January 2011 Newsletter "The Year in Review: 2010"
During the year 2010 e-Agriculture Community members collaborated together bringing into place various successful events and achievements, such as a series of multi-lingual online discussion forums, face to face events, new publications, policy briefs, and most notably, the launch of a new e-Agriculture web platform. The achievements summarized here represent the combined efforts and valuable inputs of members of the e-Agriculture Community from around the world.
THE NEW E-AGRICULTURE COMMUNITY WEBSITE
The launching of a totally new e-Agriculture.org website was the product of many months of dedication, planning and the combined efforts and contributions of members from all over the world.
This new website, powered by Drupal, an open source content management platform, takes advantage of unique approaches to online communication, and offers more innovative ways for knowledge exchange around the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for agricultural and rural development. In addition, the site will now facilitate the development of more effective and dynamic partnerships, connecting the e-Agriculture Community and its more of 7,000 members from more than 150 countries and territories.
The e-Agriculture Team officially launched the new English site during the international conference ICTD2010held in December, and presented some of its new features for collaboration and information exchange, such as:
- A Blogshowcasing a set of special contributions written by leaders of the Community. This new Blog has been implemented in order to allow all members to more easily share information about their work and interests in reference to the use of ICTs for agricultural practices and rural development.
- A new Forum Section, presenting the results of the first online discussion using the new platform. “ICT for Rural Economic Development” was organized by GTZ and hosted on the new platform prior to the official launch.
- A new Members Sectionwith functional profiles, which allows individuals to interact, collaborate, share experiences, and expand their collective understanding of key issues in the field of ICTs for development.
New content and functionalities will continue to be added to the platform during this new year, hence your feedback and participation is greatly valued! We invite you to take a look at the new e-Agriculture websiteand to update your profile, or to quickly create a new accountfirst if you are not a member of this growing Community yet.
NEW ONLINE FORUMS AND POLICY BRIEFS OF 2010
In its simplest form, knowledge sharing is about starting constructive dialogue. The e-Agriculture Forum is the heart of discussion for Community members. Dialogue has been an essential part of the growth of the Community in 2010. This year’s series of successful online discussions held on the e-Agriculture platform included:
"MOBILE TELEPHONY IN RURAL AREAS - PERSPECTIVES FROM LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN"
The policy brief for the forum “Mobile Telephony in Rural Areas - Perspectives from LAC” was published in English, Spanish, and French. This forum was promoted extensively through Latin American partners, development networks, and community members, and it brought approximately 450 new members to the Community during a three week period, with a total of 266 contributions posted in the forum. The discussions explored the potential of mobile telephony for development, specifically to create economic opportunities and strengthen social networks.Subject Matter Experts included:
- Roxana Barrantes - Institute of Peruvian Studies, Peru
- Marcelo Galarza - Chasquinet Foundation, Ecuador
- Karel Novotny - Knowledge and Capacity Building Coordinator, Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
- Danilo Piaggesi, (IADB)
- Roxanna Samii, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD)
"GENDER, ICTs, AND RURAL LIVELIHOODS"
GenARDIS took the lead in this special online forum held in English which brought together participants from all over the world to discuss the challenges faced when implementing projects aimed at empowering women in ICT in relation to rural livelihoods. The policy brief was published in July in English, French and Spanish.
Subject Matter Experts who shared their insight and also discussed the area of capacity development included:
- Oumy Ndiaye, Manager, Communication Services Department, (CTA) Senegal/The Netherlands
- Fatema Labony, Research Associate (M&E), D.Net (Development Research Network) Bangladesh
- Sarah Mpagi, Program Officer, Knowledge Management and Research, Ugabytes, Uganda
- Eliane Najros, Senior Project Manager/DIMITRA, FAO, Italy
- Hannah Beardon, Independent Consultant in participatory approaches and ICT4D, Spain
- Sophia Huyer, Founding Executive Director, (WIGSAT), Canada
- Anupama Saxena, Director Women’s Studies & Development Centre, Guru Ghasidas University, India
"THE ROLE OF ICTs IN IMPROVING AGRICULTURAL VALUE CHAINS"
The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation (IICA) hosted an online forum in Spanish, which discussed the possibilities of improving competitiveness in agricultural value chains through ICTs. The discussions centered on the key opportunities and challenges when interventions are designed to use ICTs in agricultural chains. This virtual forum provided an opportunity to exchange knowledge on good practices and expectations for future challenges. The forum also explored the critical functions of government authorities, service providers and the farming community in general. The Policy Brief was published in August inSpanish and English (French coming soon!). Subject Matter Experts included:
- Francine Brossard, Difusión Innovación Agraria, Ministerio de Agricultura- Chile
- Leonardo Cordero Jenkins, Consultor Agromática. (Proyecto PLATICAR), Costa Rica
- Luis F. Palmer, International Reports-Section Head (USDA), U.S.A
- Laura Ramírez, Jefa Departamento Transferencia de Tecnologia (INTA)
- José A. Silva, INIA Gerente Vinculación Tecnológica, Uruguay
- Carlos Téllez, Director Información Agropecuaria SIA. Corporación Colombia International.
"THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT OF ICT IN RURAL AREAS"
Organized by GTZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), this online was a continuation of the face-to-face conference on “ICT for Rural Economic Development” held in Berlin, in November 2010.
e-Agriculture members shared their insights online about methods for planning, monitoring and analysis of ICT4D projects, and ways to make information on this widely accessible and available so that future projects would benefit from our experiences. The results of this forum were presented at ICTD2010 in December.
Featured inputs in the online forum came from:
- Jenny Akers (Tufts University)
- Arafat Hossain (Katalyst Bangladesh)
- Roxanna Samii (IFAD)
- Anton Mangstl (FAO)Valerie D’Costa (InfoDev)
SPECIAL EVENTS OF 2010
During the year key events were organized globally with the aim to enable personal networking and facilitate knowledge exchange among institutions and individuals. e-Agriculture members joined the collaborative efforts of the following events around the world:
"ICT4D: AGENDAS FOR THE FUTURE" PRESENTATION BY DR. TIM UNWIN
Dr. Tim Unwin, UNESCO Chair in ICT4D, Director of the ICT4D Collective, and Professor of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London visited FAO Headquarters in Rome during the month of February, where he made this special presentation. The event, which was co-hosted by the e-Agriculture Team, FAO’s Office of Knowledge Exchange, Research and Extension (OEKC) and the KM4Dev-Rome group, explored the following topics:
- The work at the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D
- Delivering the ICTD2010 conference and why affiliate bodies are so important
- Dr. Unwin’s own research agendas in this field, with a special focus on working with street children and people with disabilities
i4d MAGAZINE: E-AGRICULTURE ISSUE
i4d is a premier magazine on ICTs published by CSDMS (Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies) in India. In April, i4d in partnership with the e-Agriculture Community to publish a Special Issueon the topic of e-agriculture, which showcased ten articles detailing recent advances in agricultural and rural development from around the world through the innovate use of ICT.
PANEL ON ICT4D FRAMEWORKS AT IAALD WORLD CONGRESS
The IAALD XIII World Congress took place in Montpellier, France in April with a focus on “Scientific and Technical Information and Rural Development: Highlights of Innovative Practices”. This special event brought together leading practices and established models of ICT in rural development and livelihoods. Members of the e-Agriculture Community, with organizational support from FAO and IICD, organized a session on “e-Agriculture Perspectives: a Framework to Enhance Impact of ICT in Rural Development”. The five broad themesof the conference included:
- Theme 1: Innovative learning processes
- Theme 2: Targeted information products and services
- Theme 3: Communication and information exchange between actors
- Theme 4: Integrated information systems
- Theme 5: Information as a public policy enabler
A special journal publication of articles from the Congress is available online here.
WSIS FORUM AND STOCKTAKING
The WSIS Forum in May took place at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland and the e-Agriculture Community participated in a special panel sessionorganized by FAO and UNCTADon “ICT and Rural Enterprises”. This unique event combined the e-agriculture and e-business groups of the WSIS Forum in a session that allowed for open interaction with expert panelists, who, instead of presenting their own views, were reflecting on and responding to the experiences of the global audience on the critical role of ICT in rural enterprises in developing countries. A recorded video of the session is available online here.
EXPERT SESSIONS AT eINDIA
The three-day international conference and exhibition, eINDIA 2010 took place in August in Hyderabad, India, offering a platform for knowledge sharing in different domains of ICT for development. This conference facilitated multi-stakeholder partnerships and networking among governments, industry, academia and civil society organizations of different countries, with a special focus on Asia. The Conference focused on the topics of e-agriculture as one of the emerging application domains for ICT for Development, with participation from e-Agriculture Community members – insert link: http://www.eindia.net.in/2010/eAgriculture/index.asp
Videos of the sessions are available at here.
SEMINAR: “THE RURAL INFORMATION ECONOMY & ICTs”
Marking the October launch of the 2010 Information Economy Report “ICTs, Enterprises and Poverty Alleviation”, FAO’s Office of Knowledge Exchange, Research and Extension organized this special seminar, “The Rural Information Economy & ICTs” focusing on ICT and rural development and the issues in recognizing the importance of ICT in rural development, sharing good practices, common failures, and analyzing opportunities for further collaboration. The main presentations were made by:
- Torbjörn Fredriksson, Chief, ICT Analysis Section, UNCTAD presented the 2010 Information Economy Report.
- Michael Hamp, Senior Rural Finance Advisor and Head of the Financial Assets, Markets and Enterprise Development Unit of the Programme Management Department, IFAD presented “Enabling role of ICTs to transform smallholder farmers to entrepreneurs"
- Mike Robson, Plant Production and Protection Division, FAO presented “ICTs enhancing plant production at the field level”.
Their presentations can be found on the e-Agriculture SlideShare account.
E-CONFERENCE: "LEARNING REPOSITORIES & PORTALS RELATED TO AGRICULTURE, FOOD & THE ENVIRONMENT"
The AgLR Task Force with support from the e-Agriculture Community organized an English language online discussion “AgLR 2010 e-Conference: Quality Considerations for Learning Repositories and Portals related to Agriculture, Food and the Environment” in October. Various stakeholders involved in repositories and portals on agriculture, food and environment joined the online discussions, and shared guidance, standards, technologies, tools, recommendations, and good practices.
This e-Conference contributed to the creation of a common understanding of the quality considerations needed for all the stakeholders of repositories and portals on environmental issues in a face-to-face Conference held in Barcelona, Spain during October, 2010. Subject moderators included:
- Christian M. Stracke (e-Learning & Quality Management Expert, University of Duisburg-Essen)
- Jacqueline Wickham (Centre for Research Communications, Open Access Adviser)
- Stephanie Taylor (UKOLN, University of Bath)
- Lisa McLaughlin (OER Commons Manager - Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education; ISKME)
- Amee Evans Godwin (Director, Strategic Initiatives - Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education; ISKME)
Members of the e-Agriculture Community gathered at the ICTD 2010 Conference in December for a special session entitled “e-Agriculture Perspectives: Enhancing the Impact of ICT in Rural Development”.
The sessions were moderated by Stephen Rudgard, Chief of the Office of Knowledge Exchange, Research and Extension (OEKC) at FAO. Experts from the e-Agriculture Community engaged with the audience to discuss how ICT can enable rural economic development, leading to poverty reduction and sustainable rural livelihoods, looking at the key role of partnerships, and how different stakeholders contribute to these ends. Presenters and panellists included:
- Scarlett Fondeur Gil, ICT Analysis Section, UNCTAD;
- Shahroz Jalil, Director, Katalyst Bangladesh;
- Sonia Jorge, Research Director, Pyramid Research;
- Harsha Liyanage, Managing Director, Sarvodaya-Fusion;
- Pierre Lucante, Head of GTZ Sector Project ICT4D;
- Sapna Narula, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Policy and Planning, TERI University;
- Oumy Ndiaye, Head of Communication Services, CTA;
- Michael Riggs, e-Agriculture Lead and Knowledge & Information Management Officer, FAO;
- Stijn van der Krogt, Director Country Programmes, IICD.