Knowledge management

An open Letter to Agricultural Students

MY dear friend Emmie Kio from Kenya had put up this open letter on her blog. I totally agree with her and found it worth sharing with you all . Enjoy reading ..

 

Dear Agricultural students,

“Go to the University and get yourself a degree.Be grateful that you got a chance to be part of the team” . This is just one of the many statements you will encounter in your path to learning that agricultural course . 


Its these statements that will make you feel awful as to why you didn’t get that Medicine position that you so hoped to and what you never thought of choosing during the JAB selection process turns out to be what you get. Now this is what happens. Agricultural sciences have been degraded in the past often being given the last option.During the JAB courses allocation, when all  other disciplines have their fill  the remaining un-allocated  students are lumped in to the Agricultural sciences as very few students pick them as their first choice.


Well you have no choice. You go with what is written in black and white. Three weeks after commencing your studies, your classmates  will do inter-faculty transfers with a majority of them blindly escaping to Faculty of Arts, BA to be specific. They cite reasons like Economics students have the say in campus when it comes to dressing and partying. Don’t despair. You never came to school for dressing or partying reasons. You came to gain knowledge. You neighbors and some family members will also be on your neck disapproving your choice of  career, telling you how scanty jobs are in the agricultural arena.Listen to their concerns and be wise enough to settle on the best decision. And while at it, be bold enough to tell them that as farmers ………….

For without food there’s basically nothing the economist or the technology person can do. They all depend on farmers for daily sustenance. So imagine what happens when a new generation of farmers isn’t raised to replace the old one? I bet you must have read that the average age of a farmer in Kenya is above 55 years of age constituting mostly of the old and retired. So what will happen when there’s no one to continue the farming profession?We shall all starve and die, right? Or maybe manufacture our food in the laboratories.

In addition to showing that you aren’t in the scam of professions, consider Prince Williams ,the Duke of Cambridge, who chose to enroll  himself  for an Agricultural Management course at Cambridge University so as to gain a deeper understanding of  issues affecting Agricultural businesses and rural communities in the UK. And it doesn’t end there. We have  celebrities the likes of Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Russell Crowe all preferring to get down in their farms.
(Olawale OJO- And even D’banj in Nigeria)

“I don’t think any place of dirt anywhere in the world means more to me than this.” 
Russell Crowe


So, Why am i saying this?


Its basically to show you that you are what you believe you are. And any career is as important as you deem it right in your mind. Passion is what it takes to be what you want to be and to be gracefully good while at it and job opportunities will follow you. And that is regardless of what people will tell you about the farming career. Let it come from within you.


Enough said so,……..




Yours’ farming

E.K

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More family than team

By Nawsheen Hosanelly

One of the main highlights of the ICT4Ag conference held in Kigali, Rwanda on 4–8 November 2013 was the presence of an on-site social reporting team. Dressed in their white social reporting T-shirts, these dynamic young people from 11 ACP countries were constantly visible – taking notes on key points from the sessions, participating in discussions, posting live tweets, and taking video interviews and photos of panellists and other conference delegates.

The engagement of youth in agriculture and rural development is a key factor for the sector’s sustainability and future. That’s why CTA has been involving youth in its activities through various projects and programmes (on ICT, policy, value chain, and science and technology, for example) for the past years, and has recently developed a youth strategy to better integrate them.

The main reason for having a social reporting team at the ICT4Ag conference was to raise awareness about the conference streams, sessions and topics before, during and after the event. More importantly, by training and involving youth in social reporting, CTA aimed to strengthen their capacity and that of the organisations they are affiliated with on the use of Web 2.0 tools and social media for social reporting.

Massive interest  

There were more than 500 applications from different countries following a call for social reporters in August 2013. This demonstrated substantial interest on the part of the youth for social reporting and their willingness to learn more on ICT for agriculture.

‘When I applied to do social reporting at the ICT4ag conference, I didn’t really know what to expect or what kind of experience was awaiting me,’ said Catherine Banda from Malawi at the two-day training on social reporting in Kigali. Indeed, it was the first time that CTA had an official social reporting team at its annual international conference. And it was going to be a new experience for the whole team, including the social reporters and CTA.

CTA contracted a social reporting coordinator to lead the social reporting team. Ultimately, 15 reporters were selected to form the on-site team, and around 250 others formed part of a larger online team. CTA compiled a mailing list with 270 contacts that served as the main communication channel between the social reporting coordinator and the social reporters. The discussions immediately revealed  how diverse the group was in terms of geography and also their involvement in agriculture and ICTs.

‘Since all of us on this list have interesting experiences with agriculture and ICTs,’ asked one of the social reporters, ‘why don’t we discuss the challenges in agriculture, provide examples of how ICTs are being used to address them and propose recommendations for the issues that still need to be addressed?’

These were the types of online discussions that took place in both English and French before the ICT4ag conference. They were moderated by two social reporters from the online team. It was a very fruitful activity as many ideas and experiences were shared from various countries and regions. The report of the e-discussion is currently being finalised and will be published soon on the conference social reporting blog.

Both the on-site team and the online team had specific reporting tasks at the conference. The on-site team attended a two-day training on social reporting in Kigali prior to the conference. They were exposed to the different tools that would be used during the conference, as well as who the target audience was and how to package and disseminate the content via different channels.

The social reporters also worked with the conference Knowledge Management (KM) team. ‘We don’t want to have a lot tweets or blog posts with content that doesn’t bring much value. Concentrate on the examples of innovations shared, the secret ingredient that made an initiative or innovation successful, lessons learnt and the actions taken to make it happen,’ Pete Cranston of the KM team told the social reporters during the training.

The pay-off  

The coordination team for social reporting observed a stark improvement in quality of the work delivered by the social reporters before and after the on-site training in Kigali, both in the tweets they sent and in the writing on the blog posts. At least two reporters were assigned to each session during the conference. While they sent tweets, took photos and videos, and wrote blog posts, they also had the opportunity to interact with speakers and chairs from the sessions.

Meanwhile, while the on-site team was busy producing and publishing content, the online team was helping to disseminate the information through various channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube). The social reporting coordinator continuously checked to ensure that everything was going as planned on-site and online.

The young social reporters really impressed at the conference. They were always the first ones to come to a session and the last ones to leave. The team worked around the clock, many of them sleeping just three or four hours a day to make sure they submitted their blog post and other content on time.

During the closing ceremony and gala dinner, the conference organisers gave the hard-working social reporters the recognition they deserved. They received their certificates in the presence of the Rwandan Minister of Youth and ICT, the Rwandan Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, the director of CTA and other distinguished delegates.

According to social media tracker Keyhole, from the month preceding the conference to its end, the event generated 12,322 posts, 1,910 unique users, 14,080,542 views and reached 2,536,835 people. For a first experience, these statistics are very encouraging and the contribution of each and every social reporter, whether online or on-site, was crucial to the success of the social reporting process.

While the figures showed the outreach of the social reporting team, for those who were involved in this activity it was a real learning and sharing experience. Everyone brought some form of knowledge and experience on social media, but all left with a wealth of skills that they will use in our activities, both personally and professionally. As on-site reporter Riten Gosai from Fiji said on the last day on the conference: ‘We came here as the social reporting team and are leaving as a family!’

 

Nawsheen Hosenally is ICT4Ag associate at the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) in Wageningen, the Netherlands.

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CAADP Agricultural Technical Vocational Education and Training (ATVET )

Five success factors of large-scale skills development in agriculture

In 2012, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) launched a new project, “Promotion of Technical Vocational Education and Training for the Agricultural Sector in Africa (CAADP ATVET)” with the support of the German Government through GIZ. The project is expected to have a total duration of six to seven years. In a first two-year phase (2012/2013) the programme will work at a continental level (NPCA) and in two pilot countries (Ghana and Kenya). The aim will be to develop and implement market-oriented qualification measures, as well as coherent concepts to incorporate agricultural technical vocational training components into the national education systems. The expansion of value chain approaches in development strategies calls for the adequate qualification both of the value chain actors and the implementing institutions.

Why ATVET?

CAADP ATVET helps to create more coherent policies for agricultural education and training in Africa, particularly for women and young people who are the most valuable asset for Africa’s future. CAADP ATVET fills a thematic gap in the current CAADP process and has a strong potential to contribute to achieving the CAADP goals of agricultural sector growth, generating rural income and reducing poverty.

The project objective is to integrate agricultural vocational and technical education into the CAADP process of selected countries. The project focuses on three support areas, namely:

– Knowledge management and survey of approaches, sharing of information and best practices of ATVET in Africa;

– Anchoring of ATVET in the African Union (AU) structures and in the CAADP country processes;

– Developing and assessing of pilot qualification measures for farmers, the youth, employed persons and service providers at a national level.

Enhancing agricultural qualification through CAADP ATVET will eventually improve the job perspectives in African agricultural value chains. Business and technical skills and abilities which meet private sector needs are important to further promote the implementation of national agricultural investment plans at country level.

For whom and with whom?

ATVET is mainstreamed in the CAADP process. The bilateral GIZ programmes in the implementing countries offer technical support to the countries. The aim is to design appropriate measures to address the gaps in the vocational and technical education within the agricultural investment plans with the cooperation of the CAADP team and agricultural private sector associations, individual private companies, farmer organisations, training service providers and development partners.

Source -http://www.caadp.net