A library of over 400 information products has grown out of a soil project in Africa

malkia_cropped

Last week, on 5 December, a global celebration took place that aims to connect people with soils and raise awareness about their critical importance in our lives—World Soil Day. During GFAR’s partner spotlight this week, CABI would like to share with you how a unique library of promotional materials has grown out of a soil health project.

Since 2011, the CABI-led Africa Soil Health Consortium (ASHC) has been working with partners to develop materials that promote Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM). In addition to sharing the information with farmers, every piece of promotional material has been placed into a searchable library on the ASHC website. A good number of the materials fall within the 2016 World Soil Day theme ‘Soils and pulses, a symbiosis for life’ covering crops such as common bean, soybean and groundnut.

zalisha-soya-bora
Zalisha Soya Bora is an A3 poster giving information on growing soybean. It was produced as part of the Scaling-Up Improved League Technologies (SILT) program running the Legume Alliance campaign in Tanzania.

The collection of material is not just an archive of ASHC’s work, but is meant to be an inspiration to others who regularly face the task of repackaging information materials to increase uptake of technologies. We know how intimidating it can be sitting looking at a blank sheet or, even more difficult, a dense scientific publication, trying to produce a guide for farmers or a poster for an agro-dealer’s shop.

By sharing all the materials that have been developed on an open access basis, ASHC hopes to make it easier for others to create new inspiring materials. You can download materials developed by the consortium and adapt them where necessary for a specific context or agro-ecological zone.

You may be inspired by a format – or decide to adapt some of the text from a leaflet that you think would inspire farmers. Often artwork or photographs can be shared too, as many of the materials are presented as Creative Commons.

 

malkia
Malkia Saves the Seed was commissioned by ASHc and published in Shujaaz, a youth media magazine, developed by Well Told Story, the double Emmy Award winning, Kenyan-based, social communications consultancy, in partnership with Farm Inputs Promotions Africa (case study), and Peter Okoth and CIAT (agronomic impact)

 

From handbooks, to field guides, flyers, leaflets and posters, the array keeps expanding. ASHC has even recently uploaded radio transcripts from its partnership work in Tanzania to support audiences that work with radio.

The ASHC online library currently consists of 414 materials developed in partnerships involving more than 60 leading organizations from African and beyond, and both the partnerships and collection keep growing. In fact, we have recently added some new material to the site.

As the site grows, we are also keen to ensure it remains truly intuitive and responsive to the end users of each material. We will continue to refine the online resource in 2017 to ensure increased openness of ASHC materials, improved search functionality, linkage to relevant open data source content as well as available tools to help users develop their own ISFM materials.

Currently you can search by:

26 crops from banana to yam

25 languages from Arabic to Zama

40 African counties from Angola to Zimbabwe

17 formats from audio to social media

11 suggested target audiences from agro-dealers to universities

10 ISFM practices from improved seed to rotation

We see the core users of the materials library being extension support teams, scientists, input producers, policy-makers and communications specialists, but the materials are open for anyone to use.

Visit the ASHC collection and download the materials here.

For more information on ASHC, see: https://africasoilhealth.cabi.org/

This blog post is  part of GFAR’s Partner Spotlight on CABI (12-16 December). For more information on the Partners in GFAR, and to become a Partner, visit the GFAR website!

 


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