Using SMS technology to connect with communities more effectively – EAAI experience

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BELOW is a link to a YouTube Video presentation of the Enhancing Access to Agricultural  Information using ICTs (EAAI)  project  WOUGNET implemented in Apac District between 2005-2010. Last week, we shared this video with the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) especially about how we used the SMS component of the project to connect with Citizens more effectively. This will be presented to course alumni under the IREX Community Solutions Program. Moses Owiny – then Projects Officer based in Apac District – shares the story

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Using SMS Technology to connect with citizens more effectively

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Enhancing Access to Agricultural Information using ICTs in Apac District (EAAI), initiated by the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) in 2005, was designed to develop and improve information and communication systems to enable easy access to agricultural information for rural women farmers. The project was carried out in 12 parishes/villages within Maruzi and Kole counties in the Apac District in Uganda. It was initiated with financial support from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), and aimed to reach 12 grassroots women farmers’ groups as the main beneficiaries.

Communication Strategies:

The EAAI project was developed in response to a study that showed rural farmers lacked information and skills related to improving the quality of their products, improving seeds and crop varieties, sourcing inputs/implements, plant diseases, pests and their control, and soil management and conservation. According to the organisers, this lack of information and skills has limited the production levels of rural farmers, and hence has resulted in limited incomes and poverty.

The project involved setting up the Kubere Information Centre (KIC), which acts as an information resource point and supports project implementation and two-way linkages with the women farmers. From the centre, women farmers can access training in agricultural practices, as well as in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as cell phones. Some of the groups have also received training in group dynamics and management. Group members are also able to share experiences with each other around best practices and new ideas.