The correct management of information resources results from the optimum use and application of information and communication technologies for collecting, recording, processing, storing, retrieving, accessing and disseminating data and information, internally among staff members and externally to stakeholders and clients. This is the starting point for the current initiative which began with the assessment of information needs of agricultural and rural development organisations in over 60 countries.
FROM NEEDS ASSESSMENT TO ICM STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT
Since 2003, CTA has been conducting needs assessment studies, workshops and priority-setting activities across the Africa, Pacific and Caribbean regions involving hundreds of senior policy makers, planners and decision-makers from a wide cross-section of agricultural and rural development institutions. These activities have revealed deficiencies in the area of information sharing and dissemination at the planning level within institutions, making it difficult for institutions to effectively monitor, evaluate and learn lessons for the future. The lack of proper ICM strategies and plans is a fundamental concern and is viewed as one of the main reasons for the lack of appropriate human and other resources, and the poor formulation and implementation of ICM activities, impacting negatively on resource allocation and utilisation, for the ultimate benefit of researchers and farmers alike.
Between October 2008 and November 2009, CTA, in collaboration with a number of regional organisations, conducted workshops in ICM strategy development in the Caribbean (St. Vincent), the Pacific (Fiji) and Southern Africa (Namibia). These workshops involved over 100 senior policy makers, planners and decision-makers from a wide cross-section of agricultural and rural development institutions and aimed, to: (1) sensitise them re the importance of having proper ICM strategies to plan, share and disseminate information; and (2) equip them with the necessary tools and methodologies to develop ICM strategies for their institutions. These workshops were well received and a number of institutions in the Pacific and Southern Africa have begun work on their ICM strategies and started networking.
As a direct response to needs expressed through these various processes, CTA is currently developing ICM strategy development curriculum and manuals aimed, on the one hand, to train trainers, and, on the other hand, at users who would wish to develop such a strategy for their organisation.