26-29 April 2010, Montpellier, France
Scientific and Technical Information and Rural Development
Information scientifique et technique et développement rural
Highlights of Innovative Practices / Eclairages sur des pratiques innovantes
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5 speakers :
How can information contribute to innovative learning processes? Insight from a Farmer University in Brazil
1UMR Innovation, Cirad, France; 2UMR Tetis, Cirad, France;
Faced with the challenge of inventing new ways towards sustainable development, the capacity of societies to innovate appears as fundamental. A common assumption is that making more information available will encourage actors to develop new solutions. However, although science has never produced as much information as today and stakeholders have never had access to as many sources of information, this quantity of information sometimes appears as illusory. Information cannot always be used because it is not adapted and appropriated by the actors. It is necessary to invent new ways of mobilizing information in specific situations and develop the capacity of stakeholders to do so. How is it possible to encourage learning processes in which information truly fosters innovation?
To contribute to reflexion, we will bring insight from a Rural University (Universidade Camponesa – UniCampo), which aimed at developing the capacities of community leaders in a territory of the semi-arid region of Brazil. In such territories, social and economical information is often the monopoly of traditional elites. Adequate agronomical information is inexistent, being only available for productive zones. Local knowledge detained by the populations is often disdained, the banks and technical advisory services imposing their views.
At UniCampo, information adapted to the context was produced through research and experimentation, simultaneously reinforcing the actors’ knowledge and skills. This information, considered as legitimate by the actors involved as well as by other institutions in the territory, was used to suggest new development projects. Thus empowered, the community leaders started asking to be informed about the development policies in the territory, laying claim to accountability. The overall assessment of this experience shows that by enhancing the links between information systems, capacity building and governance systems, actors can learn to better mobilize information and thus suggest innovative ways for the sustainable development of their territory.
Targeted information products and services: Balancing stakeholder needs, learning, and strategy
CTA, Netherlands, The;
CTA’s core mission is to improve the information and communication management (ICM) capabilities of agricultural and rural development organisations in 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. In this article, we draw on CTA’s experience with providing a broad range of targeted agricultural information products and services for the past 25 years, to identify four guiding principles for designing and providing agricultural information products and services that meet the specific information needs of the intended users or user groups. One principle stands out: “always put the stakeholders (i.e. intended user or user groups) before the product or service”. The other three principles relate to different aspects of the interrelationship between the intended users and service providers, with the products or services themselves being of secondary importance. We suggest that information professionals and their respective organisations need to change their practices fundamentally, in particular, by being more strategic and rising to the challenge of becoming leaders in the development community. To be able to consistently adhere to these principles and take on these new roles, information professionals should first acquire the skills that will allow them to participate actively in planning, monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) on a regular basis.
Shaping Tomorrow’s Agriculture Today
The observatory of Algerian agricultural research: An integrated scientific information system as a public policy enabler
Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique, Algeria;
The information management in organizations has given rise to areas whose complexity can be compared to that of cities. The coexistence of information spaces -often fragmented and juxtaposed- and the magnitude of changes of all types -societal end technological- lead us to thinking about integration of information systems to meet multiple needs in a global vision. Although some analysts think it is utopian to postulate that a unique new system can gather all previous systems, new architectures enable the design of an intelligent global information system. To add value in a competitive environment, companies have to think about their information system in a more coherent and global way than organizations whose processes were fragmented, and where old applications were connected to more recent, or that of a partners’, within a more coherent and solid framework. This approach underlines the idea of a sustainable information system. This paper describes an original experience aimed at designing an integrated information system for agricultural research in Algeria. The project is based on an open source web platform within the SIST (Scientific and Technical Information System) project which was supported by French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. In a world where science is crucial for development and where knowledge and information are as important as manufacturing, we show how designing a scientific information system may transcend an initial and obvious objective of displaying results, to becoming a decision support tool for research activities, and therefore as a public policy enabler. By putting together main sources of information and knowledge - publications, laboratories, researchers - in a unique web platform, the observatory of Algerian Agricultural Research can be viewed as an effort to build a collective intelligence. In so doing, the project also serves as a tool in driving change within organizations.
L'Observatoire des Agricultures du Monde : pour une expertise collective sur la viabilité des agricultures.
Cette communication présente les options retenues pour construire une expertise collective internationale fondée sur la mise en réseau d’Observatoires nationaux ou régionaux par rapport aux questions posées par l’avenir des agricultures dans un monde où les ressources non renouvelables sont limitées et où la fragilité des ressources renouvelables est avérée. L’Initiative internationale Observatoire des Agricultures du Monde (OAM) doit être vue comme un processus se construisant par agrégation de porteurs d’intérêts. Un axe de coopération et de collaboration essentiel est le partenariat noué avec la FAO et l’accueil prévu de son Secrétariat exécutif de l’Initiative au sein de cette institution, à Rome. Ce qui fonde l’OAM, ce sont des principes dont nous avons essayé d’expliciter les modalités de mise en œuvre via un projet pilote du Cirad. Le refus d’un modèle standard défini ex ante n’est pas antinomique de l’impératif de concilier une analyse normée et une capacité d’adaptation aux diverses configurations institutionnelles, de partenariat et de collaboration avec les milieux académiques et les dispositifs d’information existant. Partir du niveau local et construire des dispositifs d’information partagés et maîtrisés par les acteurs tout en gardant une perspective globale sur les déséquilibres mondiaux en ayant le souci d’une action territoriale adaptée à la diversité des situations, telle est l’ambition de l’Initiative Internationale OAM.
Agropolis International publication - ISBN 978-2-909613-03-1
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