Author Archives: Michael Hoevel

Livestock Global Alliance

The Challenge: The livestock sector plays an essential but often overlooked role in global development. The meat, milk and eggs that livestock provide can contribute to people’s nutrition and health, and the sector is an engine of inclusive economic growth. So how can livestock be managed more sustainably, safely and productively to achieve these goals, while using precious land and water resources more efficiently and keeping the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions to a minimum?

Our Approach: The Livestock Global Alliance was formed to encourage and inform livestock-related policy dialogue, investments and analytical work and is a joint initiative of the World Bank, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the three United Nations agricultural agencies based in Rome. Ahead of their global launch, they approached Marchmont to help them develop a suite of communications materials which would position themselves as thought leaders and advocates. Our main insight for the work was that livestock storytelling is actually about humans as much as it’s about animals. This led to our tagline “Sustainable Livestock, Sustainable Lives”. We then developed a set of key messages and supporting evidence, an animated video, GIFs, an infographic, a PowerPoint template and a corporate video featuring the main LGA spokespeople.

Outcomes: To bring these materials to life, Marchmont developed custom illustrations which were used throughout the materials we developed – adding visual energy and consistency. We successfully managed a geographically dispersed group of clients and delivered all of the materials under a tight deadline.

Farming First

The Challenge: Many of the solutions for global agriculture are well known and simply need to reach policymakers, donors and especially farmers. Other big questions require consensus to be built and evidence gathered. How can a science-based, farmer-centric approach to farming take root, providing trusted information and views in an engaging and shareable way?

Our Approach: Farming First is a global agricultural coalition with 180 supporter organisations and established in 2009. Marchmont provides the day-to-day support managing the coalition’s communications and outreach (e.g. website, blog, Twitter etc) as well as producing regular campaigns around key policy themes, from sustainable agriculture and climate change to women in agriculture and the sector’s key role in the post-2015 development agenda. Some examples include: interactive illustrated infographics, animated GIFs, case studies, newsletters, policy toolkits, motion graphic and reportage-style videos, brochures and flyers as well as regular media outreach to top-tier global media.

Outcomes: Farming First has become a leading voice in advocating agriculture’s role in sustainable development.  Farming First has brokered partnerships with the United Nations, Chatham House, the International Food Policy Research Institute, the Economist and the World Food Prize among others.  Its campaigns and content have received multiple awards including from the Gates Foundation and Digital Communication Awards.

Agriculture for Impact

A4I websiteThe Challenge: About 80% of African farmers work on small plots which perform at only a fraction of their potential. Yet African agriculture holds vast potential to feed the continent’s growing population and fuel its economy – if given the right support.

Our Approach: Agriculture for Impact, under the leadership of Professor Sir Gordon Conway, is an independent advocacy initiative based at Imperial College London that aims to enable better European government support for productive, sustainable, equitable and resilient agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing in particular on the needs of smallholder farmers.

Outcomes: The Marchmont team has worked with Agriculture for Impact to develop and execute a communications strategy including planning and messaging workshops; research and writing; grant-writing support; and a complete redesign of their visual identity, including a new website and online database. We have also helped them secure hundreds of pieces of top-tier media coverage for their report launches, which have informed policymaking in the UN, European Commission, France and the UK, as well as the African Union over the years.

University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

The Challenge: CISL had a groundbreaking report on its hands that outlined a practical pathway to building effective insurance schemes for those vulnerable to climate risk. The authors wanted to ensure it had a tangible policy impact – specifically at the Third Financing for Development Conference (FFD3) in Addis Ababa in July 2015.

Our Approach: We supported CISL in writing a policy brief that summarised the report’s key findings, which we recommended releasing at the International Insurance Summit in New York, which industry leaders and key UN decision makers would attend. We released the policy brief to journalists under an embargo that lifted during the report author’s presentation at the IIS.

Outcomes: Media coverage that hit during the week of the policy brief launch was read and commented on by influential leaders in the insurance industry, and an in-depth BBC article was read and praised by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Following media attention, Dr Ana Gonzalez Pelaez, co-author of report, was invited onto a high level panel at the FFD3 conference, to present her findings and recommendations. The full report went live in conjunction with her panel session and to date the report has been covered by The Guardian, Reuters, Inter Press Service, SciDev and Devex, in addition to the BBC.

The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ)

GIZ infographicThe Challenge: For policymakers, supporting agricultural development can be daunting task– both in terms of what agriculture is expected to achieve for development and also the conditions under which it takes place.

Our Approach: The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) tasked our team to help shape the content of a comprehensive guide for policymakers that they had written in partnership with the Overseas Development Institute. The report aimed to capture the policy areas where consensus exists as well as where debates and uncertainties still remain lies in which interventions work.

Outcomes: We worked with the report authors to craft new messages for the report; restructured and edited it; and then translated and designed it (view the full report here). We also produced an infographic (English and French versions) to help with the report’s later outreach both online and in workshops throughout Africa.

CGIAR Consortium

The Challenge: For every $1 invested in agricultural research, it is estimated that $9 worth of food in is produced in the developing countries where it is needed most. CGIAR Consortium is the largest publicly funded agricultural research partnership in the world, and its 15 centres manage over $1 billion of investment. It has been our task to communicate the mission and impact of CGIAR to the global media and important donors throughout the year, as well as at specific events such as Climate Week 2014.

Our Approach: We have been working with CGIAR to develop a number of products to demonstrate the global impact of their research work. This has involved creating an animated corporate video, an visual organogram explaining their network of research centres around the world, and positioning their CEO as a media spokesperson.

Outcomes: We have placed CGIAR’s work in a range of top tier media outlets such as the Guardian, BBC, National Geographic, Al Jazeera and the Financial Times. Our promotion of CGIAR Development Dialogues, the first event to showcase CGIAR’s solutions for solving hunger and poverty in New York during Climate Week in 2014 was attended by the New York Times and National Geographic.

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

The Challenge: Translating and disseminating world-class policy research is vital if it is to be understood and actionable by more general audiences.  IFPRI’s aim is to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition in developing countries.

Our Approach: Marchmont has worked with IFPRI on a variety of assignments including running the press office at their 2014 global “resilience” conference in Ethiopia and helping them launch their report “Food Security in a World of Natural Resource Scarcityby creating an animated video and infographic alongside media outreach.  We have also run various workshops for them including a “Communications 101” workshop and most recently a “Writing for the web” workshop for their in-house communications team in Washington DC.

Outcomes: In addition to consistently positive feedback from workshop participants, we also secured a number of top-tier media placements including the Wall Street Journal,  The Telegraph, the Financial TimesSciDev.Net,  and Reuters AlertNet.

Future Earth

The Challenge: As the world faces more complex and interconnected challenges, the global research agenda must become ‘fit for purpose’ to respond quickly and comprehensively.

Our Approach: Marchmont helped Future Earth to launch a series of its research reports including its “Global Carbon Budget” report and its “Strategic Research Agenda”, which outlines the need for a step-change in global research for sustainable development. We helped shape the reports’ scientific language and concepts into more media-facing messages and developed a rang of visuals to support online promotion.  When pitching the media, we connected these agenda items to existing news events, such as the Ebola crisis and the UN climate talks.

Outcomes: The report received coverage from a range of top-tier media including the Guardian, BBC, Reuters, Huffington Post, Business Fights Poverty and Devex.

Fossil fuels untappedThe four largest CO2 emitters

Global Pulse Confederation

The Challenge: Pulses (dried peas and beans, lentils or chickpeas) play an important role in many people’s diets and are very much a “future food” – high in protein and fibre, low in fat, affordable to purchase and nitrogen-fixing nitrogen for the soil. Building awareness and encouraging greater consumption of this “super food” can have tremendous impact for food security, nutrition and the environment.

Our Approach: With the United Nations designating 2016 the International Year of Pulses (IYP), Marchmont worked with the Global Pulse Confederation to create a global event kit to guide their national committees in hosting events. We also worked to promote their #LovePulses product showcase competition winners.

Outcomes: We created a series of ‘how to’ guides, event checklists and creative ideas, as well as designing templates for scientific conferences, policy events and consumer awareness activities.  These have been distributed globally and will be used to maintain continuity across all IYP happenings throughout the year. We also designed a series of social media materials to promote the winners of their #LovePulses competition.



CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)

The Challenge: Weather-based index insurance schemes have been piloted across the world, to gauge whether protecting poor farmers against climate risk is possible. No consensus on the factors of success had yet been drawn so the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) wanted to explore this issue through a short report, which was launched at a high-level event in London.

Our Approach: We helped CCAFS to launch the report as well as producing an cartoon-style infographic that explained the basics of weather-based index insurance and key findings of the report. This was launched on social media during the London event, supported by proactive media outreach.

Outcomes: Top-tier media hits included Bloomberg and Reuters, who both covered the report as the first publication to prove weather-based index insurance can work for smallholders. SciDev, Business Fights Poverty and Voice of America also covered the news.