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Enhancing co-production of knowledge: Visualisation and engagement approaches for evidence-based decision making within the Kenya Agroforestry Strategy

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Shifting the relationship between science and decision making is a key challenge for sustainable development. We conducted a two-part behavioural study linked to the preparation of the Kenya Agroforestry Strategy. Two virtual workshops followed a data visualisation preference survey of 174 technical officers to compare the influence of a peer-led and a facilitated workshop on inclusive, evidence-based decision making. A post-workshop survey, facilitator or observer reports, coded transcriptions of group discussions, root causes capturing social actor perspectives, and strategy content were analysed. Results from the visualisation preference survey indicate that most respondents preferred more straightforward displays like tables and bar charts over the more complex ridge and box plots. Limited exposure to diverse visualisation formats calls for capacity development and innovative ways to share data in multiple formats. Engaging scientists in co-production processes allows more complex data to be accessed and understood by decision makers. Triangulation across diverse data sources associated with the workshops indicates facilitated groups had greater inclusion of participants and better integrated scientific and social actor perspectives in the strategies they developed. The importance of skilled facilitators and engagement processes are therefore highlighted. Small workshop sample sizes and complex interactions indicate that further studies are needed to validate our findings, but the results of this study provide valuable insights for knowledge translation and social learning as part of co-production to support inclusive, evidence-based decision making in agricultural and environmental policy processes.

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