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015 nawsheen

  1. 1. The use of ICTs to facilitate collaboration in a multi-stakeholder Partnership: A case study of the Mauritius Breadfruit Sector Consortium By: Nawsheen Hosenally and Krishan J Bheenick Third IAALD Africa Chapter Conferencee-Agriculture for improved Livelihoods and Food Security in Africa 21-23 May 2012, Johannesburg, South Africa
  2. 2. Mauritius Country Background  2040 km2  Population: 1,3 million  Mauritius has successfully shifted from a mono-crop to diversified Economy  Tourism  Manufacturing  Agriculture  Financial Services  ICTs
  3. 3. ICTs in Mauritius The government recognized the importance of the ICT sector for development of the country National ICT Strategic plan prepared to achieve the government’s vision:  Contribution of ICT sector to GDP  Employ more Mauritians  Make available skilled manpower  Bring about an increase in the adoption and use of ICTs in Mauritius  Invest in infrastructure and hence become a Regional Hub
  4. 4. ICTs in Agriculture: e-Agriculture Agriculture has been and is still an important sector in the economy The use of ICTs encouraged in Agriculture through different policies  Blueprint for a sustainable diversified Agri-food strategy for Mauritius (2008-2015)  Establishment of an Agricultural Information System (AIS)  National ICT Strategic plans (2007-2011 & 2011-2014)  Promoting an integrated adoption of ICTs in Agriculture through collaborative working  e-Agriculture Action Plan designed However, many strategic objectives not yet met
  5. 5. Establishment of multi-stakeholder partnership in the breadfruit sector Following Global food crisis in 2008, the government decided to invest in Agriculture through the Food Security Fund Agri-food strategy developed and breadfruit identified as a potential alternative source of carbohydrates  Can be used as substitute to wheat Hence, the Food and Agricultural Research Council (FARC) established the Mauritius Breadfruit Sector Consortium in 2011  To collaborate on development of breadfruit production in Mauritius
  6. 6. Establishment of multi-stakeholderpartnership in the breadfruit sector
  7. 7. Challenges Information Exchange during consortium meetings  Needed to be documented and shared for further discussion Weekly physical meetings were not possible  Online collaboration required  Hence, a platform for communication and information sharing among stakeholders required
  8. 8. Choice of Platform Among the different Web 2.0 tools available, the use of a “wiki” was suggested The use of a wiki investigated through a review of its functions and practical experiences It was found that a wiki offered several useful features which correspond to the needs of the consortium A wiki allows its users to add, modify or delete its content via a web browser, using a simplified markup language or a rich-text editor
  9. 9. Characteristics of a wiki Generally powered by wiki software and usually created collaboratively by multiple users Include: community websites, corporate intranets, knowledge management systems and note taking Common uses: project communication, intranets and documentation Used by some companies to enhance group learning
  10. 10. A Wiki for the consortium Allow consortium to interact, share and store knowledge and information Participate in discussions and be an improvement on traditional approach (e-mails) Enable consortium activities to be transparent to all partners involved Allow user to edit any page, add content including files (from Ms Office or other multimedia) Tracking of activities could be simpler when compared to e-mails/blogs/websites/ Google Documents It supports other web 2.0 tools which could be used for various purposes
  11. 11. Adoption of a wiki Expected to be adopted in different phases by stakeholders as the use of a wiki was new to most of them Throughout its implementation, wiki was closely monitored by the administrators Wiki administrators assisted users in collaborating on the platform and intervened as and when required to facilitate the process
  12. 12. Wiki of the Mauritius Breadfruit Sector ConsortiumFrontPage Navigator Sidebar Accessible at http://paepardmauritius.pbworks.com
  13. 13. Pages on the wiki About PAEPARD Individual Consortium partner partners and pages roles Pages Editable on the map of wiki ConsortiumBreadfruit Meetings trees inMauritius Documents Discussion or links on Forum Breadfruit
  14. 14. Pages on the wikiWikiPages
  15. 15. Wiki interface and use Upon its creation, consortium leaders started to upload files and share links on breadfruit Information was very useful in building knowledge base on breadfruit (from origin/germplasm to product development/marketing) Constraint: Consortium partners had difficulties regarding basic aspects of the wiki (log in, edit and add content etc.) Assistance required and hence visual tutorial (slides) developed
  16. 16. Wiki interface and use
  17. 17. Content Management and interactions on the wiki Consortium partners have their own individual page and updated it on the work they are doing on breadfruit Enabled stakeholders to know who is working on which aspect along the value-chain  Duplication of work is avoided  All activities of the consortium transparent since all meetings and workshop proceedings were documented Interactions and discussions initiated and maintained by administrators, consortium facilitators and leaders  Although some partners visited the wiki regularly, they were not sharing information and engaging in discussions  Information shared were on general work being done
  18. 18. Content Management and interactions on the wiki Description of work being done by the organization
  19. 19. Content Management and interactions on the wiki All meetings and workshop proceedings documented
  20. 20. Editable map of breadfruit in Mauritius Wiki supports other web 2.0 Applications Google Map added to one of the pages Tutorial was made on how to add trees onto the map  Shared by email to consortium partners and also D- groups, Facebook and Twitter Crowd-sourcing through voluntary contribution from members of the public and web enthusiasts  Initial response low, but improving gradually  More than 60 Trees added
  21. 21. Editable map of breadfruit in Mauritius
  22. 22. Editable map of breadfruit in Mauritius
  23. 23. Discussion Wiki useful to various stakeholders in terms of transparency, coordination and tracking of the consortium activities and information and knowledge management However, few challenges faced when it came to collaboration and interaction of consortium partners on the wiki  Partly related to the adoption process of new technologies  Other factors include skills and ease of using the computer as a means of communication
  24. 24. Discussion Effectiveness of wiki is very dependent on the extent of collaboration by partners Different institutions and staffs work in different ways and wiki administrator/facilitator has to adapt to the level of their education or ICT skills Existing perception on ICTs can influence extent and form of collaboration Use of other wikis demonstrated that such a platform can be effective  However, Mauritius breadfruit consortium has not been able to achieve same level of success
  25. 25. Conclusion Use of a wiki can be beneficial in facilitating collaboration, but success is dependent on the level of interaction on the platform To encourage participation from different partners, the administrators has to intervene and assist them The concept of e-Agriculture has not yet been adopted by professionals and organizations in the Agricultural sector in Mauritius However, in a short lapse of time, the wiki has been established and useful to partners  Good as starting point
  26. 26. Recommendations Challenges can be overcome through encouragement of the use of Web 2.0 tools and other ICT applications by professionals in Agriculture After their training on ICTs/Web 2.0 tools, proper tracking and monitoring should be carried out to ensure that they are applying what they have learned This emphasizes the role of Agricultural institutions to encourage their staffs to adopt these tools in their work