Saturday, September 24, 2016

Conference Presentation - 4th Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD) at Columbia University, New York on September 22, 2016.



Faria Rashid presented the paper on our partnership development project at the 4th Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD) at Columbia University, New York on September 22, 2016.

In the second day of the conference, during the Parallel session, Faria presented “Converging Frontline SMS, Freedom Fone and Radio for Mobilizing Knowledge for Sustainable Agriculture in Sri Lanka”. The session had a diverse range of presenters and dynamic panel discussion on Innovation in Technology and Governance for Agriculture Food Security & Nutrition. Many practical solutions towards Sustainable development in Agriculture sector came out from others during the Presentation session.

Faria’s presentation was appreciated with lots of commendable question about the Radio+ concept and the role of the project for Sustainable Agriculture.

Full paper will be published soon in the conference proceedings.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Paper presentation “Converging Frontline SMS, Freedom Fone and Radio for Mobilizing Knowledge for Sustainable Agriculture in Sri Lanka” on 4th Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD) on September 21 & 22, 2016, at Columbia University, New York.





The Global association of the Master’s in Development Practice Program at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, in partnership with the Sustainable Development Solution Network, will host the 4th Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development on September 21 & 22, 2016. (http://ic-sd.org/)

The aim of the conference is to identify and share practical, evidence-based solutions that can support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year’s conference theme is “Moving Forward: The SDGs in Practice.” The ICSD provides a unique opportunity to bring together stakeholders from government, academia, the United Nations, international agencies, NGOs, and grassroots organizers to share practical solutions towards the achievement of more sustainable and inclusive societies. This conference is truly a global event. ICSD will host students from around the world’s top universities, its participants include leading scientists and representatives of many governments and the UN.

Faria Rashid, a MSc Candidate from the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development (SEDRD) at the University of Guelph (Canada) and a team member for the project “Mobilizing Knowledge for Sustainable Agriculture” will present a paper entitled “Converging Frontline SMS, Freedom Fone and Radio for Mobilizing Knowledge for Sustainable Agriculture in Sri Lanka” at this conference.

This will be a great opportunity for our project to share our lessons learned on using low-cost information and communication technologies (ICTs) for knowledge mobilization among agricultural communities of practice in Sri Lanka. This includes feedback received from radio staff from farm listeners on the use of radio and ICTs also known as (Radio+) for sustainable agriculture. Below is a copy of the abstract for this paper.

Abstract

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) have great potential for sustainable agriculture, especially when broadcast radio is combined with mobile and open source software technologies referred to here as Radio+. This paper examines the Radio+ experiences of six organizations in a community of practice for ICT-enabled farm media convergence in Sri Lanka including Rangiri Radio, Department of Export Agriculture, Wayamba University and LIRNEAsia with researchers at the University of Alberta and University of Guelph in Canada. Our work demonstrates how a “tried and true” technology such as rural radio can expand its reach with FOSS applications. Specifically, collaboration with Rangiri Radio since 2014 has involved testing open source software (Freedom Fone and Frontline SMS) and mobile technologies.  Farmers are positive about radio programming that use interactive options including “call-in” audience response programs, multiple text messaging and voice recorded messages. The paper concludes that Radio+ has good potential to strengthen participatory communication for development through a multi-media connection that networks broadcasters, agricultural experts, and farmers. 



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

One Step Closer to the Launch of a course on Technology Stewardship to promote Information and Communication Technology (ICT) adoption in Agricultural Communities of Practice




We are now drawing closer to the launch of our Technology Stewardship course that is part of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Development Grant supporting a collaborative research project between the University of Alberta, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, and the University of Guelph. We are currently working on finalizing course materials for translation and will begin accepting participant applications in the beginning of September.

Participants will engage in an interactive and hands-on two-day workshop at the In-Service Training Institute of the Department of Export Agriculture, Matale, from September 28-30, 2016. They will take part in 12 hours of classroom instruction and receive a certificate of completion upon finishing all four training modules. Participants will learn firsthand about the principles and practices of technology stewardship and how they can be applied to encourage the adoption and use of new ICTs within agricultural communities of practice. Nancy Smith, Etienne Wenger, and John Smith of the Full Circle Blog coined a useful definition of Technology Stewards:

 “Technology stewards are people with enough experience of the workings of a community to understand its technology needs, and enough experience with technology to take leadership in addressing those needs. Stewardship typically includes selecting and configuring technology, as well as supporting its use in the practice of the community.”


As mentioned, this pilot course is being delivered as part of an ongoing action research project with Sri Lankan and Canadian academic partners. Course developers and instructors include representatives from the University of Alberta, the University of Guelph, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, the University of Peradeniya, Sahana Software Foundation (Sri Lanka), and FrontlineSMS. Besides directly benefitting course participants and their communities, this course is intended to enhance collaboration between researchers, practitioners, and non-profit sectors by promoting the sharing of research results and facilitating knowledge exchange across diverse sectors.