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CTA at the Africa Open Data Conference, 2017 – developing capacity for open data in agriculture and nutrition

August 4, 2017

During the recently held 'Africa Open Data Conference', Accra, Ghana (17-21 July 2017), CTA, as part of the GODAN Action project activities conducted a one-day workshop on 'Open Data in Agriculture and Nutrition' on Tuesday, 19th July 2017.

The objectives of the workshop were to:

  • build the understanding of the principles of open data;
  • discuss the potential of using and publishing open data in agriculture and nutrition in Africa in a responsible manner;
  • promote the economic and social value of opening up agricultural and nutritional data with cases and shared experiences from the participants.

An additional key objective was the testing for validation and improvement of the face-to-face training material currently being developed for capacity building activities.

The participants benefited from the training and gained an increased understanding of open data principles and the potential benefit as well as barriers. They engaged in a positive way and shared their cross cultural and practical in-country examples of how open data is being used and what challenges still lie ahead for the different stakeholders across agriculture value chains and data ecosystems. These participants have gone on to join a recent initiative called the Agriculture Capacity Development Initiative (AACDI) which will take forward the capacity development agenda of GODAN Action.

Agriculture Capacity Development Initiative (AACDI) officially announced
A capacity development driver for the GODAN Action Network of Trainers

An alumnus of a previous GODAN Action training workshop, Mr Kiringai Kamau announced and launched the AACDI during the conference. This is an African initiative of the Centre for Agricultural Networking and Information Sharing (CANIS), University of Nairobi College for Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (CAVS) Africa, which will be key in driving the GODAN Action capacity building agenda.

The initiative is well aligned to the work GODAN Action is undertaking - building the capacity and diversity of open data users and intermediaries, leading to increased understanding and more effective use of data in tackling key agriculture and nutrition challenges.

The workshop participants were subsequently added to the network. The announcement and call led to subsequent sessions and meetings with interested potential members. This led to the network increasing by 20 members by the end of the conference.

This approach to delivering training through a network of trainers will have the impact of supporting the sustainability of the GODAN Action project by providing a platform for longer term actions and scaling up the capacity development of knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary so that the potentially huge benefits of agriculture can be realised.

Releasing agriculture and nutrition data will encourage cooperation and collaboration to solve long-standing and evolving problems, benefit farmers, provide informed decision-making for businesses and policymakers and will improve the health of consumers. It is believed that providing better access to accurate, timely information for policy makers, farmers and the private sector can help in shaping a more sustainable agriculture future with evidence-based solutions, contributing at the same time to a more transparent decision-making.

Plans are underway for the network to deliver a training workshop in Nairobi, Kenya in October 2017. An online platform for the network will be made available on the Dgroups platform for trainers to engage, share material, best practices and plans for future trainings. Through GODAN Action, small training grants will be made available for training activities:

  • For either: (1) information intermediaries (ICT professionals, farmers' organisations, journalists, librarians, extensionists, etc.) (2) Researchers or (3) Policy makers.
  • Along the theme of open weather data - 2017
  • Along the theme of land data and the global nutrition report - 2018The objectives of the workshop were to:
    • build the understanding of the principles of open data;
    • discuss the potential of using and publishing open data in agriculture and nutrition in Africa in a responsible manner;
    • promote the economic and social value of opening up agricultural and nutritional data with cases and shared experiences from the participants.