SENRGy staff provide training on local knowledge acquisition using the AKT5 (Agro-ecological Knowledge Toolkit) software and methodology.
Funded by the CGIAR research programmes: Dryland Systems and Humidtropics.
In May 2013, ICRAF and Bangor University recently held a training course in Lilongwe, Malawi, as part of the Irish Aid-funded Agroforestry for Food Security Programme (AFSP). Participants came from the ICRAF-Malawi office, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bangor University and Copperbelt University. The course was run by Genevieve Lamond, a Research Project Support Officer within the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography (SENRGy) at Bangor University.
The course took place over a two week period, involving practical exercises in the field and theoretical training in local knowledge acquisition of farmers in Linthipe Extension Planning Area, Dedza District – one of the targeted districts under the AFSP. Participants learnt how to use the AKT5 software to create individual knowledge bases after processing interviews they carried out in small groups of two or three in the field. Semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions were held with farmers, with participatory exercises involving drawing activity clocks, resource maps, historical timelines, and seasonal calendars.
Farmers were able to talk about more than 40 trees in the area, their niches and the products and services they provide. In an area that has been subjected to severe deforestation in the past, trees on farms play a crucial role in livelihood security. It is important to understand the opportunities and constraints farmers face in incorporating more trees on their land, so that project interventions can be designed appropriately.
"The field work was very useful and helped to prepare course participants for what their own field work will be like. The mixed nature of the course participants was also a very valuable experience which allowed a good opportunity for networking with other like-minded people from different backgrounds and interests", said Nicholas Wightman (MSc Agroforestry student at SENRGY).
Following on from the training, one PhD student and four MSc students from SENRGy will be applying what they have learnt to their individual thesis projects in Malawi, Zambia, Ethiopia and Uganda.
Publication date: 19 June 2013