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There are various needs to more effectively facilitate the flows of information among the CCRP’s many farmer research networks (FRNs), as well as the other stakeholders and information sources of relevance to their work on agroecological intensification (AEI). An effective system must respond to the needs and interests of the farmers, facilitators, and researchers involved in the FRNs, and it must invite a broader set of users to engage in the wider AEI process.
The design of an effective information system calls for a human-centered approach. Key characteristics of the FRN Information System (FRN InfoSys) include: stakeholder participation in design and build-out of the system; information in the system responds to demand; supports building of a shared toolkit; shared findings contribute to a growing evidence base; and the system contributes to facilitating local and global AEI transitions. The system’s central stakeholders are envisaged to be farmers, but the most direct users could be FRN facilitators. Researchers and the global AE community would contribute and would also benefit from the information system.
As a core part of its strategy to implement farmer centered research, the CCRP has been supporting the development of farmer research networks (FRNs) that bring together farmers, development practitioners and researchers. The CCRP now supports more than 30 FRNs, and the program envisages that FRNs have the potential to contribute importantly to the local and global evidence base needed to support agroecological transitions.
For this contribution to reach its full potential, there is a need to design effective ways of exchanging information among FRNs and other stakeholders. An FRN-InfoSys should facilitate sharing of agroecological and process information to and from FRNs, based on evidence of demand.
The CCRP’s vision calls for a FRN information system that:
- Links local and global research on agroecology, including FRN-based research;
- Connects FRNs in a global network of networks with access to a basket of options (agroecological practices, as well as FRN processes and tools);
- Enhances access to a basket of options for farmers, farmer groups, and FRNs;
- Allows people to share experiences and evidence; and
- Continuously improves the supply of options (processes and practices that do or do not work).
Outputs and Outcomes:
Conduct qualitative research
- Stakeholder interviews, including CCRP leadership and facilitators from each major region
- In-context shadowing/interviews of FRN facilitators in Western Kenya, along with FRN participants and other stakeholders
Conduct secondary research
- What are analogous models from around the world from which we can learn?
- What farmer + extension networks are working well and why?
- What types of platforms and network tools might we consider?
Convene mashup/synthesis workshop
- Take learnings (interviews + secondary research) and synthesize into clear opportunities to take forward
Compile learnings plus three approaches to prototype + test
- Present how FRNs are working today and a point of view on next steps
- Provide sketches/wireframes of platforms to prototype
- Offer strategy for refining/adapting/scaling the toolkit
- Offer suggestions for possible partnerships