From the 18th up to the 21st of October 2010 a ShareFair has been organised at ILRI headquarters in Addis Abeba. The goal was to share knowledge about farmers, social media and ongoing research and projects in Afrika. I joined wednesday afternoon, the 20th of October, thursday and the after-conference on friday morning the 22nd of October. A lot of information can be found on the wikispace of the ShareFair.
During the ShareFair four themes were addressed mainly: climate change, land (use), livestock and water. For each of this theme a learning pathway was started up during the conference. People from all over Afrika working in research, in NGO’s, as farmers, in technical companies and many more discussed these subjects and exchanged information and skills.
Next to these main themes, some focus group discussions have been started online and in face-to-face meetings. The focus group working on Indigenous Knowledge (IK) organized 7 five-minute-presentations of people working on documenting, sharing and integrating IK in practice. After this, discussions were going on about how to document IK (e.g. in (online/multimedia) libraries, in story-telling), how to make sure IK will be shared to others and how to make sure future generations can still use IK when needed in the new situations that will occur. IK is necessary as circumstances will change and knowledge will disappear about how to cope with different challenges, e.g. controlling pests with chemicals might have to change if the pests are getting immune to the chemicals, when they can be controlled with natural resources as well.
Processes to document information efficiently and in short timeframe were shared as well. The writeshop is one of the means to write a book, essay, or even make a cd in short term. By making good preparations, inviting the right people and putting them together in a workshop for a short time (separated from the rest of the world), a lot of outputs can be produced of high quality. The workshop is an intensive process: starting with an initiator (and/or group of initiators), experts writing chapters about their subject related to the main theme, discussing and editing the chapters during the workshop and making the final draft. IIRR facilitates the whole process to make sure the process goes well and the best possible output is obtained.
Many more discussions have been going on so information was shared and people got new inputs for their work with farmers. It was a successful event!