Our Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) initiative, launched in Uganda in 2009, serves farmers in remote communities through a network of peer advisors. The initiative combines mobile technology and human networks to help smallholder farmers get accurate, timely information to improve their businesses and livelihoods.
Unlike other agricultural programs, our services reach the most isolated rural villages by employing a network of local advisors drawn from the communities they serve. These Community Knowledge Workers—farmers themselves—are respected in their communities and chosen by their peers. Using smartphone applications, they give their fellow farmers information on weather and marketing prices and advice on caring for their crops and animals and treating pests and diseases. They encourage their peers in the ongoing use of the applications.
In Uganda, we also collaborate with the TECA initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Our Community Knowledge Workers share information on agricultural practices from TECA’s knowledge base with farmers and we also use the TECA exchange groups to review traditional farming practices that farmers have shared with our CKWs. After vetting, the practices are then added to the content library used by the Community Knowledge Workers.
The Community Knowledge Worker initiative was expanded to Colombia in 2013, where it is known locally as Líderes Productores. Using mobile technology, we help to improve access to information that can expand agricultural capacity, support health and food security initiatives, and enhance the provision of financial services.
In Ghana, we help to improve food security for farmers through a multimedia initiative with Farm Radio International and Digital Green that will provide information and support needed to adopt technology that will increase their productivity and improve nutrition in their communities. Through this collaboration, which began in 2015, we work with local institutions to develop content on agricultural best practices and other relevant topics for distribution in five regions. The initiative is part of the New Alliance ICT Extension Challenge Fund, a component of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.
As part of The Global Resilience Partnership, which was launched in 2015, Grameen Foundation will implement transformative resilience solutions to problems facing smallholder coconut and cocoa farmers in Southeast Asia. In the Philippines, we will work with government, business and NGO partners to help farmers improve productivity, access financial services, expand access to markets, and use early warning systems to reduce crop losses.