Project Comms

Project Communications working with CCAC and the University of Galway on policy recommendations

MKO’s dedicated Project Communications team has recently been involved in a project with Dr Eugene Farrell, of the Department of Geography at the University of Galway, and the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC).

The project aims to develop community-informed policy recommendations to build climate change resilience among coastal communities around Ireland. The policy recommendations which emerge from the project will be brought to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for further consideration.

MKO’s role in the project has been to support and facilitate the research process. This process had two primary elements: a detailed survey issued to over 30 different coastal community groups around the country, and an in-person workshop event designed to encourage discussion and collaboration between representatives of the different groups.

Our Project Communications team worked closely with Dr Farrell to design an extensive survey for distribution to the relevant coastal community groups. The survey asked specific questions about the factors that motivated these groups to form initially, if and why their motivations have changed over time, and what obstacles they faced in going about their work effectively.

Our Project Communications team collaborated with our dedicated Geographic Information System (GIS) team to design an interactive mapping tool to accompany the survey, into which respondents were encouraged to input the precise location and details of their various group activities. Over time the interactive map became populated with a detailed and highly instructive data set showing the breadth and diversity of the coastal protection efforts being undertaken by community groups all around the Irish seaboard.

Once the online surveys had been completed and collated, MKO offered its support in organising the in-person workshop event, which was fixed for a hotel in Galway City in early March. The event was well-attended, with 20 representatives from 11 different coastal community groups able to attend in person, along with representatives of the CCAC and students from the University of Galway. A member of Project Comms also attended on the day.

The workshop was split into two sessions – a morning session comprising presentations and an afternoon session in which small breakout groups were invited to have their own discussions. The presentations included a breakdown of some initial survey results from Dr Farrell, an insight into the work of the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) from Ruairí Ó Conchúir, and a fascinating case study delivered by Martha Farrell about the measures her community has taken to preserve and protect sand dunes and wider coastal environments in the Maharees in Co Kerry.

The breakout groups were then asked to collaborate amongst themselves and were posed with some key questions: what are the main obstacles faced by their groups; is there a need for a national forum to link and provide national guidance for coastal community groups; if so, who should manage this forum, and how might it be financed?

The perspectives and shared experiences provided by the representatives of the coastal communities – who were incredibly generous not only with their time but with their insights – will form the foundations of the policy recommendations in the final report on the project, which will be submitted to the EPA in the coming months.

Our Project Communications team has been delighted to play a role in this project, which has at its heart the acknowledgement that practical and meaningful public policy must be driven by the people and communities with lived experience of the circumstances in question.

If you believe that professional public consultation and community engagement activities can benefit a project in which you are involved, please feel encouraged to reach out to MKO Project Communications to learn more about our service offering.

Project Communications service offering


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