CASCAPE Data Analysis and Synthesis Workshop: Changing Data into Information and Wisdom

Contributed by: Selome Kebede, BENEFIT Senior Communication Officer

BENEFIT-CASCAPE held a Data Analysis and Synthesis Workshop on April 16-19/2018, at South Star International Hotel in Hawassa. The four-day workshop was attended by twenty national and cluster staff members and focused on reviewing three sets of data collected in CASCAPE phase I and II. The training was the first of three trainings planned for 2018-2019 with the aim of turning data into information and information into wisdom. It was facilitated by Hanneke Heesmans from WUR and Peter Okoth, a consultant and soil science expert from Kenya with overall leadership of Eyasu and Eric as programe managers.

The first day of the workshop was dedicated to better understanding what good data vs just data means, steps to move from data to information, unblackboxing fieldwork data into output, outcome and impact level,  effective communication from data and using proper analytical tools and sharp eyes to analyze, synthesize, and communicate. Presentations were given by the facilitator and the consultant, Prof. Eric Smaling, CASCAPE Coordinator from WUR, NMPU (National Management Program Unit) and Cluster Managers. The participants learned steps towards assessing data quality, cross fertilization, and how to interpret and transfer data collected into a story that helps to gain insight.

The main data sets selected for the workshop were Drivers for Adoption (D4A), MonQIt and Fertilizer experiments (agronomic data). Enough time was allocated to identify gaps in existing data and reach an agreement on way forward until the second workshop planned for mid-October.

D4A data collection started in 2011 upon a special request from the MoANR to better understand drivers and inhibitors of adoption of crop technologies and fertilizers. Crops and technologies considered, the results, summary of conclusions and implications were presented and how to use the data and conclusions further reached was discussed.

The MonQIt data session presentation and discussion focused on how to relate MonQIt data with D4A or Vis versa.  Many examples were provided on how to ask the right question and use graphs to see if there is correlation, consistency, variations and exceptions and dig further to address key issues. During the group work, the participants exercised on how to use MonQIt to generate results that can inform our strategies and identify actionable outputs and agreed to conduct MonQIT data cleaning and correlation with D4A data in the coming months.

Prof. Eric Smaling, CASCAPE Coordinator from WUR and Dr. Eyasu Elias, CASCAPE Manager in Ethiopia     closed the workshop by appreciating the level of participation, energy and enthusiasm shown by the participants, and the guidance from the facilitator and consultant. They encouraged everyone to use the credibility achieved so far to dig into our data and identify low lying fruits that can be summarized and communicated to the extent where each audience is served appropriately. They noted this is the first in a series of training towards changing data into information to wisdom.

Overall the workshop was a big success in shifting the mindset of CASCAPE staffs from action oriented effort to pragmatic and systematic engagement that showcase CASCAPE interventions, maximize exposure and to contribute to the development and food security of the country.

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