Transcript Slide 1

eRAILs & KARI ICT Presentation
KARI Headquarters
30TH September 2013
Boniface Akuku
“We cannot become
what we need by
remaining what we
The project objective was to,
◦ undertake advocacy to encourage increased
investment in Agricultural Information Systems (AIS)
by African governments and institutions; improve
access to information and the ability of African
stakeholders to contribute to global agricultural
◦ facilitate synergies by linking African information
conduits to global providers of agricultural
information; and develop an African platform for
agricultural information and learning systems.
The concept of learning teams was introduced and
included members from multi-disciplinary section:
◦ Research, extension, agricultural line ministries,
academic institutions, farmer organizations, civil
society organizations and the private sector,
comprising of information professionals
◦ The RAILS learning teams were expected to serve as
facilitators of change, advocate for a learning culture
in agricultural research and development
◦ The learning teams were expected to build on
existing structures and use existing information
channels to coordinate and facilitate eRAILS project
activities in the country through leadership role
eRAILS Kenya focused mainly in ensuring that the
platform achieves its objective through;
◦ facilitation and mobilization of relevant local content and
particularly research outputs, local knowledge and
experiences from various Kenya stakeholders for
knowledge sharing;
◦ building capacity among the various stakeholders in
agriculture on managing and sharing knowledge using
the various ICT channels;
◦ training and empowering the learning teams members to
facilitate knowledge exchange among agricultural
research for development stakeholders within the
There are over 26 institutions from various
stakeholders ranging from: o
farmers’ organizations; (for example KENFAB)
extension: (for example Ujunga)
research institutions; (for example KARI, KEFRI)
education institutions, (for example Moi University)
Media, NGOs, government ministries, (for example KBC)
international organizations, (for example Biovisions)
the private sector
sub-regional organizations.
Ministry; (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Fishery)
The RAILS learning teams were expected to serve as facilitators of
◦ advocate for a learning culture in agricultural research and
development. In addition, the learning teams were expected to build
on existing structures and use existing information channels to
coordinate and facilitate eRAILS project activities in the country
through leadership role model.
◦ The responsibilities of learning teams included: facilitation of
information exchange among and within the NARS stakeholders and
the building of a national agricultural information and learning
◦ participation in the development of and maintenance of the national
contribution to the sensitization of NARS stakeholders on the use of
international information management and sharing standards;
◦ contribution to the building synergies, wherever possible, between
RAILS activities and national initiatives undertaken by national
partners and active participation in activities organized within the
The criteria for selecting members of the team were emphasized before conducting
elections through nomination and voting.
The following members were elected as the national (Kenya) Core Learning Team,
which later held a brief planning meeting
National Focal Point Person
(Assistant Director IMCT)
Boniface Akuku
Educational Institutions
Joel Musonik
Felicia Ndungu
Farmers Organization
George Odhiambo
Information Professional
Josephine Wareta
International Organization, NGO,
Development Partners
Anne Bruntse
Kenyan eRAILS Portal Administrator
Richard Kedemi
FARA through eRAILS supported
Kenya Agricultural Information Network (KAINet)
KAINet repository launched in 2009
 Provides online access to more than 15,000 records
 include grey literature held in agricultural institutions;
 Promotes open access among the KAINet institutions
 Provides linkages to other institutional sites such as
KARI’s ( and the Ministry of
Agriculture’s (
Support Received
 Fund
 Inception Workshop US $ 10,000
 First Phase US $ 10,000
 Second Phase US $ 24,000
 2 Servers
 10 notebooks
 4 computers
In progress
 Internet connectivity for 2 sites in Kenya
Inception of eRAILS Kenya
Establishment of Core Learning Team
Capacity Building (ToTs)
Awareness creations and sensitizations of the
eRAILS platform (promotions materials and
Documentation of best practices
Building of websites
Video documentary of success stories
Impact assessment done and findings reported
Some of the learning team members
came up proactive strategies to
address additional concept as value
addition to the eRAILS project.
These included: -
◦assessment of user needs,
◦delivering the content to the farmers
◦and awareness creation of the portal’s
existence through demonstration of
already existing information on the portal
as shown below.
Other approaches that
Use of eRAILS promotional
◦ eRAILS promotional materials
designed and distributed, these
promotional materials includes
among others a training manual
on how to open an account,
how to design a website and
upload content.
◦ Training brochure designed to
promote the Portal during
meetings, workshops and other
agricultural activities was very
successful and effective
Follow-up trainings were carried out in two
main parts of the country, central and
western with almost 40 persons attending.
The trainings were carried out by the learning
team, an indication that the first training of
trainers was successful.
The follow ups were planned to ensure that
content is uploaded onto the websites
created during the first trainings. As a result
of these strategies, more awareness was
created on the eRAILS platform and a number
of sites were loaded with content.
A farmer from Western Kenya Mr. Hasa Omutelema of
Ebuhuka focal group in EMUHAYA district VIHIGA
County has greatly achieved as far as improved soil
fertility management is concerned after getting
information from e-RAILS Portal on Ecological Organic
Agriculture (EOA)
The country’s Focal Person took the initiative in
ensuring that RAILS and DONATA in the
country have coordinated activities including
the implementation of the Local Area Networks
and Internet Connectivity at DONATA sites
where QPM and OSPF project were
Training of DONATA teams and follow up
meetings with both DONATA focal persons in
both sites coupled with joint activities ensured
that DONATA content is uploaded onto the site.
Quality content uploaded: Over 150 websites created, with
majority having good relevant content.
eRAILS Video documentary: Success stories in Kenya : Detailed
video documentaries recorded covering success stories of the
platform, these documentaries included farmers, experts, eRAILS
country focal point persons, and eRAILS voucher system.
Impact assessment and project evaluation: The Kenya e RAILS
country focal person and a team of core learning team members
conducted an impact assessment and project evaluation in
attempt to ascertain the level of impact, the other objective of
this exercise was to enumerate the challenges and limitations
that should inform future project involvement.
Strong DONATA and eRAILS linkages: A strong linkage was
established between the two sister projects and success stories
documented from both projects.
Collaborations and Networking's linkages: Strong linkages were
established via the Core Learning Teams between different
stakeholders in the agriculture sector.
Knowledge and information source: - The platform
provided vital knowledge and information with practical
reported cases of improved agricultural production and
income from farmers who obtained shared knowledge
from the portal and applied the knowledge with
fantastic results (see video documentaries).
Notebook acquisition: - The project received ten
notebook computers which were given to core learning
teams and has been useful in training and content
Internet services provision and Local area network: The project received internet provision and local area
network in two sites where DONATA are very strong.
Web 2.0 tools capacity built: - Knowledge
management skills were developed during the
various training sessions.
Core Learning Team
◦ More Farmers organizations should have been invited
◦ More time allocated for the training session
Opening accounts without subsequent content
posting/website development was identified as a
source of failure
Slow uploading of images and video clips
Lack of standard formats presentation of info
Lack of operational protocol for clients, LT and
Lack of records/statistics of visits to the portal
Resources to facilitate Learning Team meetings
and activities
The need of MOU’s (binding/commitment of
institutions to post content onto the portal)
Lack of awareness about eRAILS hence need for
promotional activities
Varied and/or limiting level of ICT capacity among
the various stakeholders
Wider knowledge of resources, potentials, and
Enhanced partnerships and collaboration-Dgroups
Enhanced outreach and technology transfer
Improved ICT based info sharing
Reduced duplication of efforts
Increased innovations
Increased awareness
Increased expertise sharing
Approving or rejecting accounts is challenging
considering the varied information presented.
Need for website validation/holding stage before
launching them online- to avoid emptiness.
Time allocation/availability for eRAILS is assumed
dormancy of Learning team
Staffing needs- esp administration anticipated
Follow-up on content generations and uploading.
strengthening ICT human resource capacity among
create and promote awareness about the use of
emerging ICTs in dissemination of agricultural
catalyse partnerships among key information
professionals and organizations to promote information
sharing e.g. using group tools and other available
actively work with multiple stakeholders to improve
information generation, processing and dissemination
There is need to increase content from
stakeholders. This calls for substantive
framework on generating content, packaging
and sharing of information.
There is need to streamline the partnership
structures of the core learning team. This
involves a developing an MOU and policy
More funding is required to improve internet
access by stakeholder, training,
Develop knowledge management strategies
among stakeholders to ensure best practices
of knowledge use and re-use
Develop and institutionalize knowledge sharing
culture among stakeholders.
Encourage adoption of e-learning systems as
a platform for capacity building and training
Expand the scope by involving more farmers
groups after the pilot involving Katoloni and
Aberdares farmers groups.
Increase the number of vouchers availed for
the project.
There is need for increased capacity for
stakeholders, on the best practices in
capturing, packaging and disseminating
information for more efficiency
Sensitise farmers on how to access and
utilise information available in the runetwork
knowledge bank
Sensitize experts on registration in the
experts database for improved efficiency in
dissemination of information .
Carry out an impact study in order to improve
the service
Develop mechanisms for monitoring and
Rice knowledge bank
e-Mifugo and e-Mimea (e-Mimi) to include an
SMS function
Kenya Agricultural Information Network
ASAL Research Information & Training Unit
Identifying the knowledge holders within the
organization and country
Develop Motivation strategies for sharing
Designing a sharing mechanism to facilitate
the transfer
Executing the share and transfer plan
Measuring to ensure the transfer (M$E)
Applying the knowledge transferred
Better information for better research using eRAILS
Acknowledging that better research starts with better
Recognition of the role of ICT systems such eRAILS
within the APVC as an agent and a catalyst of
knowledge and information transfer
Develop and adopt processes and services for ICT
technologies that create information -driven
research environment and accelerate innovation
Empower researchers and stakeholders with
technology and process.
Unlock information from the shackles of paper.
Unleash innovation to drive better Research
outcomes & leverage cutting-edge ICT
Ensure Data becomes knowledge
to move research beyond theory to practical
application through the eRAILS platform
Participants made several suggestions on the way forward for
eRAILS including:
 training on development and maintenance of websites to
full utilization of the RAILS portal;
 seek ways of funds to support more eRAILS activities ;
 creation of awareness about eRAILS, promote and market
 eRAILS to be the source of current and timely information
 lobby policy makers to ensure other relevant organizations
come on board and support
 how to maintain constant consultation between the focal
point and member institutions;
 sustainability of Kenya RAILS after the project period?;
 how to actively engage private-public partnership actors;
 capacity building/training of stakeholders to enhance
participation and content sharing on the platform;
 develop an action plan
Agricultural development is fundamentally a
social process in which people construct
solutions to their problems, often by
modifying both new technologies and their
own production systems to take advantage of
new opportunities offered by the
technologies and eRAILS is an opportunity