In 2006, in partnership with a number of development agencies, CTA pioneered the area of Web 2.0 and social media for development.
After a successful international conference held in September 2007 at FAO in Rome, and in response to requests coming from individuals and institutions in ACP countries, CTA started offering capacity building opportunities. These occurred mainly through face-to-face interactions. In 2012, CTA started offering a ‘blended instructional approach’ by partnering with UNITAR and adding distance learning to face-to-face training.
All activities were and are geared towards building capacity among agricultural value chain actors in ACP countries to use Web 2.0 and social media to improve their work efficiency, reduce operational costs and better interact with their constituencies.
Over the years CTA has maintained close contact with the beneficiaries of these activities by nurturing a bilingual community of practice hosted on Dgroups and through a number of social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Close monitoring of outputs, outcomes and impact, and publishing lessons learned and success stories has helped CTA gain a solid reputation in this area and earn the prestigious WSIS Project price in 2013 specifically in the e-agriculture category.
Progress to date
As of December 2015, training events have taken place in 44 ACP countries and a total of 4425 individuals have been trained. Partner organisations which co-host events include ministries of agriculture and/or fisheries, academia and actors along agricultural value chains (e.g. Eastern Africa Grain Council). Increasingly events are run as franchises with no financial input from CTA. Direct beneficiaries include farmers/fishers organisations, private sector, youth and women, national government agencies, consumer associations, NGO staff, and to a lesser extent researchers.
Two impact assessments have been completed (2008-2010 and 2011-2012) and an assessment covering the period 2013-2014 was initiated in November 2015. Results of the exercises and resulting recommendations have been taken into consideration to improve service delivery. This is regularly confirmed by the high satisfaction rate (~ 98%) expressed by trainees at the end of their courses.
Over the years CTA has established an English-speaking trainers’ community which – as of December 2015 – accounted for 116 members from 33 countries.
Face-to-face events are complemented by distance learning courses run by UNITAR and offered by CTA to selected would-be-trainers working for partner institutions with the objective of strengthening internal capacities and ensuring replication of the curriculum, possibly using a franchise model.