogs and websites on this group - and start off conversations around the substance discussed at those events; Promote and stimulate cooperation and joint activities to go beyond sharing information and discussing ideas;

  • You can write blog posts and opinion pieces about the ILRI events and activities and share them with us;
  • You can help tweet and retweet, yammer, email or share face-to-face all kinds of information coming out of these events;
  • You can share any other idea about this with us, we'd love to hear them!

We hope to see you at or around the ILRI@40 events very soon!