Connecting people to catalyze African agricultural innovations


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Presentation made at the Second Conference of the IAALD Africa Chapter on the theme "Towards Opening Access to Information & Knowledge in the Agricultural Sciences and Technology in Africa" held at M Plaza Hotel, Accra, Ghana, 15th - 17th July 2009.

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  • it is a very good presentation but stresses more on dissemination, where is the scouting process, a la Honey bee network

    i would be happy to see that in place without which we will not have much from grassroots to disseminate, is not it?
    why dont we involve school studnets in summer vacation?

    anilgb @ Gmail. com
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Connecting people to catalyze African agricultural innovations

  1. 1. Myra Wopereis-Pura 1 , Dady Demby 1 , Francois Stepman 1 , Krishan Bheenick 2 , Kone Anatole 3 and Jacky Nyagahima 4 1 FARA, Accra, Ghana; 2 SADC-FANR, Gabarone, Botswana; 3 CORAF, Dakar, Senegal; 4 ASARECA, Entebbe, Uganda. Connecting people to catalyze African agricultural innovations IAALD Africa Chapter Conference 14 July 2009 regional agricultural information and learning systems (RAILS)
  2. 2. FARA supporting African agricultural innovations <ul><li>3 main functions </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy and constituency building </li></ul><ul><li>Promote functional partnerships and strategic alliances </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing and exchange of information and knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>5 networking support functions </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy and resource mobilization </li></ul><ul><li>Access to knowledge and technology </li></ul><ul><li>Regional policies and markets </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity strengthening </li></ul><ul><li>Partnerships and Strategic Alliances </li></ul>NASRO ASARECA CORAF/ WECARD SADC-FANR (CARDESA)
  3. 3. International agricultural ICT/ICM service providers <ul><li>CABI </li></ul><ul><li>CGIAR </li></ul><ul><li>CTA </li></ul><ul><li>FAO </li></ul>
  4. 4. Keeping researchers abreast within a knowledge-driven agricultural development … e.g. growing number of ICT-based advisory services Radio - dial up and radio broadcast Multi-channel platforms SMS of market prices FARA inventory of innovative farmer advisory services using ICT, 2009
  5. 5. Kenya and Tanzania, leading the way National farmer information service Kenya Agricultural commodity exchange Thematic publications
  6. 6. But challenges remain, where research interventions can be critical … <ul><li>SMS – mobile phones </li></ul><ul><ul><li>can only send out limited amount of information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requires basic level of literacy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Voice information delivery services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Requires adoption to various local languages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customer Relationship Management application to support integrated call </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Handling and management of a very large audio database </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Web-based platform </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Too many information difficult to digest and a challenge to farmers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internet connectivity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Traditional media (TV and Radio) is still seen as the most convenient channel in disseminating information to farmers </li></ul><ul><li>District information, telecentres or knowledge centres are growing in numbers </li></ul>
  7. 7. What is needed? <ul><li>communication technologies working within the prevailing physical, socio-economic, cultural and institutional conditions of farmers </li></ul><ul><li>comprehensive model addressing limitations in existing methods, by offering a holistic, one-stop-shop information service on a variety of carefully integrated platforms </li></ul>A model that implements farmers’ feedback as a resource to further enhance existing tools and approaches
  8. 8. Knowledge creation <ul><li>Recognition of uneven distribution of information </li></ul><ul><li>Mere information in the form of flow of messages is not enough </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge creation as the creative result of a flow of messages anchored on the commitment and beliefs of the actors involved in the process and resulting in human action </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge is built within an environment that takes into account </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Capacity building and empowerment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Processes i.e. social mobilization and organization </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Creating dynamic and evolving agricultural knowledge systems <ul><li>With ready access to knowledge sources categorized into themes linked to the interests of African farmers </li></ul><ul><li>using multi-media information and learning systems </li></ul><ul><li>Agricultural Service Providers </li></ul><ul><li>research institutions </li></ul><ul><li>universities </li></ul><ul><li>extension services </li></ul><ul><li>NGOs </li></ul>
  10. 10. Integrated agricultural knowledge systems <ul><li>Inventory of knowledge stocks </li></ul><ul><li>Develop/identify and adopt multi-media information and learning systems </li></ul><ul><li>Develop/identify and adopt dynamic and evolving agricultural knowledge systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>quality information databases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>multi-media information and learning tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>feedback and feed forward mechanisms to diffuse knowledge and continuously improve the quality of knowledge sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Strengthen the capacities of farmer advisory service providers </li></ul>
  11. 11. RAILS framework <ul><li>Advocacy to encourage increased investment in agricultural information systems </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity strengthening geared towards access to information and knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitating synergies and coherence among various initiatives </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitating an African platform on agricultural information and knowledge exchange </li></ul>
  12. 12. Building RAILS focal points as facilitators of communication exchange
  13. 13. ASARECA Jacqueline Nyagahima NASRO Angola Adriano Andre Benin Etienne A. Ahandage Botswana Orman Roy Burkina Faso Hamidou Traore Burundi Janvier Nkunzebose Burundi Marie-Chantal Niyuhire Cameroon Martin Nanse Cape Verde Antonio Miranda-Fortes CAF Fernand Mboutou Chad Koye Djombang Comoros   Congo Bigala jacques Congo Emmanuel Mbemba Cote d'lvoire Koffi Gabriel Djibouti   DRC Jocelin Makoko Egypt Ahmed Omran Egypt Mahmoud Rafea Eritea Zeremariam Ghebremicael Ethiopia Abebe Kirub Gambia   Ghana Dady Demby Ghana Joel Sam Guinea Abdoulaye Aziz Bangoura Guinea Bissau Lopes Marcos Antonio Kenya Pascal Kaubutho Kenya Rachel Rege Lesotho Maqalika Matsepe Liberia James S Dolo Libya Kamel Ben Essa Madagascar Francine Rasolofonirina- Irene Razafindraibe Madagascar Sanogo Bakary Mail Clodina Chowa Malawi Madian Diarra Mali Isselmou Abdatt Mauritania Mamadou Lamine Dia Mauritania Raj Ramnauth Mauritius Otman Sebbata Morocco Ludmila Mwaa Rafael Maguni Mozambique Claudine Umukazi Rwanda Claudine Umukazi Rwanda Sao Tome & Principe Islands Mariama Barry Senegal Mohamed A. Sanoh Sierra Leone   Somalia Ahlam Ismail Musa Sudan Kamal El-Siddig Sudan Rafaa Ashamallah Ghobrial Sudan Doris Matovelo Tanzania Vidah Mahava Tanzania Bontiébite Badjare Togo Mahammed Bergaoui Tunisia Mohsen Krichi Tunisia Bob Mugerwa Uganda Sylvester Baguma Uganda Davy Simumba Zambia CORAF/WECARD Kone Anatole SADC/FANR Krishan Bheenick
  14. 14. e.rails … Communicating agricultural innovations All the sites are linked and searchable through a single gateway Individuals create sites <ul><li>The user’s backend allows to: </li></ul><ul><li>edit and design sites and pages, </li></ul><ul><li>provide links to external web-resources </li></ul><ul><li>classify information </li></ul>
  15. 15. Allows actors from Agriculture to request an account to create various sites All the sites can be searched in one go RAILS focal points manage accounts in their country Multilingual
  16. 16. Mapping RAILS progress ASARECA CORAF/WECARD SADC/FANR NASRO Good progress on the 4 RAILS elements Good progress in some of the RAILS elements Some of the RAILS elements are in place Requires more communications
  17. 17. <ul><li>Understanding the partners </li></ul><ul><li>Identify the range of target partners </li></ul><ul><li>Variety in their needs and interventions in rural development through innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Various pathways of information flow </li></ul><ul><li>Part of identification is through consultation/participation, which may be a lengthy process </li></ul><ul><li>Define strategies and policies that all users can relate to - ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Have a broad framework applicable to the context, culture & political environment </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-perspective approach , (geographically, commodity based or thematically focussed) </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on priorities of partners identified instead of a particular tool </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure institutional support especially by decision makers and ministries </li></ul><ul><li>Work together with information user and suppliers, and communicate through media familiar to all </li></ul><ul><li>Added value and contribution of each partner </li></ul><ul><li>Coherence and sustainability at all levels </li></ul>RAILS lessons learnt in facilitating an African platform
  18. 18. Conclusion <ul><li>Critical factors for success </li></ul><ul><li>Context-based content, flexibility in mode of delivery and people responsive to local and gender based issues and feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Continuous building of new partnerships and working relationships within the multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary teams </li></ul><ul><li>Teams or institutions in the network have a record of timely delivery of outputs and ability to sustain programs beyond the life of the projects </li></ul>
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