SEA environmental economists get trained to communicate more effectively with policymakers in the region


August – September 2021

A series of online Science Communication Workshops was held last August 4 to September 14, 2021. The said training was conducted to achieve one of the goals of Economy and Environment Partnership for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA) in developing the capacity of researchers to effectively communicate with policymakers in the region. EEPSEA partnered with Econnect Communication, an established science communication agency based in Brisbane, Australia. The training consisted of five interconnected modules as follows: 1) Planning Communication, 2) Pitching, 3) Writing a Policy Brief, 4) Presenting, and 5) Using Media and Social Media. The training was attended by a total of 25 participants from six different countries namely: Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Vietnam.

The facilitators of the training-workshop, Dr. Toss Gascoigne (left) and Dr. Jenni Metcalf (right) conducting the sessions together

Prior to the training, an online survey was initially administered to potential participants to determine their training needs which led to the efficient implementation of the activity. The survey also assisted in tailoring the workshop modules accordingly and indicated the likely demand for each type of module. Due to the current pandemic situation that limited face-to-face interactions, the Zoom video conferencing platform was used in running and managing the workshops. Except for occasional issues of weak internet connections, the meetings were facilitated well.

Dr. Pham Khanh Nam, EEPSEA Direct, delivered the welcome remarks.

The participants highlighted their high interactivity with the resource persons/facilitators in the training evaluation. The high interactivity was attributed to the use of polls in each workshop and the participants’ ability to contribute their inputs through verbal and written form via Zoom’s chat function. They were not only engaged in learning from the resource persons but also from the ideas and experiences of other participants as well. Feedback from both the facilitators and fellow participants contributed to the improvement of everyone’s output.

Participants of the Science Communication Training-Workshop

Dr. Gem Castillo (bottom right) and Dr. Awang Noor Abd. Ghani (upper right) and Dr. Noor Syaifuddin (Ministry of Finance indonesia) during the Pitching to policymakers session

One of the highlights of the training was the evaluation of actual policy makers in one of the workshops as each participant were tasked to make a one-minute individual pitch about their research. It was an intense but also an enriching experience for everyone.