10 October 2007

WorldAgInfo 2007: International Symposium on Agricultural Education and Information Systems

The first of two workshops by the 'WorldAginfo' project was held at Cornell University from September 30-October 3, 2007.

The overall purpose is to explore and recommend support strategies (i.e. what can shift the system) for small-holder farmers in Africa and South Asia which may be funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others in the next decade. The first workshop focused on knowledge systems and included reports on site visits, background document literature reviews, short presentations followed by break-out group discussions, and fourpointer groups to synthesize learnings and suggest specific strategies while considering sustainability and scalability issues.

Suggestions included: developing radio programs using local people but associated with universities, strengthening farmer-to-farmer extension and training community knowledge workers, building national and regional market systems, training women as knowledge intermediaries, and supporting development of relevant local content for an “Ag Universe” repository.

Themes identified for further consideration were: (1) empowerment of village knowledge workers and women, (2) access and connectivity (radio and mobile phones); (3) information repositories (with local market and weather information); (4) a “new” agricultural university (with revamped curriculum, ability to respond rapidly to change, and close linkages with rural communities); (5) diversified and sustainable income models; (6) social network enhancement (cooperatives, radio forums, non-formal education); (7) global integration of knowledge and practice; (8) modular, real-time information; (9) new models of extension brokers linked to research/universities; and (10) digital knowledge access (capture of grey literature and local knowledge using Web 2.0 technologies).

A second workshop, to be held 11-16 November, will look at potential transformative delivery systems such as smart phones and PDAs, E-book devices, TV and radio broadcasts, and personal computers.

contributed by Barbara Hutchinson


Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home