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Building an online platform for African Farmers organisations

February 25, 2014

CTA has been working with the Pan- African Farmers Organisation to build a platform to support discussion and exchange of information on policy with their members.

This is not a technical solution but is focused on the group of people forming a network of support amongst the KM staff of PAFO and the regional farmers organizations. PAFO has recognized the value of Knowledge management in its work from the start with it being one of the key pillars of their formative strategy and one of their first posts appointed being a knowledge manager.-

In 2014 the international year of family farming we are seeing how farmers organizations can benefit through Knowledge Sharing and KM approaches to increase their reach and the PAFO group is currently preparing a proposal to build on the work done last year.

CTA has worked through another African Farmers support organization FTA to support the development of the group to work together through the internet, combining group working with technical skills and technical solutions to support the first continental briefing held by PAFO.

In preparation for the meeting the platform developed last year was used to gather views on the following questions and present to a group online of over 250 members.

The following questions were posed to the group:

  • Do you think the farmer's organizations have improved their organizations skills and power to deal with new impacts affecting agriculture? Could you give some examples of successes?
  • What should farmer's organizations do better in future to drive the agricultural agenda in Africa? What challenges and opportunities do you see for PAFO? Do you have practical recommendations to strengthen this platform?

The findings were presented within the meeting and the KM managers given the opportunity to present their work at a panel on Knowledge Management as part of the briefing.


The websites

The new PAFO-Africa.org website developed with CTA assistance was launched at the briefing. As part of the development of the Pan African Farmers Organisation Knowledge platform the regional farmers organisations were supported in developing their websites to ensure content would be available across the network as a whole.

ROPPA for example won the award for best NGO website in Burkina Faso for their new website http://www.roppa-afrique.org/.

Perhaps the biggest transformation has been with PROPAC where they now have not only a new web platform but also new social media sites with support from this project and training from the web2fordev project of CTA. http://infopropac.org/

The project also provided support to build a reference of documents on policy issues drawn from the regional farmers organisations and to develop the PAFO website to feature these materials and supported EAFF and SACAU move more content online.

First Continental Briefing

Knowledge Management staff from the regional farmers organisations EAFF, PROPAC and ROPPA worked together on reporting the first African Continental Briefing online. For a team of 5 they attracted a lot of interest online for the meeting through Twitter and Facebook in particular with repostings from a number of journalists, other farmers organizations and international organizations.

The wealth of materials from the meeting can be found through the PAFO site with the individual channels shown below

http://www.pafo-africa.org

https://plus.google.com/113012089299830628896 (photos)

www.facebook.com/pafoafrica

www.slideshare.com/pafoafri (presentations, documents)

www.pafo-africa.net

Reaction

For the regional organizations who need to reach a broad range of their membership across great distances the role of the internet was appreciated but for national farmers organizations they still rely on print, media and face to face to reach thier audiences. It was clear in this case that more of the membership now have mobile phones and radios for communication and that National organizations use these media for communication, often in combination (dial in programs or text back).

Plans for 2014 include the Regional Organisations convening workshops to share their KM experiences and develop and share capacities with their national