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 (PID) 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 the Prolinnova 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 45,000 documents on agriculture-related communication in more than 200 countries and is still growing. 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.

Agrecol Assocation for AgriCulture & Ecology (http://www.agrecol.de) is an NGO based in Germany with members from mainly German-speaking countries in Europe. It promotes locally adapted, ecologically sound land use in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Members are engaged professionally in development cooperation in NGOs, consulting groups, universities and independently. They meet twice yearly for theme-focused weekends organised by members. Themes have included open-source seed, agro-ecology, research with farmers, urban agriculture, marketing ecological products, multifunctional land-use, organic beekeeping and mobile animal husbandry/pastoralism. Agrecol informs and supports policy dialogue on all levels, from the grassroots to national and international policymakers through events such as workshops and conferences and through publications. It is a member of the Coalition of European Lobbies for Eastern African Pastoralism, provides the home for the OpenSourceSeeds initiative and is the Northern Focal Point of the Prolinnova network.

AgriCultures Network (www.agriculturesnetwork.orgis a group of organisations seeking to mainstream the values, principles and practices that underlie agroecology and family farming. Its members all over the world are locally rooted and globally connected. It facilitates co-creation of knowledge and practice-based advocacy at community level as well as between farmer organisations, researchers, academia, policymakers and civil society actors. For over 30 years, it has nurtured a community of individuals and organisations engaged in sustainable agriculture. The network produces regional magazines (versions of Farming Matters in different languages) on sustainable farming, reaching about a million readers globally. It also supports the systematisation of practical experiences, promotes policies to support agroecology and belongs to a global movement for agroecology and food sovereignty rooted in family farming.

AGRIDEA International (www.agridea-international.ch) is a centre for agricultural advisory and extension services based in Switzerland. Itpromotes exchange of knowledge and experience between people working in agricultural advisory services, research, practice, administration or policy in various thematic domains. In Europe and globally, AGRIDEA has developed a broad network of links with agricultural training bodies and actors involved in agricultural policy. Its international’s services include: Development and acquisition of new methods for extension and further training; Training for facilitators and extension specialists; Dissemination of knowledge adapted to practice; Support for innovative projects and extension services; Coordination of networks; and Encouragement of collaboration between all stakeholders in agricultural knowledge systems. The AGRIDEA International website brings information on their cooperation activities in Asia, Africa and Latin America (mainly in English), in eastern and south-eastern Europe (in English and German) and in western Europe (mainly in German).

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. Prolinnova has an MoU with Access Agriculture.

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.

A Growing Culture (www.agrowingculture.org) is an American-based NGO that seeks to advance a culture of farmer autonomy and agroecological innovation. It tries to reframe the way the world views farmers, facilitating collective learning and catalysing innovation through farmer-to-farmer exchange, and supporting on-the-ground efforts for farmer-led research and documentation. It advocates for farmers’ rights to shape their own agricultural systems. The AGC Library for Food Sovereignty (LFS) is a community-led resource for sharing, building upon and safeguarding farmer innovations from around the world. It supports appropriate technologies and open frameworks to advance on-the-ground movements and leverage the potential of local knowledge. The innovations include sociocultural, environmental and technical solutions in farming and natural resource management. Prolinnova has an MoU with AGC.

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) 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.

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) was one in a family of knowledge services from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex, UK, and aimed to share information on development policy, practice and research. Eldis has over 16,000 online 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 for agriculture have several documents on farmer innovation and PID.

GFAR (www.gfar.net) The Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation is a multistakeholder 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 was originally established as a GFAR Global Partnership Programme.

GFRAS (www.g-fras.org) The Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services seeks to enhance the performance of advisory services to better serve farm families and rural producers, thus contributing to improved livelihoods in rural areas and sustainable reduction of hunger and poverty. Rural advisory services help empower farmers and better integrate them into systems of agricultural innovation. The GFRAS structure reaches smallholder farmers via the regional rural advisory services networks, made up of national-level platforms thatinclude actors from all sectors working in rural advisory services, and work directly with smallholders. National platforms help prioritise national-level issues and formulate demands to be taken to the regional and global levels.

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.

Howtopedia (howtopedia.org) "Simple technologies, simply shared" through a collaborative library for practical knowledge. Howtopedia is a Swiss non-profit organisation, supported by Practical Action 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. You can participate in howtopedia.org by editing and adding content and/or promoting the Howtopedia community among your networks.

INSARD (www.repaoc.org/insard) INcluding Smallholders in Agricultural Research for Development was a 3-year EU-funded project (2011–13) that sought 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 tried to design 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. INSARD collaborated 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 FP7 KBBE Call "Agricultural innovation systems and traditional knowledge" which lasted from 2010–13. 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.

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

PELUM (https://www.pelum.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 ten countries in Eastern and Southern Africa: Botswana, Ethiopia, 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.

Practical Action (www.practicalaction.org) – which started as 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.

St Ulrich Group 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 organised 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.

The Field Alliance (http://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 continued 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.

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.

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.