May 20, 2010
Lydia Namubiru is the Marketing & Communications Analyst for Grameen Foundation's Community Knowledge Worker initiative in Uganda.
In early 2009, Grameen Foundation went to Uganda with the idea of creating a fluid and effective two way communication channel between rural farmers and the world of agricultural experts, development agencies, traders and commercial players. Through this loop, rural small holder farmers would be given livelihood saving agricultural information generated by the experts and the big players would keep informed on conditions on the farm from adoption of best practices to available produce for sale.
If you know much about agricultural extension services in rural Africa, you could have called such a ambition, well, ambitious. Traditionally, taking agricultural extension services to these farmers who live in far and hard to reach places is slow, expensive and inefficient because it is riddled with bottlenecks such as poor or no road infrastructure and few extension workers spread thin over vast areas.
The CKW program's Google G1's being charged up by rays of sunlight
Grameen Foundation’s technology center had a plan – harness the power of the mobile phone, a technology that is oblivious to such bottlenecks and combine it with a network of human intermediaries that can be trained to fully leverage its capabilities for the benefit of the farmer. The Community Knowledge Worker concept was thus born but would it work?
Continue reading at the AppLab Blog.
Download the full Community Knowledge Worker Pilot Report.