Tools underpinning the FARA Data and Information Systems FARADataInformS
FARA is a thought leader in AR4D. Over the years, FARA has led major continental discussions focused at solutions to the huge knowledge gap. These resulted in the development of major knowledge tools and the creation of relevant Communities of Practice (CoP). These tools include the eCapacities, the Regional Agricultural information and learning system (eRAILS), the Innovation Platform Agribusiness Portal (IPAbP), the PAEPARD and the BiomassNet portals. FARA maintains a Library (Hardcopy & online) whereas all CoPs were established using the Dgroups.
The eCapacities is an online marketplace for the supply and demand of capacities in strategic human capital formation. The platform provides a real-time review of the levels of capacity and demand in each participating country and dynamically estimates the capacity gaps for use in priority setting and targeting of investments. e-Capacities connects training providers, workplaces and graduates, and allows them to interact with each other in contextualized and mutually beneficial ways. Currently being implemented in Kenya, Ghana, Zambia and Uganda as Tier 1 countries, the portal has registered over 35 training providers with 87 programmes posted, 42 workplaces and over 1000 graduates and employees data registered.
The eRAILS online platform developed in 2009, facilitates the mobilization of relevant local contents and particularly research outputs, local knowledge and experiences from African stakeholders for knowledge sharing. It is a dynamic, decentralized, robust and versatile system that provides equitable access to a web-based agricultural information to both individuals and institutions, to establish websites to facilitate active interaction among themselves and other interested users across Africa and beyond towards building a knowledge-based economy for Africa. Implemented in over 45 African countries, coordinated by the SROs and owned by NARES eRAILS has so far provided access to about 1231 accounts, 1894 websites and over 7164 webpages.
The IPAbP is a web information repository which aggregates information for all the Innovation Platforms in Africa to foster linkages with other agricultural innovation organizations, donors and development partners; to facilitate access to information on platforms to enhance collaboration and develop big businesses. It offers different IP facilitators an opportunity to demonstrate their Innovations and other products to a wider audience. Its analytics component further provides development partners, policy makers and agriculture stakeholders an avenue to directly source data on availability and veracity of all Innovation Platforms on the continent. Over 200 IPs across Africa have registered and are interacting in the portal.
Whiles the PAEPARD platform facilitates multi-stakeholder partnerships between Africa and Europe in the field of agricultural research for development (ARD) using the User-Led Approach, the BiomassNet provides an interactive network for practitioners, policy makers, scientists, and other experts interested in knowledge sharing and dissemination of information concerning biomass in Africa.
Dgroups is a professional open space collaboration tool that offers users the opportunity to contribute to dialogue and decision-making for international development. FARA’s Dgroup has over the years offered various stakeholders in AR4D an effective and efficient knowledge dissemination and collaboration mechanism. The over 10 Dgroup Communities of Practice of FARA currently reaches out to over 20,000 individuals/stakeholders from diverse agricultural interest backgrounds in over 131 countries across the world.
The development of the FARADataInformS in 2017/2018 marked the beginning of an important coordinated effort at achieving greater integration and harmonization of FARA’s knowledge systems developed over the years for AR4D and the S3A. Whiles it asserts as a repository and observatory of relevant Science and Technology Indicators (STI) metrics with analytical features for agriculture at country level serving as the basic resource from which various information services and products are derived, FARADataInformS will continue to establish and sustain itself as the most credible and reliable portal for periodic releases and publications of relevant continental indicators and research results, working closely with the NARS and SROs offering countries an added opportunity for greater collaboration, learning and sharing. It will continue to build stronger partnerships and outreach with relevant stakeholders at the National level and other continental and sub-continental institutions to develop and implement appropriate knowledge capture, dissemination and application strategy to ensure sustainability of these knowledge systems and other relevant data needs that will emerge.