wherecampafricaGoogle Maps has just arrived in Kenya, where it’s feared that mapping the region could inflame inter-tribal tensions over land ownership.

That’s one of the issues that came out of our meeting in Kenya last week: WhereCampAfrica.. But there is a bright side to this!

WhereCampAfrica, which was part of our First Africa Geospatial Agriculture week, brought together about 100 between geographers, cartographers and mobile mapping specialists to discuss the potential – and difficulties – of the ‘geographic web’ in Africa.

The BBC Nairobi reporter David Ogot reports with interviews to our AGCommons steering committee member, Peter Ndunda, CIAT’s Andy Jarvis and ICRISAT’s Pierre Sibiry.

To hear the issues covered in the BBC Digital Planet visit WhereCampAfrica on BBC

Among the stories featured in this newsletter . 

Enjoy your reading!

…unlocking precision agriculture in West African smallholder communities with very high resolution imagery”, a project proposed by ICRISAT, is one of the 5 projects that have been selected by the AGCommons program to show early impact.

The other 4 are:
– Nodes of growth: Improving legume seed networks in Kenya (CIAT-Africa)
– Roads Data Development in Ethiopia NASA (SEDAC)
– Community Level Crop Disease Surveillance (Grameen Foundation)
– Africa Trial Sites Catalogue: Reaching out to farmers, agronomists and plant breeders with spatially efficient, participatory testing networks (CGIAR)

Learn more about these projects at QuickWin Projects

In the context of this workshop GFAR invited us to submit organizational profiles in order to allow GFAR to do some assessment work. Participant organizations were asked to share their needs and priorities with regards to Agricultural Knowledge Sharing, Education and Learning. Concrete suggestions for action were also part of the form.

See the profiles:

The Innovation Asia-Pacific Symposium will take place from 4 to 7 May 2009 in Katmandu, innovation-asia_flyer-brochureNepal. PROLINNOVA is co-organising this symposium with ICIMOD (International Center for Integrated Mountain Dveelopment) and CIAT Asia. PROLINNOVA partners in Nepal – LI-BIRD and Practical Action are playing a leading role in all the activities leading up to the symposium. RIU has already committed itself to financially support the symposium and several other donors are considering funding.

The call for contributions and the brochure for the symposium are attached herewith:

Please feel free to pass this on to other interested individuals and organizations. More information is found on the website www.innovation-asia-pacific.net Closing date for submission of abstracts is 20 December 2008.

innovation-asia_flyer-call-for-contributions1The organisers hope that this symposium will be as successful as the Innovation Africa Symposium that was co-organised in Uganda in November 2006 and contribute to promoting local innovation and innovations systems in agriculture and NRM.

img_1398.jpg I had the pleasure to co-facilitate the Learning Laboratory Planning Meeting of the Institutional Learning and Change (ILAC) Initiative here at CIAT, Colombia

Around 25 participants representing 8 different cases gathered to launch the so-called learning lab. The objective of the learning lab is to identify, support, draw and record lessons from promising collaborative pro-poor agricultural innovation programs.
Highly motivated and committed researchers and development workers from the CGIAR and partner organizations worked themselves through project network maps and change models based on the Participatory Impact Pathways Approach (PIPA) in order to identify opportunities for developing ILAC components into their existing projects and for joint learning within the group. Some of the areas of interest that came out of the exercises were: Capacity building in ILAC related topics, the evaluation of the projects as far as learning and change dynamics are concerned, and the support to policy influence of stakeholders, among others. 

Besides the PIPA methodology, we used lots of group discussion dynamics. In several opportunities, participants used cards to highlight or summarize their thoughts, suggestions, and reactions which were then sorted into categories that helped constantly visualize the possible focus for the learning lab activities.

A number of participants had been invited as external resource persons, which generated very useful moments of reflections within the group.

Participants had overall very positive comments about the workshop design, the PIPA methodology, the value of the resource persons, and in general the value of sharing experiences among projects, Centers, and continents.

img_1245.jpg CIAT has started its strategic planning process. As an entry point and a way to involve all staff, the Center invited to a visioning exercise using the future story methodology. The expected outcome was to collect stories that focus on possible future developments of CIAT and that are based in staff perceptions of CIAT’s strengths. Sessions have been held in regional offices in Asia and Africa, and also at Headquarters where partners where additionally invited to contribute in an extra session. Throughout those 5 sessions 14 future stories have been collected and are now analyzed. The stories will feed into the Center’s annual meeting to be held in two weeks time where possible scenarios for CIAT’s future will be discussed and analyzed. This was the process we have been facilitating:
Participants were invited to reflect individually about a time when they felt proud of CIAT as an institution and as a research center, and when they felt happy and proud of working at CIAT.  Those Appreciative Inquiry reflections were shared in small groups and summarized on cards. Each group took then time to write a story. Pretending being in 2012, participants imagined the path that CIAT went from now to 2012 and that led CIAT to be a successful research center. The stories were based on the individual reflections of participants “happy moments”.  

Have a look at our KS toolkit for more information on Storytelling and Appreciative Inquiry

For more information on Future Stories see page 35 of SDC’s Story Guide: http://www.deza.ch/ressources/resource_en_155620.pdf