Useful Links

This list is intended to provide links to related networks, bibliographic sources, databases, and other organisations that are in some way involved in the dynamics of indigenous knowledge, promoting local/farmer innovation and institutionalisation of participatory innovation development approaches. While acknowledging that there are many other possible contacts and links to be added, especially if we consider the broader themes of participatory research and development, we seek here to provide a fairly concise and accessible list of organisations that have direct linkages and affinity with our initiative.

ACDC (www.library.illinois.edu/funkaces/acdc) The Agricultural Communications Documentation Centre is a unique literature collection and documentation service housed within the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The collection exceeds 27,000 documents at present on agriculture-related communication in more than 90 countries and is growing rapidly. All documents in the collection emphasise the human and social dimensions and not the physical or technical aspects. A keyword search on "farmer innovation", for example, provides an extensive list of useful documents. 

AgriCultures Network  (www.agriculturesnetwork.orgis coordinated by ILEIA (Centre for Learning on Sustainable Agriculture), an NGO that supports the search for sustainable alternatives to conventional high-input agriculture by collecting, analysing and exchanging information on practical experiences of small-scale farmers, particularly in the South. Documentation and publication of successful experiences in low-external input and sustainable agriculture (LEISA) are the major activities. The website provides access to large, searchable databases on LEISA and Participatory Technology Development (PTD). The purpose of the network is to inform debate and facilitate concerted action among stakeholders. Partner organisations in Brazil, China, India, Kenya, Netherlands, Peru and Senegal produce different versions of the magazine Farming Matters in different languages.

AGRIDEA International (www.agridea-international.ch) is a resource and capacity-building organisation for professionals working in rural and agricultural development in Switzerland and around the world. While its main work is in Switzerland, the Team for International Cooperation has competence in rural development in international contexts. he team members have broad working experience in developing countries, countries in transition and other industrialised countries. The AGRIDEA International website brings information on their services and activities in development cooperation in Asia, Africa and Latin America (mainly in English); cooperation in eastern and south-eastern Europe (in English and German); and international activities in western Europe (mainly in German). AGRIDEA publishes the journal Rural Development News, which can be found on the website, alongside many other publications on concepts, approaches and methods of participatory development.

AGRO-INSIGHT (www.agroinsight.com) is a media group that merges expertise from science, communications and graphic design to support sustainable agriculture and equitable trade. It uses video and printed material to enhance impact on rural communities. It brings weekly blog stories on family farming, agricultural advisory services, farmer innovation, ICTs and communication. Agro-Insight is co-founder of the international NGO Access Agriculture, which facilitates the translation, distribution and use of farmer training videos in developing countries. It also provides training in extension methods and organisation of advisory services.

AGROMISA (www.agromisa.org) is the Knowledge Centre for Small-Scale Sustainable Agriculture based in Wageningen, The Netherlands. AGROMISA, set up in 1934, is connected to the Agricultural University of Wageningen and is divided into two parts: a resource information centre and a projects and programmes section. It has an on-line library, and produces the AgroDok series (plenty of practical, agricultural booklets downloadable in English and French), the AgroSpecial series and various educational materials for agriculture and animal husbandry in warm climates. There are links (through ‘best practices’) to InterSard and InterDev, multi-agency projects in which AGROMISA is involved.

Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (http://ccafs.cgiar.org)  CCAFS is a CGIAR Research Program that addresses the increasing challenge of global warming and declining food security on agricultural practices, policies and measures through a strategic collaboration between the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres (CGIAR) and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP). It involves all 15 CGIAR research centres. CCAFS brings together international researchers in agriculture, climate, environmental and social sciences to identify and address the key interactions, synergies and trade-offs between climate change and agriculture. CCAFS seeks to define and implement an innovative and transformative agricultural research programme in the context of climate variability, climate change and uncertainty about future climate conditions.

Community-Based Natural Resource Management Network (www.cbnrm.net) CBNRM Net provides networking tools to link practitioners, managers and researchers working on CBNRM, allowing them to exchange experiences, manage relevant knowledge and support learning across countries, sectors, cultures and languages. Attention is given to culture, local institutions, traditional knowledge, participation and participatory approaches, and NGOs and civil society, within an overall nation-state framework characterised by increasing weight on decentralisation, governance and transparency. As an integrated and adaptable tool for knowledge management, CBNRM Net serves the global CBNRM community of practice. Membership to the network is free of charge, but all members are expected to contribute to the website and electronic newsletter with information that can benefit others. The website can also be accessed in German, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Norwegian and is updated regularly.

COMMUNITY IPM (www.communityipm.org)THE FIELD ALLIANCE (www.thefieldalliance.org) After more than 20 years of training farmers in Asia, the FAO Programme for Integrated Pest Management in Rice (later known as the Community IPM Programme) ended in 2002. Support continues, however, for farmer empowerment, sustainable rural livelihoods and ecological agriculture through a new regional organisation called The Field Alliance. What began as a pest-control project became an umbrella for farmer-led experimentation, training, organising and advocacy in a range of production issues (pests, soils, seeds, water) and community health, rural education and farmers’ rights. The vision, methods and expertise that drove the Community IPM Programme formed the basis for an independent foundation dedicated to the empowerment of Asian farmers. The last updates on Community IPM are in 2002 and The Field Alliance in 2003.

CTA Knowledge for Development (knowledge.cta.int) is a portal of the website of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) that supports policy dialogue on science and technology for agricultural and rural development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It enables the ACP scientific community – agricultural research and development scientists and technologists, policymakers, farmers and other stakeholders and actors – to share and review results of national and regional efforts and to collaborate in harnessing science and technology for the development of agriculture in their countries. The dossiers on demanding innovation, participatory approaches, IK, financing ARD and IPR contain useful material related to farmers’ involvement in agricultural research and development, including farmer innovation.

ELDIS (www.eldis.org) is one in a family of knowledge services from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex, UK, and aims to share information on development policy, practice and research. Currently, Eldis has over 16,000 on-line documents and information on 4500 organisations. Thirty subject-focused guides offer quick access to key documents, organisations, research themes, discussions and other key resources. Agriculture, food security, participation and IPR are just a few of the subjects covered. The pages on farmer participation in research and indigenous Knowledge within the guide agriculture have several documents on farmer innovation and PID.

FARM-Africa (www.farmafrica.org.uk) Food and Agricultural Research Management (FARM-Africa) is an international NGO that aims to reduce poverty through developing innovative approaches to NRM in Africa. Through its projects in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, it partners with marginal small-scale farmers and herders to improve the ways in which they use their land. Working with a wide range of rural communities, it focuses on three priority areas: pastoral development, community forest management, and smallholder development & land reform. The resources section of the website provides access to publications, case studies and audio/audiovisual material that document the experiences of FARM-Africa’s programmes.

Farming Solutions (www.farmingsolutions.org) is a website coordinated by ILEIA (Centre for Learning on Sustainable Agriculture), Oxfam, Greenpeace and Pesticide Action Network (PAN)-Africa, that brings examples of successful, environmentally-responsible farming systems to life from all over the world, illustrating how farmers can protect the environment while at the same time increasing food supply where it is most needed. The website offers the opportunity for real experts, the farmers themselves, to share their knowledge by submitting their stories to info@farmingsolutions.org

GFAR (www.egfar.org) The Global Forum on Agricultural Research is a multi-stakeholder initiative that contributes to eradicating poverty, achieving food security, and conserving and managing natural resources. It enhances national capacities to generate, adapt and transfer knowledge. Prolinnova is one of the GFAR’s Global Partnership Programmes.

GRAIN (www.grain.org), based in Spain, is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) that promotes the sustainable management and use of agricultural biodiversity based on people's control over genetic resources and local knowledge. The website can be accessed in English, French and Spanish. It contains all GRAIN’s publications, including back issues of the quarterly magazine "Seedling". 

Groundswell International (www.groundswellinternational.org), based in the USA, is a worldwide partnership of local organisations and individuals in civil society supporting rural people to transform their communities and to overcome poverty. It envisions a world where communities learn from and support each other locally and globally and take action to protect their rights and resources; build local economies that generate physical, spiritual and environmental wellbeing for all; and have a voice in the decisions that impact their lives.

Honeybee Network (knownetgrin.honeybee.org) A global initiative to give voice to creative and innovative people at the grassroots, the Honeybee Network is run by SRISTI (Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions) in India. The Network has an online database of innovations, either based on traditional knowledge or of contemporary origin, primarily from India, but also from other countries. Honeybee believes that cross pollination of ideas by exchange of information across language and cultural boundaries may increase societal capacity to spur, spawn, stimulate and sustain grassroots innovations and provide resources for sustainable development. Therefore, it tries to connect innovators with each other through communicating and networking in local languages. Innovations can be submitted via the innovation registry form on the website and, after verification, will be added to the innovation database.

Howtopedia (howtopedia.org) "Simple technologies, simply shared". A new collaborative library for practical knowledge. Howtopedia is a Swiss non-profit organisation, supported by Practical Action (ex. ITDG) and the International Network for Technical Information (INTI), that aims to establish a major collaborative platform for simple technologies, convinced that sharing low-tech know-how across borders and organisations is essential for an independent and self-sufficient form of sustainable development. This first phase is addressed to specialists and potential users in the field of appropriate technologies and development. You can participate in howtopedia.org by editing and adding content and/or promoting the Howtopedia community among your networks.

IDRC (www.idrc.ca) The International Development Research Centre is a Canadian public corporation that works in close collaboration with researchers from the developing world in their search for the means to build healthier, more equitable and more prosperous societies. The website provides extensive coverage on the research programmes and projects supported by IDRC, two areas of which are environment and NRM, and innovation, policy and science. All of IDRC’s publications can be downloaded free of charge from the website. The site can be accessed in English or French.

IFAD (www.ifad.org) The International Fund for Agricultural Development is a specialised agency of the United Nations that was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. IFAD was created to combat hunger and rural poverty in developing countries. Working with rural poor people, governments, donors, NGOs and many other partners, IFAD focuses on country-specific solutions, which can involve increasing rural poor peoples' access to financial services, markets, technology, land and other natural resources. The website provides access to IFAD’s rural poverty knowledgebase which has an extensive collection of reports, papers, notes and audiovisuals from IFAD projects and programmes on topics such as gender, sustainable livelihoods, livestock and rangelands etc. The website is active and updated regularly.

IIED Natural Resources Programme (www.iied.org) The natural resources work of the International Institute for Environment and Development comes under three programmes: 1) Drylands; 2) Sustainable Agriculture, Biodiversity and Livelihoods; and 3) Forestry and Land Use. The aim is to promote rural development based on sustainable agricultural and land management practices, strong rural organisations and social enterprises, and dynamic rural economies. The NR work seeks to identify the policies and practices needed to foster forms of rural economic growth that are socially inclusive and that protect diversity. The website is the entry point for a very complete set of information where documents are available in PDF downloadable format. It is also the gateway to the "Power Tools" website which introduces a range of "how-to" ideas that marginalised people and their allies can use to have greater influence on natural resources policy. For information in French on IIED’s work in West Africa, see IIED Sahel Programme (www.iiedsahel.org).

ILRI (www.ilri.org) The International Livestock Research Institute's Innovation Works initiative provided and sourced support for all ILRI organisational units and partners. Drawing on specialised resources across ILRI, its partners and external parties on an as-needed basis, Innovation Works mobilised crosscutting teams that take on challenges that will help ILRI dramatically improve its performance by building its capacity to collaborate, innovate and integrate. Applying disciplined thinking and processes, the Team helped bring about new forms of experimentation and organisational learning. The Team tried to mainstream important crosscutting challenges such as linking knowledge with action, assessing outcomes and impacts from diverse perspectives, and addressing equity and sustainability issues up front in its research and outreach work. By capturing, sharing and institutionalising key learning, Innovation Works sought to help ILRI and its partners achieve bigger, wider and faster impacts that are pro-poor, equitable and sustainable. 

INSARD (www.repaoc.org/insard)  INSARD (INcluding Smallholders in Agricultural Research for Development) is a 3-year EU-funded project (2011–13) that seeks to make it easier for civil-society organisations (CSOs) – both non-governmental organisations and farmer organisations – to be actively involved in influencing agricultural research for development (ARD) in Africa. It is designing a mechanism that allows CSOs to participate effectively in regional and international discussions on ARD, linking European and African CSOs that are trying to influence ARD policy and practice, and working with African and European research organisations to strengthen demand-driven ARD. JOLISAA collaborates with Prolinnova in these policy-dialogue activities.

JOLISAA  (www.jolisaa.net) Joint Learning in Innovation Systems in African Agriculture was a project of the European Commission approved under the the FP7 KBBE Call "Agricultural innovation systems and traditional knowledge".  It was launched in February 2010 for a period of 30 months. It aimed to increase understanding of agricultural innovation systems focusing on smallholders’ livelihoods and the articulation of local and global knowledge. It assessed how smallholders’ innovativeness, knowledge, capacities and other resources can be tapped into, strengthened and linked effectively to those of other stakeholders – public or private, local or global – to contribute to reducing rural poverty and improving food security in Africa. Lessons learnt about past and ongoing experiences with agricultural innovation involving multiple stakeholders in Eastern, Southern and West Africa were synthesised by combining joint case-study assessment with capacity-strengthening and networking at various scales.

LANDCARE (www.landcareresearch.co.nz) Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research is an environmental research organisation in New Zealand that specialises in sustainable management of land resources to optimise primary production, enhance biodiversity, increase the resource efficiency of businesses, and conserve and restore the natural assets of communities. The website provides information, frameworks and processes that can be used by those wishing to engage different stakeholders more effectively in research and development. Numerous on-line papers and reports are available. Topics covered include: stakeholder participation and partnerships, organisational learning, group processes, and inclusion of local knowledge and values. This independent Crown Research Institute, founded in 1992, focuses exclusively on environmental research in New Zealand. The site, however, is up-to-date and informative.

Learning for Sustainability (http://learningforsustainability.net) provides a guide to resources relevant for those working to support social learning and constructive action in multi-stakeholder settings. This portal brings links to a wide range of online resources together. Site content is largely sourced from the sustainable development, natural resource management, urban development, public health, conservation and agricultural sectors. The resources are in six key areas: Social learnin; Planning, monitoring and evaluation; Social research; Stakeholder engagement; Tools to support change; and Sustainable development.

PAEPARD (http://www.fara-africa.org/our-projects/paepard)  The Platform for African-European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development promotes research collaboration between a wide range of organisations in Africa and Europe. It facilitates partnerships between farmer organisations (FOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), research institutes and educational institutes, private companies and policy networks through capacity strengthening and providing access to information on funding opportunities. It helps partners prepare strong research proposals to address real needs at the farm level. It advocates for increased support for demand-led, multi-actor agricultural research. PAEPARD is coordinated by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and Agrinatura, a consortium of research and educational organisations in Europe. In it is work with FOs and NGOs, it collaborates with INSARD. The PAEPARD initiative is supported by the European Union through its Food Security Thematic Programme. Up-to-date information on ARD in Africa is provided via the PAEPARD blogspot.

PELUM (www.pelum-zambia.net) The Participatory Ecological Land-Use Management Association is a network of civil society organisations working with local communities in sustainable agriculture and NRM in nine countries in Eastern and Southern Africa: Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Partners came together to forge a strategic alliance and to combine efforts, approaches and experiences so as to build the partners’ capacities in training and advocacy and in order to become more effective in influencing how development takes place. In 2003–06, PELUM-Zambia is operating a project together with Agromisa Foundation, Netherlands, to strengthen how farmers access, share and manage knowledge. However, the website does not appear to be maintained.

Practical Action (www.practicalaction.org) – formerly the Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) – aims to demonstrate and advocate the sustainable use of technology to reduce poverty in developing countries. It is a charity, founded in 1966 and registered in the UK, which works in Latin America, Eastern and Southern Africa, and South Asia, with particular concentration on Peru, Kenya, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. It is committed to poverty reduction, environmental conservation and technology choice. Many of Practical Action’s projects take a PID approach integrated within community-led development. The experiences of these projects, written in a simple and appealing way, can be read on the website. The "People Stories" are especially interesting.

Research Into Use (RIU) Programme (www.researchintouse.com) The Research Into Use (RIU) programme aimed to improve access to knowledge and technology for poor people whose livelihoods depend on natural resources. It sought to stimulate innovation systems – the processes by which knowledge generated by formal and informal research is put to practical use by large numbers of people. This involves strengthening the capacity of poor users to articulate demand, and developing the information markets that serve them, as well as exploring innovative ways in which to supply information. RIU had the twin aims of maximising the impact of previous research on natural resources and, in doing so, to increase our understanding of how knowledge contributes to innovation. The website describes the mechanisms that were set up to address these aims and the routes for practical partnerships and brings the main publications from the programme, which closed in 2012.

Rural Innovation Systems portal (http://portals.kit.nl/smartsite.shtml?id=7587) This information portal provides access to free, full-text electronic documents on Rural Innovation Systems (RIS), both as an analytical concept and a development tool. It is also a unique entry point for all other Internet sources on RIS, including newsletters, discussion groups, websites, bibliographic databases, and directories of organizations and projects.

SCI-SLM (Stimulating Community Initiatives in Sustainable Land Management) (http://scislm.ukzn.ac.za/homepage.aspx) focuses on identifying innovative forms of land management by communities in four countries in Africa: Ghana, Morocco, South Africa and Uganda. The premise is that there are local community innovations succeeding where formal research recommendations have often failed. The common denominator lies in initiatives – regarding land, water, plant or animal resources - that have emanated from the communities themselves, demonstrating their innovativeness, i.e. their capacity to come up with their own solutions to problems of land degradation. SCI-SLM tries to add value to these initiatives – through research partnerships and stimulating the communities to go forward with their efforts. SCI-SLM documents the initiatives and encourages other communities to learn from them. At a higher level, SCI-SLM seeks to institutionalise the concept and mechanisms of such an approach in the relevant government ministries, and amongst other organisations. It does this in partnership with Prolinnova, working in some of the same countries.

St Ulrich Group (About the St. Ulrich Group document). This is an informal Community of Practice that started in 1993 and meets annually in different sites in Europe to exchange experiences in participatory research and development worldwide. The members – who include practitioners from around the world – communicate with each other primarily via the PTD-Forum electronic listserver. They occasionally organise Dare-to-Share Fairs and other events for sharing and learning about Participatory Technology Development (PTD). St Ulrich Group (About the St. Ulrich Group document). This is an informal Community of Practice that started in 1993 and meets annually in different sites in Europe to exchange experiences in participatory research and development worldwide. The members – who include practitioners from around the world – communicate with each other primarily via the PTD-Forum electronic listserver. They occasionally organise Dare-to-Share Fairs and other events for sharing and learning about Participatory Technology Development (PTD). The St Ulrich Group initiated the PTD Circular, which later became the PID (Participatory Innovation Development) Circular under the Prolinnova umbrella. To join the PTD-Forum, simply click on "Join This Group" under http://groups.yahoo.com after finding "PTD-Forum" through the search function on the website.

WIPO (www.wipo.int/tk/en) The World Intellectual Property Organisation’s page on Traditional Knowledge provides a forum for international policy debate concerning the interplay between intellectual property (IP) and traditional knowledge, genetic resources and folklore. It is developing draft legal mechanisms and a range of practical tools aimed at enhancing the IP interests of the holders of such knowledge, resources and expressions. The website provides access to publications, case studies and other documents related to the topic. The French and Spanish versions of the website are being updated currently and will be launched soon.

World Neighbors (www.wn.org) is an international development organisation that works with some of the most remote and marginalised communities in ecologically fragile areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America. It supports the transformation of communities by helping people address hunger, poverty, disease and other challenges that undermine their livelihoods, and by inspiring lasting leadership and collective action for change. Most programmes begin using locally available resources and simple, low-cost technologies. As people gain skills and confidence, local leaders and organisations emerge to carry on the work, multiply results and participate in coalitions advocating for wider change. World Neighbors (WN) programmes integrate food security, farming, literacy, community and reproductive health, water and sanitation, environmental conservation, savings and credit, non-formal education and income-generation activities. Information on WN methodologies, experiences and publications are available on the website.