The Beginning

Welcome to the Evaluation Blog. As part of WorldAgInfo, this blog is designed to discuss the project goals and outcomes, and how we are attempting to reach them. The project has the following four goals:

1. Identify agricultural information needs of key stakeholders all along the education/information chain. (e.g., smallholder farmers, researchers, policy-makers, agriculture university faculties and students, extension personnel, private sector, and public media representatives.)

2. Identify promising new information technologies that can be leveraged into activities to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers.

3. Explore the feasibility of using collaborative community-based knowledge mechanisms to increase access to agricultural information and to provide the feedback mechanisms necessary to assess the relative values of that information.

4. Explore the socioeconomic context of smallholders with special attention to ways to empower women as contributors and end users of collaborative agricultural information systems.

Our intention is to change the paradigm of evaluation a little bit, so that we are more mobile and responsive to the needs of the project as they arise. What this means, in practice, is that we'll be trying to undertake evaluations in a rigorous, yet adaptive, way that will allow us to gather good data for those issues that develop as we progress. We do not pretend to know all of the problems that we'll be facing, and we're hoping that by being more agile in the face of these challenges we’ll be better prepared to find answers that are meaningful for everyone.

In addition, I'll be sharing pictures and thoughts from the upcoming African site visit, including discussing the evaluation tools that we'll be designing during our stay in Africa. As could probably be imagined, there are challenges inherent in doing evaluation in rural parts of the world and with dealing with new collaborative technologies. We look forward to the facing these challenges.