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Schlaepfer-Miller:Communication of coping and adaptation strategies for climate change in tropical regions in East Africa
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Schlaepfer-Miller:Communication of coping and adaptation strategies for climate change in tropical regions in East Africa

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  • Digital communications technologies have become an important and pervasive medium in our daily lives. Internet usage is still low in Africa, reaching about 10.9% of the population; yet it has grown 2,357.3% over the last ten years, almost five times more than the rest of the world1. More than a third of the population in Africa are cell phone owners, and this rate is growing fast (ITU, 2010). Beyond their standard modes of operation, such technologies can be used to empower communities, by giving them an unfiltered medium through which their voices can be heard. Projects in which cell phones and web pages are appropriated by marginalized communities and used to their own benefit, such as megafone.net2, are a proof of what can be done to achieve community empowerment.
  • Digital communications technologies have become an important and pervasive medium in our daily lives. Internet usage is still low in Africa, reaching about 10.9% of the population; yet it has grown 2,357.3% over the last ten years, almost five times more than the rest of the world1. More than a third of the population in Africa are cell phone owners, and this rate is growing fast (ITU, 2010). Beyond their standard modes of operation, such technologies can be used to empower communities, by giving them an unfiltered medium through which their voices can be heard. Projects in which cell phones and web pages are appropriated by marginalized communities and used to their own benefit, such as megafone.net2, are a proof of what can be done to achieve community empowerment.
  • There has been a move in recent years for 'Farmer led research', see the work of Fetien Abay from Mekelle University, Ethopia4. Climate scientists also recognize need for participatory research that not only values indigenous knowledge, but uses knowledge which is locally based. This is not only because farmers already have a considerable body of knowledge as they have been coping with climate variability for years, but also because areas with crop gains or losses are highly localized. Therefore a holistic, participatory approach is necessary (Reid 2003, in Reid and Huq 2005 p 68) and recommendations “cannot be made at regional or national level but must be essentially local”. (Jones and Thornton 2003, in Jones 2005 p 23)
  • In this project we facilitate the use of these technologies with communities of rural farmers, by enabling them to speak for themselves and raise their issues publicly in an increasingly digitally connected world. The farmers are in the Bagamoyo District, Tanzania, and they use shared multimedia cell phones to report their observations of the effects of climate change on their farms. By using a special cell phone application, the farmers can send tagged images and audio recordings directly from the fields to a web page. These multimedia contents can thus be immediately published and visible on the Internet, creating a body of evidence that is collected in a participative way. Farmers are provided with a limited quantity of multimedia cell phones, which they share for the project's purposes. There is a group computer at the research station with an Internet connection. In weekly meetings, they exchange the phones and discuss the images and recordings that they have published.
  • Part of the Soft systems methodology - developed by Peter Checkland from Lancaster University, UK in the 1970s consist of symbols, sketches or "doodles" and can contain as much (pictorial) information as is deemed necessary. the finished picture may be of value to other stakeholders of the problem but the real value of this technique is the way it forces the creator to think deeply about the problem and understand it well enough to express it pictorially a process known as Action Learning can be done as a group
  • Rich pictures should: identify the main concepts or ideas relating to a given situation use icons or images to represent your ideas use lines to link the main concepts or ideas with a short description of each
  • A question that arose in researching this project was how we could digitally link to other media/climate change adaptation projects in the Africa-Adapt network. For example it seems to us that there is a considerable colloquial knowledge already recorded in many videos and other recordings which are posted on the network. Yet this information is not readily available or categorized other than with a keyword or full-text search which does not find information in the interviews.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Using participatory media in communication of adaptation strategies for climate change in Tanzania Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, Juanita Schlaepfer-Miller, Eugenio Tisselli, ETHZ; Dr. Flora Ismail, University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM)
    • 2. This project investigates how participatory media, such as rich drawings and a custom mobile phone application, can be used by farmers to communicate climate change adaptation methods to policy makers, climate scientists and other farmers. Institute for Integrative Biology Tuesday, March 8, 2011
    • 3. Visitor center, Swiss National Research Institute (PSI) Institute for Integrative Biology Tuesday, March 8, 2011
    • 4. canal*SAHARAUI Institute for Integrative Biology Tuesday, March 8, 2011
    • 5. Introduction to project
      • Internet usage is still low in Africa, reaching about 10.9% of the population; yet it has grown 2,357.3% over the last 10 years, almost five times more than the rest of the world.
      • More than a third of the population in Africa are cell phone owners, and this rate is growing fast.
      • Beyond their standard modes of operation, such technologies can be used to empower communities, by giving them an unfiltered medium through which their voices can be heard.
      Institute for Integrative Biology Tuesday, March 8, 2011
    • 6. Introduction to project
      • 'Farmer led research', see the work of Fetien Abay from Mekelle University, Ethopia
      • Climate scientists also recognize need for participatory research that not only values indigenous knowledge, but uses knowledge which is locally based.
      • Therefore a holistic, participatory approach is necessary and recommendations “cannot be made at regional or national level but must be essentially local”.
      Institute for Integrative Biology Tuesday, March 8, 2011
    • 7. Rural farmers project
      • Farmers in the Bagamoyo district of Tanzania share multimedia cell phones
      • With a special mobile application they can send tagged images and audio recordings direct to a web-page
      • This creates a participative body of evidence
      Institute for Integrative Biology Tuesday, March 8, 2011
    • 8. Institute for Integrative Biology Tuesday, March 8, 2011
    • 9. Why Rich Pictures – Soft systems methodology
      • A mechanism for learning about complex problems by drawing detailed ("rich") representations of them.
      • Consist of symbols, sketches or "doodles”
      • Of more value to the creator than to other stakeholders
      • A process known as Action Learning
      • Can be done as a group
      Tuesday, March 8, 2011 Institute for Integrative Biology
    • 10. Institute for Integrative Biology Tuesday, March 8, 2011
    • 11. Institute for Integrative Biology Tuesday, March 8, 2011
    • 12. Institute for Integrative Biology Tuesday, March 8, 2011
    • 13. Institute for Integrative Biology Tuesday, March 8, 2011
    • 14. Key benefits of project
      • Realtively simple technology
      • Project should be long running
      • Equipment remains property of farmer group
      • Community building
      • Enables them to collect body of evidence to present to policy makers
      • Enables the farmers to become active participants in networked environments.
      Institute for Integrative Biology Tuesday, March 8, 2011
    • 15. Examples of images from farmers Tuesday, March 8, 2011 Institute for Integrative Biology
    • 16. Folksonomies Institute for Integrative Biology Tuesday, March 8, 2011
      • Bottom-up categorization
      • Allows the discovery of emergent topics
      • Can be a model for a community's issues
    • 17. Folksonomies and Africa-Adapt
      • A question that arose in researching this project was how we could digitally link to other media/climate change adaptation projects in the Africa-Adapt network.
      • considerable colloquial knowledge already recorded in many videos and other recordings which are posted on the network.
      • Yet this information is not readily available or categorized other than with a keyword or full-text search which does not find information in the interviews.
      Institute for Integrative Biology Tuesday, March 8, 2011
    • 18. Folksonomies and Africa-Adapt
      • if these videos or radio recordings were tagged as they were uploaded (or retrospectively) then a wealth of information could form a clickable folksonomy, adding value to existing projects and extending their impact.
      Institute for Integrative Biology Tuesday, March 8, 2011