Share Fair on Networking Tools – 5th Agriculture Science Week and Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) General Assembly

The share fair on networking tools was a side event organised by task force of RAILS and DONATA at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso the venue for this year’s Agriculture Science Week where I presented CGMap Ongoing Research in Africa (http://ongoing-research.cgiar.org/) on Monday 19th in a session on Tools to facilitate synergies among partners of similar interests.

The objectives of this meeting were

  1. Learn and share co-creation and co-learning concepts to build and strengthen knowledge networks
  2. Provide space for FARA’s national partners to share networking tools used to coordinate, facilitate or manage country platforms.
  3. Listen and learn from international initiatives on how they empower local communities across Africa
  4. Understand how research knowledge can compliment local, regional and continental initiatives

Why CGMap Ongoing Research in Africa?

1. big numbers of disparate information management systems in the CG

2. little or no integration or coordination

3. clearer picture of the research in the region

4. Reduce unhealthy competition

5. Reduce redundancy and overlap

Ongoing Research in Africa has information on the projects done by the CGIAR Centers in Africa, with details including: who the project scientists are, what the project time line is, who are the project partners and external links to related websites and documents among others. Currently there are 309 projects listed in the map representing an average 86% of the information from all CGIAR Centers.

Some of the experiences in developing the tool

  • Difficulties in changing working cultures
  • Lack of tangible incentives to facilitate information and knowledge sharing
  • Diverse information need, thus the importance to focus on a particular area where there is an information gap to be filled
  • Agriculture information and knowledge sharing has not yet been widely adopted and put into practice

The presentation elicited a lot of positive interest and comments from the audience with many complementing the CG for this effort. There was a call for us to extend the lessons and experiences learnt to our partners in NARs and other development organizations.

Outcomes from the interactive discussion also include the below set of issues that need to be addressed to facilitate information sharing of the innovation complied by Krishan Beenick of SADC

  1. Documentation of the process of development of the innovative tool as a learning resource
  2. Description of the approach, methods, standards and protocols used enable evaluation by others prior to adoption
  3. Availability of the tool as a generic approach for use by other stakeholders (Creative Commons)
  4. Possible linkages of the innovative tool to other tools with similar concepts and purpose
  5. Offering a platform for further discussion on potential refinements and applications of the innovative use of technology

With this as a starting point, we intend to monitor the use and demands of the resource while extending the positive aspects of the map to our partners with the hope of having a linked information system of agriculture research that is done in Africa not only by the CGIAR but by all research partners!

Click here for CGIAR post of FARA; http://www.cgiar.org/meetings/fara2010/index.html

ICT-KM Blog entry; http://ictkm.cgiar.org/2010/07/26/african-carrots-results-of-a-consultation-at-the-african-agriculture-science-week/

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