Information and Communication Management<br />for Rural and Agricultural Development<br />in Near East and North Africa Region<br />(AARINENA.RAIS):<br />Outputs and Lessons Learned<br />Magdi Latif<br />FAO Knowledge and Capacity For Development Division<br />Knowledge Exchange, Research and Extension Office<br />
AARINENA RAIS<br />NERAKIN Initiative: Immediate Objective (2007)<br />To strengthen the capacity of the Ministries of Agriculture and agricultural and rural research institutions for effective information management and knowledge exchange in support of rural and agricultural development in the region<br />Contributing and Supporting Partners: AARINENA, GFAR, FAO, CGIAR<br />“The regional initiative will add value in a coherent way to national system/networks, not substitute them.”<br />“Build infrastructure tonetwork all ARC agricultural institutions through a regional portal as well as through national portals.”<br />
NERAKIN Initiative: Development Objective<br />To enhance rural and agricultural development in Near East and North Africa through strengthening information and knowledge access and exchange, providing mechanisms to:<br /><ul><li>strengthen, coordinate, and add value to national and regional agricultural initiatives
improve performance of farmers and agrarian businesses. </li></li></ul><li>NERAKIN Phase I Outputs: 2007<br />1- A pilot NERAKIN Regional System for content management and information exchange. <br />2- Identification of technical institutions committed to capacity building in IKM.<br />3-Selected national technical staff sensitized on how to use NERAKIN Regional System.<br />4- Pilot national knowledge and information management systems/networks (i.e. Egypt, Jordan, Oman, etc.).<br />
NERAKIN Phase II Outputs: 2008/9<br /><ul><li>Development of the regional collaborative network based on partnerships for enhanced knowledge-sharing and learning at nationallevel
Development of the regional thematic knowledge networks (Starting with Biotechnology Network).
Training of selected national technical staff to contribute to NERAKIN system
Securing active commitment from stakeholders to develop national IKM systems/networks</li></li></ul><li>Information Standards and Tools<br />for Content Management<br /><ul><li>AGMES – Agricultural Metadata Element Set
Software – MySQL Open Source</li></ul>To develop and promote interoperability standards to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content.<br />interoperability is connecting people, data and diverse systems.<br />www.fao.org/aims<br />
Outputs<br />Regional Thematic Networks (from 2008 – present)<br />Regional Agricultural Biotechnology Network Near East and North Africa<br />Near East Plant Protection Network<br />Regional Aquaculture Information system<br />Preventive Desert Locust Management Network (EMPRES) and Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Central Region (CRC) Regional Network];<br />Near East and North Africa Regional Network for Agricultural Policies.<br />
Regional Activities for Networks<br /><ul><li>December 2008: Participated and provided contribution to Regional Agricultural Biotechnology Network Expert Consultation Meeting. Egypt, Cyprus, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia , Yemen.
December 2010: Organized regional Workshop on Knowledge Exchange Management System for Strengthening Rural Development (Near East Regional VERCON Network). Egypt, Jordon, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Sudan, Syria, Tunis, Yemen.
December 2010: Organized regional Meeting on Establishment of Near East PlantProtection Network. Algeria, Egypt, Jordon, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunis, UAE, Yemen</li></li></ul><li>NERAKIN and Regional Thematic Networks<br />
Regional involvement in national activities<br />Countries in the Region can now take advantage of a full range of conceptual models and networks that give stakeholders access to all major research on agricultural science and technology. These fall into three broad categories.<br /><ul><li>projects designed to build capacity for developing effective information management systems based on stakeholders’ needs to manage, disseminate and share relevant information and knowledge relating to agricultural development and food security policies
initiatives developed to help organizations active in agricultural science to publish and disseminate the results of their work
facilitating access to scientific literature in agriculture appearing in peer-reviewed learned journals, published commercially and sold at prices which are unaffordable in many countries</li></li></ul><li>Regional involvement in national activities<br />National and Institutional Information and Knowledge Networks<br />National networks<br />Egypt – NARIMS <br />Jordan – NAIS <br />Oman – MAFNET/NAKEMS<br />Tools for institution and country levels - Agricultural Information System (AIS), WebAgris and Web-DIMS<br />Access to Global Online Research in Agriculture (AGORA)<br />Rural Information and Knowledge Networks<br />Egypt – Virtual Extension Research Communication Network<br />Egypt – Rural and Agricultural Development Communication Network<br />
Relationship between NERAKIN and National Networks<br />
Regional Activities for NINPs<br /><ul><li>May 2007 in Egypt: Regional training workshop on “Information Systems for Agricultural Research for Development” in collaboration with AARINENA, GFAR, FAO, ICARDA, NARIC. Participation: Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Morocco, Sudan and Yemen.
January 2008 in Oman: Regional Workshop for Strengthening National ICM Focal Units in Near East Region for strengthening and developing the agricultural information systems and Identifying stakeholders and beneficiaries of IS, and their needs. Participation: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco , Lebanon ,Libya ,Oman, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen
October 2008 in Syria: Official launch of Near East and North Africa Rural and Agricultural Knowledge and Information (Nerakin-RAIS)
May 2009 in Egypt: Regional Training Workshop "Building National Capacities in Information and Knowledge In Support of Agricultural Research for Development in Near East Region“ - AARINENA, FAO, GFAR, and ICARDA. Participation: Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen</li></li></ul><li>Lessons Learned<br /><ul><li>ENABLING ENVIRONMENT: The need to create an enabling environment that recognizes the value of connectivity;
PEOPLE, NOT ONLY TECHNOLOGY:Networks depend on and work with people and not on technology alone;
Acquiring knowledge-sharing culture that is based on collaborative methods and exchange mechanisms;
Network Facilitation: The significance need to network facilitation with face-to-face meetings; and
Sustainability: The need to ensure sustainability and self-financing. </li></li></ul><li>Thank You For Your Attention<br />
National Outputs - Rural Information and Knowledge System/Network<br /><ul><li>Egypt Virtual Extension Research Communication Network (VERCON) is a conceptual model developed by FAO that any country can adapt to strengthen linkages between extension officers, researchers, farmers and other stakeholders involved in agricultural and rural development in their areas. It was designed to improve agricultural advisory services to farmers. It should be noted here that VERCON-Egypt was implemented under the TCP modality and was successfully completed in 2001-2002.
FAO also assisted Egypt in formulating a UTFN project for national capacity development designed to boost effective information management and knowledge exchange in rural and agricultural development. This Rural and Agricultural Development Communication Network Project (RADCON), which was set up between 2004 and 2008, is now fully operational and consists of sustainable and dynamic information and communication system that responds to the needs of 50 poor farming communities. </li></li></ul><li>October 2007<br />Back end Interface<br />
Regional Outputs- Regional Thematic Knowledge Networks<br />FAO has continued to work closely with regional partners such as AARINENA, ICARDA, GFAR and AOAD. The goal in all cases has been to establish and develop thematic networks of professional staff and collaborating centers for sustainable agriculture and food security. <br /><ul><li>In collaboration with AARINENA and GFAR, FAO worked on developing the Near East and North Africa Rural and Agricultural Knowledge and Information Network (NERAKIN - http://www.nerakin.net/).
This system consists of a regional network gateway along with some 17 national knowledge and information portals. NERAKIN was launched in October 2008 and is designed to help member countries strengthen their regional networking and knowledge Sharing.
FAO, in collaboration with AARINENA, also developed and facilitated the Regional Agricultural Biotechnology Network (RABNENA- http://www.rabnena.net/), a virtual community of professional staff and collaborating centers related to biotechnology.</li></li></ul><li>Regional Outputs - Regional Thematic Knowledge Networks<br /><ul><li>FAO, in collaboration with AARINENA, also developed and facilitated the Near East Plant Protection Network (NEPP-NET- http://pp-neareast.net), a virtual community of professional staff and collaborating centers related to plant protection.
FAO provided the technical support necessary to develop a website for the Preventive Desert Locust Management Network (EMPRES) and the Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Central Region (CRC). It is now fully operational (http://crc-empres.org/).
In 2008 and 2010, FAO also assisted in developing the Near East and North Africa Regional Network for Agricultural Policies (NENARNAP – http://www.nenarnap.org/). The primary objectives of NENARNAP are to enhance the capabilities of agricultural policy analysts and institutions to collect, document, synthesize, exchange and disseminate information on agricultural policies.</li></li></ul><li>Outputs- Regional Thematic Knowledge Networks<br />Consideration was given to building capacities further among policymakers, managers of agricultural institutions and information managers; the goal is to promote investment in agricultural information and knowledge management and to spread awareness of the importance of creating effective information management strategies, structures and procedures within their respective institutions.<br /><ul><li>FAO and a large number of international and regional partners were responsible for putting and promoting together the Coherence on Information for Agricultural Research for Development (CIARD) initiative, which is aimed at making agricultural research information truly accessible to all (http://www.ciard.net/).
During a workshop held in 2009, the CIARD Manifesto was revised on the basis of feedback received from member countries in the region and subsequently this was endorsed at the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) held in France in 2010. In addition to the Manifesto, the CIARD initiative facilitates access to practical tools that can help to support coherent approaches to enhancing access to agricultural information. </li></li></ul><li>NERAKIN Interfaces<br /><ul><li>Front end Interface( Regional or National)The front end components provide the information retrieval/browsing functionalities, and are available to any site user.
Back end InterfaceThe backend components provide the data management functionalities that enable system administrators to input/update/delete data items into the NERAKIN database.</li></li></ul><li>
NERAKIN CAPABILITIES<br /><ul><li>Meeting the International Data Exchange Requirements</li></ul> for Information Standards and Tools for Content Management (AGMES – Agricultural Metadata Element Set, AGRIS/ Organization/ Experts/ Projects Application Profile, A/E AGROVOC thesaurus, Software – MySQL Open Source, and Open Archives).<br /><ul><li>Open System Architecture</li></ul> The system is fully dynamic, built and developed under object oriented concepts using the latest technology and modern object oriented language <br /><ul><li>Portability </li></ul> It is capable to be deployed easily in other machines and portable devices <br />
NERAKIN CAPABILITIES<br /><ul><li>User Friendly</li></ul> It has a friendly interface and it easy to use and simple to configure. <br /><ul><li>Dynamic WorkflowBack end Interfaces</li></ul> The system has a dynamic workflow in the advanced Content Management System (CMS). <br /><ul><li>Centralized and Distributed System</li></ul> The NERAKIN architecture on the one hand will enable all participating institutions to upload their materials in a centralized system, and on the other hand will allow for the development of distributed systems at institutional levels. <br />
Benefits of partnerships & networking<br /><ul><li> A collaborative system and effective communication,
Use of agreed standards, methodologies and tools.</li></li></ul><li>Success Factors for Regional Network<br />Commitment for contribution/collaboration at national level;<br />Focus on capacity building at national level; <br />Existence of a regional information strategy;<br />Development of a Secretariat role for regional activities;<br />Focus on community of practice amongst the info specialists;<br />Raising awareness of ICM issues at Manager./political levels;<br />Formation of strategic partnerships amongst the major<br /> stakeholder organizations.<br />
Good Practices in National Networking<br />Existence of a clearly defined strategy and objectives <br />Tangible commitment to the strategy from major players including government<br />Assurance of adequate funding resources for the network members <br />Strong but sensitive leadership provided by a national focal point<br />Participatory approach in the national network with appropriate recognition of all partners<br />Development of information repositories of documents (metadata/full text) and people/organizations/activities<br />Adoption of a single model for IM with common formats and standards<br />Focus on content quality <br />Focus on development of human resources <br />
Operational Framework in National Networking <br />Assign and build capacity of Coordinating/Focal Unit that includes <br /> National Admin/Focal point.<br />Develop the system steering committee that includes a national coordinator, technical director and members.<br />Assign stakeholders who will be responsible for managing their own information (1- Institute Admin 2- Data Entry Users).<br />Connect institutional entities that are not connected and enhance the infrastructure within the different connected institutions (hardware installation).<br />Install software system in institution servers (Plug and Work).<br />Building capacities of institution staff on the use of system (training).<br />Data collection/validation/publishing and feeding to system.<br />Conduct awareness workshops and promote the system.<br />
AARINENA Regional/Inter-Regional Thematic NetworksEstablished in collaboration with GFAR, FAO and ICARDA<br />Other Regional Specialized Networks<br />
NERAKIN and Regional Thematic Networks – RSS Aggregators<br />
NERAKIN and National Networks – RSS Aggregators<br />
Relations between NAKEMS and MAFNET and Other Future Institutional Systems in Oman Using RSS Aggregators<br />
Benefits/Opportunities of Regional Network<br />(1)Address stakeholders’ needs more effectively as it would:<br /><ul><li>Promote collaboration and sharing between countries of information on agricultural science and technology and experience in its use;
Raise awareness of regional agricultural problems/issues;
Enhance quality of scientific and technical information.</li></ul>(2) Reduce time/cost/effort of developing national information networks<br /> due to:<br /><ul><li> Shared values in ICM, including common formats/standards;
Provision of success stories in ICM and development of information</li></ul> networks, which would encourage countries that have not yet built<br /> national networks;<br /><ul><li> Cooperation and collaboration on solving common ICM problems;
Enhanced capacity building (and productivity) of ICM staff.</li></li></ul><li>NERAKIN<br />Documents<br />Projects<br />Experts/<br />Researchers<br />Institutions<br />Focal Point<br />Events<br />News<br />NERAKIN Agricultural Information System Components:<br />