Just wrapped up three days in Nairobi with our colleagues at the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS), pulling together agricultural production and research experts from around East and Central Africa to share our tools and learn how we can make our data products work better for them.
Here is a quick video we put together with some moments from the workshop (which we called Regional Data and Tools to Support Monitoring and Evaluation of Agricultural Productivity in Africa). Read on for more about what we were up to.
Here are the questions that motivated the workshop in the first place:
- What assurance do we have that the underlying data being used to support analyses are the most reliable that can practically be assembled?
- How can we best establish that the questions being addressed, e.g., the insights being generated and the indicators of productivity being tracked and projected, are those most relevant to the needs of the development practitioners to whom such products are targeted?
- How do we ensure that practitioners are aware of, understand, and can utilize the data, tools and analytical tools being developed and deployed?
- In the light of answers to the above questions, how best can suppliers such as ReSAKSS and HarvestChoice improve product design, generation, packaging and dissemination in order to improve their relevance, reliability and applicability by the practitioner community?
And here's a little bit more of the big picture:
ReSAKSS is an Africa-wide network that provides analysis, data, and tools to promote evidence-based decision making, improve awareness of the role of agriculture for development in Africa, fill knowledge gaps, promote dialogue and facilitate the benchmarking and review processes associated with the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development of the African Union (AU/NEPAD) and other national, regional agricultural development initiatives in Africa. HarvestChoice generates knowledge products to help guide strategic choices on investments to improve the well-being of poor smallholder households in sub-Saharan Africa through more productive and profitable farming.
Both of our organizations have been developing user-focused databases, tools and analyses to support their objectives, and we've been seeing more and more opportunities for collaboration between and harmonization of our individual efforts. This workshop was one big effort in that direction.
HarvestChoice, 2011. "First ReSAKSS/HarvestChoice Nairobi Workshop A Big Success (Video)." International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC., and University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN. Available online at http://harvestchoice.org/node/1575.