About ASARECA Agricultural Research for Development Knowledge & Information Hub (ECA-Ki-hub)
Cutting across the Eastern and Central African (ECA) sub-region, the agricultural ecosystem yearns for a knowledge-based transformation. This ecosystem comprises governments, agricultural research for development institutions, agricultural extension agencies, education institutions, interest groups and associations, wholesalers, the private sector, farmers, and development partners.
Against this background, critical stakeholders have demanded that ASARECA facilitates agricultural transformation by designing strategic actions and mechanisms including centralized by interoperable tools, techniques, processes and platforms to inform the generation and sharing of agricultural knowledge, innovation and learning for an inclusive and sustainable development.
In response to this demand, ASARECA through its Strategy and Results Framework (2019-2028), and Medium-Term Operational Plan I (2019-2023) has committed to establish and implement the Knowledge and Information Hub (KI-Hub) designed to coordinate sharing, learning and influencing action and policies and ultimately facilitate equitable access to information and knowledge by different actors in the agricultural sector in the sub-region and beyond.
The vision of ASARECA KI-Hub is: A competitive agricultural system in the Eastern and Central Africa region.
The KI-Hub mission is to help bridge the knowing-doing gap in agricultural transformation processes by fostering equitable access to and utilization of agricultural research and development innovations.
Aims and Objectives
The overall aim of the KI-Hub is to contribute to the quality and effectiveness of ASARECA’s engagement in AR4D.
The specific objectives are to:
- Establish and manage ASARECA Space as a repository and as a platform dynamically linking knowledge resources of members and AR4D Partner institutions
- Establish and manage a Knowledge Clearing House to assure the quality of the knowledge exchange and the development and maintenance of regional data bases, system models and decision-support tools
- Establish and manage functional platforms for communicating and exchanging knowledge and information.
- Development of a knowledge graph and semantic applications to enhance the use of knowledge by means of controllable artificial intelligence solutions
The ASARECA AR4D KI-Hub is built upon an overarching Knowledge Management and Communication Strategy and a much precise KI-Hub Strategy and Implementation Plan, which has identified three components aimed at addressing the needs of stakeholders. The three components essentially define the KI-Hub thematic areas.
The KI-Hub themes are:
- ASARECA TIMPS Space.
This thematic area is derived from Component 1 of the Ki-Hub Strategy: ASARECA Space integrated with the NARIs and complete with technology clearing mechanisms and procedures established.
This section of the Hub is the overarching repository for all kinds of kind of knowledge products of members, even though they may be decentral and located on national servers. Through ASARECA TIMPS Space content of all NAROs will be integrated, searchable, accessible on one spot. Content of distributed database systems is dynamically integrated through APIs. When a decentralized database is updated, it automatically updates the ASARECA TIMPS Space.
ASARECA TIMPS Space is designed to progressively improve technologically, and through partnerships, pool state of the art knowledge products, like the TIMPS Technology and Innovation Management Practices in the ECA sub-region and beyond into this one space. Importantly, the Space serves as a quality control and Technology Clearing House as well as central place for coordination, collection, maintenance and access to AR4D data and information including an inventory of TIMPs, produced from the work of other AR4D organizations.
Some of the institutions participating in the ASARECA TIMPS Space include: (i) the National Agricultural Research Institutes of the 14 member countries (NARIs); (ii) the Ministries in charge of Agricultural Research; (iii) the CGIAR partners; (iv) like-minded institutions; (v) sister Sub-regional organisations etc. The Space also houses the various AR4D portals developed by ASARECA.
- Communities of Practice (CoPs) and Think Tank.
This thematic area is derived from Component 2 of the Ki-Hub Strategy: Think Tank and Communities of Practice for knowledge generation, sharing and collaboration established. This thematic area is aimed at creating pools of experts across the AR4D sector, and specifically in the AR4D domain to discuss and set the agenda for AR4D transformation in various fields. CoPs & Think Tank is designed to constantly assess the AR4D environment, deliberate on actions to address challenges and harness opportunities and propose actions for the future. CoPs & Think Tank promotes collaboration among researchers and other agricultural stakeholders by sharing abilities with some degree of specialization; facilitating creation of uniform messages and materials; sharing of ideas and perspectives on how to address complex issues; and coordinating services, initiatives and complementary actions towards a common goal to avoid duplication of efforts. This thematic area is designed to deploy traditional tools such as meetings, workshops, conferences, mass media and electronic mechanisms such as D-groups and social media (Facebook, twitter, you-tube) to set and discuss AR4D agenda and trends with a view to formulate actions for policy adoption.
- Electronic Library:
This serves as a repository of all manner of publications developed through ASARECA supported projects and publications available from partners catalogues. The publications are categorized by genre and can also be searched by discipline, by author, by institution and country.
- Agricultural Data and Statistics:
Noting that ASARECA stakeholders are increasingly creating value from open data, this enabling function is meant to share AR4D data and statistics. It compiles various data sets for various use-cases based on an open data approach.
- Extension Resources:
The Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D) Extension Resources is a function aimed at facilitating sharing of TIMPS and experiences from the Agricultural extension perspective. Ultimately meant to address the pressing need to exchange resources for enhanced extension services, it serves as a bridging tool to the last mile—the farmers, small and large scale beneficiaries.
- Policies and Strategies:
This theme compiles and highlights resources that support policy makers and experts and practitions aiming to advance the Agricultural Ecosystem, including the legal as well as the knowledge ecosystem. That includes policy briefs as well as legal documents and other resources.
- Learning and Innovation:
The Learning and Innovation theme provides access to learning resources like webinars and other resources that help to enhance competences and increase capacities in agricultural development. Knowledge Talks shall highlight how experts and pioneers envision Agricultural Development in the next years as to understand how new technologies and policies will change Agriculture in the near future.
The Emergencies theme provides access to resources to take immediate action in case of emergencies. It provides contact information in emergency situations as well as resources to increase preparedness for emergencies.
Finally, the Experts Directory transparency of members and contact details are critical to facilitate communication and collaboration. The AR4D Opportunities provide updates for consultancies, jobs and market products.