Africa / ILRI / ILRIComms / Innovation Systems / IPMS / Knowledge and Information

‘Still all jazzed up’–impacts of the Addis AgKnowledge Africa Share Fair keep on and on . . .

Share fair day 1 opening session - IFAD

Roxanna Samii, knowledge practitioner at the International Fund for Agricultural Development, speaks at the opening of the AgKnowledge Africa Share Fair, held on the Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, campus of the International Livestock Research Institute last week (photo credit: ILRI/Habtamu).

Over at the Social Reporting Blog run by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, knowledge practitioner Roxanna Samii reflects on the continuing impacts of the week-long AgKnowledge Africa Share Fair #sfaddis, which ended a week ago, on 22 October 2010. And, we’re happy to report, she had some nice things to say about the host, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

‘I am still all jazzed up and energized by the great Addis Share Fair experience. So, what was so special about this event?

‘Well, for one thing, it was an African event, organized primarily by African for Africans. I do not have the list of participants handy, but I think I am correct to say that 90% of the participants came from Africa! We did a spectogram in the water pathway—where we organized ourselves between North and South pole. It was amazing to see that only 3 people were from the North and the rest came from the South.

‘In true spirit of knowledge sharing, the organizers—the incredible ILRI team—did a remarkable job of weaving in the local culture in almost every aspect of the Share Fair. Starting with the wonderful Bunna ladies serving us coffee, to the Ethiopian horn blower—our official time keeper—to creating an Ethiopian market place where participants spent an entire afternoon learning and sharing with each other and last but not least the exquisite Ethiopian foo

‘. . . What was wonderful was how participants immediately embraced and put to practice what they learnt on day zero. We started off with almost no audio coverage. Thanks to Day Zero “I know how day”, we ended up having a great podcasting site on Podomatic, a flourishing video section, an equally flourishing blog, many participants contributed to the photo gallery, we had an extraordinary buzz on Twitter.

‘Owen Barder—a charismatic and compelling speaker—delivered an inspiring speech on the importance of knowledge for development. Listening to him talk about . . . the fact that perhaps we do not really need authoritative answers but rather diversity in answers and as he said “We need diversity, engagement and feedback process”, made me realize that if had more people like Owen . . . , people who bring something new to the table, perhaps we would make huge leaps in achieving both our development and knowledge goals.

‘. . . It was really great to see our African colleagues facilitating the various sessions. What we need to do now, is to make a concerted effort to train and build the skills of a new cadre of African facilitators, so that at the next share fair we see new African colleagues taking the lead in training participants and facilitating many more sessions. Building on this extraordinary experience, we should try and organize more regional events organized by the region for the region and involve much more stakeholders both at grassroots and decision making levels.

‘Almost a week after the share fair, I am still living off its energy—and believe me this is really extraordinary! I think I can safely say that as a result of this event, we all managed to expand and extend our networks. We met new colleagues and for sure we’ll be calling on each other as and when needed. . . .’

Read Roxanna Samii’s whole blog post: Reflecting on AgKnowledge Africa Share Fair #sfaddis, 27 October 2010.

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