IITA uses digital tools to improve delivery of research products and knowledge
Digital communication is the present. That is why IITA is continuously working to improve its digital delivery system for increased impact. In the last decade, ICTs have emerged as frontline tools for transforming agricultural systems in sub-Saharan Africa. The present COVID-19 pandemic has made it necessary for the government and non-governmental agencies in Africa to adopt digital technologies for the smooth delivery of knowledge and services to end-users.
IITA is using over 50 ICT applications (apps), mostly developed in-house and with various partners for research and data management, agritech requirements, delivery, knowledge sharing, marketing, and other uses. The Institute had organized two interproject workshops at the end of 2019, to showcase these digital knowledge platforms but also to harmonize ICTs and state extension services for better delivery.
The first workshop brought together IITA teams and collaborators to highlight various apps developed in IITA, while the second introduced IITA-developed digital tools to extension workers, the media, and collaborators working in the same digital space offering agricultural solutions. The workshops showcased the various ICTs in use at different levels of the agricultural value chain.
Recently, the Institute set up an institute-wide working group to bridge various interest groups and harmonize work on digital delivery and realize objectives for greater efficiency and impact. Development of apps and digital tools is now being coordinated and harmonized across the Institute.
This coordinated approach will enable IITA to serve its beneficiaries better through co-creation, and faster and more efficient knowledge sharing to help transform agricultural systems in sub-Saharan Africa.
Knowledge and product sharing for adoption by end-users are critical in achieving research and development outcomes. Together, they present opportunities for collaboration and resource mobilization, especially with the current challenges of limited mobility and physical distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Streamlining the development of apps and creating a community of interested practitioners provide IITA with an opportunity to lead in product delivery in Africa.