Title: Universal access wheel: towards achieving universal access to ICT in Africa Author: T. Oyedemi Source: The Southern African Journal of Information and Communication 5: (6)Date: 2004This paper argues against the idea that simply providing access to information and communication technology devices and infrastructures in semi-urban, rural and remote locations has accelerated the universal service and access programme in Africa. In doing this, the paper takes a holistic approach to extending information and communication technology services. This approach recognises the socio-cultural landscape and also notes that information and communication technology service extension should work in tandem with extension of other social utilities. A universal access wheel is conceptualised, which proposes that various elements should be in place, in order to achieve the goal of universal access, specifically in Africa. The paper revisits the diverse meanings of universal service and access; it analyses the importance of providing access to information and communication technology services in developing regions of the world, such as Africa. The universal access wheel does not project totality; rather it provides flexibility and dynamism typical of the information and communication technology sector. Consequently, as other elements and issues arise, they may be added to the wheel.
This multimedia book reports on an initiative in West Africa that seeks to create safe spaces in which food providers and consumers can discuss how to build an agri-food research system that is democratic and accountable to wider society. An explicit aim of the entire process is to strengthen the voices and effectiveness of small-scale producers and other citizens in the governance of agricultural research as well as in setting strategic research priorities and validating knowledge. The book combines text, photos, video and audio recordings to describe the methodologies used in processes of deliberation and inclusion that involved small scale producers (farmers, pastoralists, fishermen and food processors) and holders of specialist knowledge on agricultural research. This multimedia publication is available online and will be printed as a hardcopy book in early 2011.
The Agroecological Knowledge toolkit (AKT5) software was developed by the Bangor University (Wales, UK) in conjunction with the Department of Artificial Intelligence at Edinburgh University (http://akt.bangor.ac.uk/index.php.en?menu=0&catid=0). The Bangor University of Wales is a leading institution in the development of a knowledge-based systems methodology to acquire and use local knowledge in research and development. The AKT5 system is primarily concerned with gathering local ecological knowledge (LEK). Local ecological knowledge refers to what people know about their natural environment, based primarily on their own experience and observation.It was designed to provide an environment for knowledge acquisition in order to create knowledge bases from a range of sources. It The AKT5 allows representation of knowledge elicited from farmers and scientists or knowledge abstracted from written material. The use of formal knowledge representation procedures offers researchers the ability to evaluate and utilise the often complex, qualitative information relevant stakeholders have on agroecological practices.Visit: http://www.worldagroforestrycentre.org/af2/akt5
Fully and freely available on the web (at www.ictinagriculture.org), the ICT in Agriculture e-Sourcebook, Connecting Smallholders to Knowledge, Networks, and Institutions is purposed to support development practitioners in exploring the use of or designing, implementing, and investing in information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled agriculture interventions. The book is a compilation of modules related to 14 agricultural subsectors. Each module covers the challenges, lessons learned, and enabling factors associated with using ICT to improve smallholder livelihoods in these subsectors. Over 200 examples and case studies across the regions are presented in the text.
CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Working Paper no. 12. 2011.The analogues approach connects sites with statistically similar (‘analogous’) climates, across space (i.e. between locations) and/or time (i.e. with past or future climates). A CCAFS dissimilarity index or Hallegatte index can be used to systematically identify climate analogues across the world, for certain regions, or among specific locations. Users may use default criteria or choose from a variety of global climate models (GCMs), scenarios, and input data. Once analogue sites are identified, information gathered from local field studies or databases can be used and compared to provide data for further studies, propose high-potential adaptation pathways, facilitate farmer-to-farmer exchange of knowledge, validate computational models, test new technologies and/or techniques, or enable us to learn from history. Users may manipulate the tool in the free, open-source R software, or access a simplified user-friendly version online.http://ccafs.cgiar.org/sites/default/files/assets/docs/ccafs-wp-12-climate-analogues-web.pdf
This publication by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) gathers several reports from developing countries on how ICTs are and can be applied to help communities experiencing water-related stress adapt to climate change. Drawing on current experiences in the field of water management and sustainability, the perspective of the authors is primarily from the ICT for development (ICT4D) sector. The reports should be considered exploratory, offering a fresh perspective to the field of agricultural water security in vulnerable contexts.
Special report: Social academia Since the emergence of the web 15 years ago, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become indispensable for most researchers. Email and online access to public or restricted databases have become essential tools, allowing academics to keep in touch with their peers and up to date with the latest developments. Widely dispersed research groups can now easily coordinate their work online by means of Skype conference calls. Within some sections of the academic community there is considerable hesitation to adopt web 2.0 applications for social networking through blogs, wikis, twitter and sites such as Facebook and YouTube. Granted, some academics, including a few professors, now write personal blogs, but in general, researchers seem reluctant to enter the realm of social networks, and to start using web 2.0 tools for producing collaborative reports, sharing work in progress or publishing their results. There are perhaps three major obstacles. First, the formal system of peer review to guarantee the quality of research is at odds with the informal and much more open ways of communicating via online social networks. The second obstacle is the ‘publish or perish’ rule – researchers must publish in peer-reviewed subscription journals in order to further their academic careers. This does not fit well with philosophy behind social networking that all knowledge should be freely available. Finally, the ambition of all researchers to publish their findings before anyone else, and to secure potentially profitable intellectual property rights, discourages them from sharing work in progress on platforms that are open to all. Rewriting Research A growing number of academics are using web 2.0 tools such as blogs and wikis to share their findings, discuss new developments, and find new ways for collaborative research. How does this open and informal medium fit with traditional academic processes? Although there are still some significant hurdles to be overcome, as well as doubts, web 2.0 represents more than just a new technology. Its widespread use, including by academics, may offer solutions to many existing problems, as well as open up new prospects for communicating research