Once the observatory has been set up, consider how you will keep in touch with participants and how they will keep in touch with each other. You can use many of the same channels that you established for raising awareness about your project to share ongoing developments with all participants.
Do you have a website to which all community members can add content? Can community members share photos, experiences and discoveries via social media?
Maybe you’d like to add a social element to data collection activities. For example, if a community in the same geographic area is collecting information on a local concern, they can have weekly ‘meet-ups’ to discuss the challenges they face or share insights or news.
Take the time to ask participants how they would like to communicate with each other and how they can encourage more people to get involved.
Remember that part of building a real sense of community includes the leaders or organisers as well – you and your team should be visible to the participants. If your means of communication are primarily digital, make sure that you are frequently sharing videos and photos so that participants also have a sense of who you are.