30 years

Tools for knowledge platforms

Tools used for knowledge platforms are likely to vary widely according to the target audience and will often involve a mix. For closed groups, such as the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), email discussion groups can be highly effective. Social media is especially useful in bringing a disparate group of people together, who may have different agendas. For farmers' organisations, Facebook has proved a useful channel, with Twitter being used around their major meetings and events. MSG also used Facebook to advertise the fact that it has developed a Green Growth Framework.

"Successful knowledge platforms do not simply rely on technology. It's a combination of technology, people, events and contacts," said Chris Addison, who develops knowledge platforms for CTA. "It's important to keep it simple to start with. Then people realise how valuable it is."

CTA is currently helping the Caribbean Association of Women Entrepreneurs to use knowledge platforms to strengthen its organisation. Plans are in hand to do a survey to identify what their members need and what kind of information they want to have. This is an important first step before the Centre can help the association to build a simple knowledge platform and train members in general skills for social media, potentially with an email discussion group and blog at its core.

In the Pacific, building on its existing knowledge platform, Samoan NGO Women in Business Development is showing the importance of matching suitable technologies with specific target users. This organisation supports family farming, linking small-scale producers to hotels and restaurants, so it was crucial to design something simple but effective. CTA recently began supporting development of a mobile phone-based knowledge platform that reinforces the existing platform and links the two groups for purchase and delivery. This platform includes restaurateurs and potentially tourists to promote local recipes and ingredients, a tool that can help to match supply and demand between farmers and their buyers.