World Ag Info Project

 

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Building human and institutional capacity

is fundamental to long-term social transformation in Africa and South East Asia. Access to information and the ability to share knowledge are key elements underpinning the transformation process. In agriculture, the effectiveness of education and extension systems has been hindered by both lack of access to high-quality information and dependence on a top-down model that has undervalued non-traditional sources of expertise. New information and communication technologies, though, are creating unprecedented opportunities. Critical work lies ahead in understanding the potential benefits and limitations of these technologies, and how they interface with other elements of knowledge, education, and information systems.

 

A series of two workshops will bring together…

scholars and practitioners with information/educational technology experts to explore a new frontier in agricultural education and extension. The focus of the workshop is the smallholder – re-thinking systems of training, access to information, and knowledge sharing to facilitate improved decision-making among small-scale farmers in South East Asia and Africa. Within this context, participants will examine knowledge, education, and information needs all along the education/information chain, including the policy-makers, faculty, students, extension workers, private input suppliers, large and small producers.

In particular, participants will be asked to explore the potential for new technologies to democratize agricultural education and information systems in Africa and Asia, giving “voice” and access to smallholders. Advances in information and communication technology in developed countries have created new participatory models of knowledge sharing and content generation in educational systems. This workshop will encourage consideration of the impact and feasibility of similar models, adapted to the institutional and social contexts of agriculture in Africa and Asia.

The workshops will contribute to…


a broader understanding of the opportunities and challenges that exist in this field. It is expected that the knowledge, experience, and critical thinking of participants will allow for the identification of specific areas where further development of projects or ideas are most likely to benefit the smallholder in Asia and Africa.

A core organizing Design Team…

attend both workshops providing the oversight and leadership for the sessions. The Design Team will be visiting and collaborating with as many people as possible in the field of agricultural information. On-going processes will be shared in two blogs. The first blog, written by Dr. Thane Terrill, will be on the technology issues related to agricultural information. The second blog, written by Dr. Patrick O'Shea, will be on the interesting issues related to evaluation in this rather unique environment.

Technology Blog / Evaluation Blog