25 August 2007

A 'Solution eXchange' for Indian agricultural practitoners

In India, agricultural development practitioners have used ICTs (mainly email discussions) to share experiences among the community on sustainable agricultural extension systems. The contributions of the community are brought together in a 'consolidated reply' that contributes to the knowledge base for future investments in the area.

This and other questions are shared online in a 'Solution eXchange' for agricultural development practitioners in India, part of a UN effort to address development challenges more effectively.

The project was described by Steve Glovinsky of the UN Country Team in India at the WITFOR 2007 conference in Addis Ababa. He illustrated how ICT's are being used to connect practitioners, share and document real life experiences, and catalyze collaboration to address problems posed.

The Solution eXchange is about connecting people. According to Glovinsky: "we go and find communities and add value to them." The Food and Nutrition Security community is convened with FAO in India.

The technical basis for each community is email; the exchanges facilitated are structured and heavily moderated so that conversations focus on "solutions, not opinions." Participants generaly pose questions and get responses from the community. Beyond this, the facilitation team provides a ‘consolidated reply’ at the end of each discussion phase.

In terms of impact, Glovinsky argues that the initiative "gets ideas that are already there into use." It explicitly recognizes that experiental knowledge is as important as expert knowledge. The approach captures experiences of practitioners, through emails and stories. It contributes to greater development effectiveness.


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