It is true that we can have wider social contacts again, that travel restrictions have been lifted and that virtual meetings are no longer obligatory in our “new normal”. But despite this, we have not yet returned to the “old normal” in many of our PTB projects, especially when it comes to on-site meetings with all of those involved. We’ve come to see that a range of different factors affect this “new normal”. Some people are unable to travel to project events because they have tested positive for COVID-19, or they don’t want to risk getting an infection. Others think that the costs of taking part in a short event on site do not give them value for money. They don’t feel that they will benefit from attending an event in person. In contrast to this, there is a group of people who now insist on meeting others face to face, even if it means travelling abroad. The result is often a compromise, meaning that some of the participants and the speakers are physically present on site, while others are connected digitally. We have frequently had to put up with a combination of the worst of both worlds – of the analogue and the virtual – in such “hybrid events”. We have had to cope with the logistics of organising on-site events coupled with the technical challenges of virtual events – adding up to a demanding and frustrating situation for all those involved.
In the last two years, we have learnt how to carry out virtual events in an effective way, while encouraging the participation of everyone concerned. And we are now optimistic about having found good solutions for hybrid events too. We achieved this through PTB’s Capacity Development Working Group talking to staff in various PTB projects as well as in other organisations that support development cooperation. What this led to was a wealth of practical experience and tips that could, in turn, be put into practice. All this has been collated in our latest set of guidelines. The goal of these guidelines on Hybrid Events is to combine the best of both worlds – the analogue and the virtual: to cut back on journeys that are not needed, to allow more diverse groups to take part in events, while still inspiring lively participation, good results and cooperation that is based on partnerships.
You will find a link to the guidelines here https://www.covid19.ptb.de/digital-work/hybrid-events. We hope you will try out some of our tips and that you will let us know how you get on with them: email@example.com.