May 2008


An interesting discussion is growing on the ICARDA-organised Farmers’ Conference.

The previous post (by Nadia Manning entitled “Farmers’ Conference on Participatory breeding”) giving an overview of what happened at the innovative event has begun to receive some attention.

Alessandra Galie, ICARDA, who worked on the organising team has posted a few comments giving further insight into the conference from the perspective of both the organisers as well as some participants.

Alessandra highlights their choice of storytelling as a method for facilitating the sharing of knowledge by the farmers. After a review of a number of approaches, the ICARDA team decided to go with storytelling because:

“Story telling seemed to be flexible enough to accommodate any issues the participants would select as topics of discussion at the conference, and, at the same time, it seemed more informal than conventional presentations. Moreover, story telling seemed appropriate for the documentation of the conference. Stories can easily be reproduced in audio and written texts and more importantly, they lend themselves to oral transmission. Since local knowledge has traditionally been spread by word of mouth from farmers to farmers we were particularly happy the information shared at the conference could be exchanged in the form of stories.”

..which was re-affirmed by some of the farmers themselves, stating that

” Stories were a useful format to share information. They are easy to understand, they include issues of interest to farmers about agriculture and they can increase the skills of those who work in collaboration with farmers”. Comments by Egyptian participants on the last day of the conference.

Comments to the post can be found by scrolling down from the original post. Keep checking that space and join in! We would love to hear what others have to say.

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Some 53 farmers from six countries exchanged experiences and knowledge through story telling during the Farmers’ Conference held at ICARDA Headquarters in Aleppo, 4-8 May. The conference was supported by the Knowledge Sharing Project of ICT-KM.

Farmers from Syria, Algeria, Iran, Jordan, Egypt and Eritrea attended the first Farmer’s Conference organized by the Barley Research Program of the BIGM.

ICARDA Farmers\' Conference Group Photo

At the inaugural ceremony of the conference, Dr Salvatore Ceccarelli, a Consultant with the Barley Research Program, welcomed the participants. He said that the Farmer’s Conference, the first of its kind to be organized, has been organized as a joint activity among different partners. The objective of the conference is to bring farmers from different countries together to share their experiences and learn from each other. It is also an opportunity for the farmers to visit a research center like ICARDA, he said.

Dr Kamel Shideed, Director SEPR, welcomed the participants on behalf of the Director General. He described the conference as a great opportunity for the farmers as well as the researchers. The conference will help farmers and scientists exchange knowledge and experiences. Apart from these benefits, this meeting will expand regional integration and he hoped that the bilateral interaction will continue beyond the conference.

Ms Mariam Rahmanian from CENESTA, a non governmental organization based in Iran, said that it is a ground breaking conference. “The conference establishes that ICARDA takes farmers seriously and gives them importance in its research activities. Some of the farmers would not have seen a research center and the conference gives them an opportunity to visit an international center and interact with scientists,” she said.

Dr Adnan Al Yassin, Director of the Dry Land Research Program of National Centre for Agricultural Research and Extension (NCARE), Jordan thanked ICARDA for organizing the conference. He said that Jordanian farmers involved in the participatory plant breeding program and attending the conference would benefit from sharing their experiences with farmers from other countries in the dry areas.

Dr Mahmoud Solh, Director General, met the participants during one of the sessions and heard their experiences about participatory plant breeding.

During the next four days the participants visited ICARDA facilities and farmer’s field in Souran, about 100 km South of ICARDA where they interacted with local farmers. Each day the farmers had sessions devoted to story telling, which gave them an opportunity to narrate their own experiences and learn from other farmers.

Dr Stefania Grando, Principal Barley Breeder, said the conference achieved its objectives of collecting and consolidating farmers’ knowledge, which will help scientists in better targeting their research to address farmers’ needs. Also, the conference was successful in establishing linkages between national level networks of barley farmers in these six countries.

The participatory barley breeding program was first implemented in Syria in 1997 and the model and concepts were gradually applied in other countries.

Source: ICARDA

Participants at the ICARDA Farmers\' Conference

One of the primary Knowledge Generation activities of the Knowledge Sharing in Research Project is through six (6) Pilot projects that were selected and given grants to try out/ integrate/ use/ test knowledge sharing approaches within their research projects or initiatives.

The following 6 projects were selected through the call for proposals of the KS in Research Project:

* Application of KS tools to impact monitoring and project M&E to a community-based fish culture project in Vietnam.
Centre: WorldFish Center
Project Leader: Dr. Natasja Sheriff
* Learning Alliances for Wastewater Agriculture and Sanitation for Poverty Alleviation (LA WASPA)
Centre: IWMI
Project Leader: Alexandra Clemett


* Knowledge Management Harmonizing Research Output in the Northern Uplands of Laos PDR

Centre: IRRI
Project Leader: Benjamin Samson
* Safe food despite wastewater irrigation: A Knowledge Sharing Approach
Centre: IWMI
Project Leader: Tonya Schuetz
* International Farmers Conference
Centre: ICARDA
Project Leader: Dr. Stefania Grando


* Shared Learning to Enhance Research Priority Assessment Practices

Centre: CIFOR (on behalf of a CGIAR system wide consortium on priority assessment)
Project Leader: David Raitzer

The aim is to capture important knowledge, experiences and lessons of the Pilot Projects with a view to contributing to increased understanding of the application and integration of KS concepts and approaches into research projects and activities.

More information can be found about the Pilot Projects including their proposals, reports and updates on the KS website- www.ks-cgiar.org

If you’re a frequent user of Google Maps, you may have noticed a new button: More…

Open it and you have two options: Photos, Wikipedia. Check Photos, and thumbnails of photographs will be displayed over the map you’re looking at.

Google Maps has integrated pictures from Panoramio, an online service that lets you georeference your picture on Google Maps.

Here’s an example search for Rome, Italy (see it in action)

 

It looks so good, it doesn’t need any more words, but just an exploratory trip (in every sense).

Imagine reporting on your next field mission with pics and maps…

The workshop report covers the online Phase 1 of the KS Workshops. It contains descriptions of the processes used, content summaries, as well as participant’s and facilitator’s evaluation.

To address the issue and need raised in the last post on “Why knowledge sharing in research?” the ICT-KM program in its Investment Plan 2006 added to a planned second Phase of the Knowledge Sharing project- a component on Knowledge Sharing in Research. This component is aimed at identifying and pursuing opportunities to enhance collaborative learning and innovation. The goal is to improve the effectiveness of the CGIAR Centres and their projects in working with partners, delivering research results and supporting the achievement of development outcomes.

The project has three major components:

* KNOWLEDGE GENERATION
To learn about knowledge sharing concepts, approaches and tools which may be used and useful within the research domain of the CGIAR.

-this is done primarily through support to and learning from 6 Pilot Projects each testing out various knowledge sharing approaches in their research

-additional knowledge is generated through ongoing review of concepts and experiences from within and outside of the CGIAR through literature and web resources as well as face to face interactions

*KNOWLEDGE SHARING AND BROKERING
To share and broker knowledge gained through the project, both internally and externally derived, with the CGIAR and its partners and stakeholders

-knowledge will be shared through print materials and web resources as well as through interactive knowledge sharing at face-to-face opportunities

*KNOWLEDGE APPLICATION
To use information, lessons learned, experiences, impact and evidence on KSinR to influence its wider adoption within the CGIAR

-knowledge, experiences, ideas, and lessons coming from the Project will be used in supporting as well a developing activities and initiatives at Project, Centre and System levels

““““““`

Any thoughts or ideas on how a project like this can better learn, share and apply knowledge in this domain?

What do you think would be useful? have an impact?

More to come…

The 15 Centers supported by the CGIAR and their many national partners are together creating a wealth of knowledge that can help rural communities in developing countries build sustainable livelihoods. Yet, formidable obstacles to uptake and use of generated knowledge as well as impact of CGIAR agricultural research remain. One of the missing elements which has reduced the effectiveness of our research and development (R&D) efforts, is appropriate and effective knowledge sharing, both within Centers and between them and their partners.

There is a longstanding tradition that separates researchers from those that take up their results. The traditional linear, transfer of technology approach has worked at different times for different purpose but does not offer the best solution for agricultural research to contribute to development outcomes. While this approach may have had some success in the past, the ever-changing nature of agricultural products, research development, actors and needs, this approach is no longer appropriate for all the whole of the agricultural research and development arena.

The CGIAR Centers and their partners need to shift to a more demand-driven, interactive approach, in which such methods are developed collaboratively through a shared process of learning and innovation. A key requirement for achieving this shift is that knowledge sharing should no longer be a mere afterthought in research. Instead, it must become an integral part of the whole research process, involving all stakeholders.

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