TNQ Hub capacity building forum reinforces the importance of learning, collaboration with new connections

The TNQ Hub recently held a capacity building forum for team members, Program Leads, Adoption Officers and Drought Resilience Coordinators (DRC). The two-day event held in late November saw over 30 participants learn from climate, extension and health industry experts. Success of the forum was built off engaging in facilitated collaborative discussions to understand the required next steps for implementing Program activities. The forum strengthened existing relationships, formed new ones and highlighted the synergies between the activities underway and planned.

The forum has already created opportunities with further linkages between Reef Catchments and the Transformational Agriculture Systems Program, a NQ Dry Tropics led Future Drought Fund grant, engagement requests to discuss the impacts of drought on mental health and a planned future workshop between the different climate program presenters to ensure land managers and industry are getting the information required to make future focused business decisions.

Director David Phelps discussed with the group his aims for the forum which was not just to build, develop and enhance effective collaboration but to also ensure “we feel like and are connected as one team that’s across multiple organizations and have a shared knowledge of the activities, programs and workstreams so we can reach out and talk to each other.”

The Program Leads, DRC and Adoption Officers shared their drought resilience activities with the team members to build their knowledge and understanding of everyone’s activities, roles and projects and to open up opportunities to work together.  

 Having just joined the hub, the forum was a fantastic opportunity to meet everyone involved and establish linkages. I really enjoyed the group facilitation training – it was great to learn new methods to foster dialogue and collaboration. I’m looking forward to working with the team over the coming months to identify key challenges and opportunities related to knowledge and technology adoption in the region and using those findings to develop and implement relevant strategies.”  Carrie-Ann Wilson, Knowledge Adoption Officer.

A significant part of the forum was the extension, co-design and facilitation activities with Enablers of Change Director, John James. Starting with several activities which encouraged the group to learn more about each other with the purpose of building connections, John led the group through the process of facilitating high impact events that would result in attendees taking action post event. This included idea generating, pre and post event planning and activities and recognizing adult learning styles.

This was a key learning experience for the group as workshops, fieldtrips, paddock walks, conferences and other extension events are an important part of the Program Leads and DRC activities. The Cape York Node DRC, Harry James said John “provided a lot of useful tips for running impactful workshops. I’ll definitely be trying to apply some of those methods during our workshops in 2023”.

Using the tools and activities discussed during the forum from Enablers of Change, Agricultural Innovation Program Designer, Justin Whittle led the group through several discussion and idea generating activities. These included having breakout sessions with a Program Lead and DRC in each group discussing regional priorities and how their activities meet these priorities and how different team members can add extra value.

A presentation on Mental Health from the Royal Flying Doctors reinforced the importance of mental health conversations to build drought resilience in communities and presentations from ‘The Long Paddock’, ‘Climate Services for Agriculture’ and ‘Northern Australia Climate Program Climate Mates’ provided a learning opportunity for team members to see what climate programs and tools are available for land managers and industry.

As a result of the positive feedback, Building Human Capacity Program Lead Jane Oorschot will be organizing another forum in six months to continue building the teams awareness and knowledge of available drought resilience tools and resources.