CIALCA organises an ICT for Agriculture workshop for 20 PhD-students and partners

CIALCA aims to strengthen the capacity of national scientists and practitioners to facilitate sustainable agri-food system transformation. To do so, CIALCA understands that scientists and practitioners need access to and understanding of innovative digital technologies, to empower research and decision-making.

Between 4-5 September 2019, 20 CIALCA scientists, researcher, PhD students, and partners from Burundi, DR Congo, and Rwanda gathered in Bujumbura for an intensive two-day course on the use of digital tools for data collection. The workshop was developed to provide participants an introduction to the use of digital tools in agriculture and provide a foundation for applying them in research.

On the first day, participants were introduced to how digital tools are revolutionising agricultural practices and research and how CIALCA is harnessing them for its research. Participants were provided with the basic skills required for using Open Data Kit (ODK) (a digital tool for developing customisable data collection forms) to collect data from the field. CIALCA scientists and researchers provided walkthroughs of the basics of ODK and shared their experience on how to develop easy-to-use forms for field-trial (simulating CIALCA’s Nutrient Omission Trials) and household data collection (simulating CIALCA’s extensive household surveying).

On the second day, participants applied ODK in the ‘real-world’, in situations that they might find themselves: scanning bar-codes to assign fields in NOTs trial; performing household surveys. Finally, participants applied the skills they’d learnt to develop their own data collection forms, receiving assistance from other participants and experienced insights from trainers.

Neema Ciza, CIALCA PhD student from the University of Liege, offered that the skills gained from the workshop will “…allow me to save more time, guarantee certainty and credibility in data quality by reducing errors in data collection.”

Photo caption: Workshop participants ‘in the field’ practicing using ODK software on their smartphones for trials and household surveys.