During our recent visit to Burkina Faso for the Web-alliance for Regreening Africa (W4RA) project , we organized a two days workshop and invited a mixed audience of people working in agriculture/agroforestry in Burkina, people working in the ICT sector in Burkina, and people from development agencies (e.g. IICD), or international organizations working on agroforestry in other regions of the World. We just published the final agenda with slides, as well as the minutes of the event.
I feel that this event was successful for many reasons. First, it was helpful to gather in the same room people from different background, and to have discussions across the combination of expertise areas. At the end, I had a far better understanding of the issues facing organizations like MARP or Sahel Eco, including what they are doing in the field, their needs in terms of information exchange, and so on. How the Web might help them also became a little more clear.
The second point that impressed me was the positive energy coming out of all the presentations. We heard about stories of community radio and their roles, we heard about the burkina-ntic network, and all the activities of the impressive people from Yam Pukri. We heard about all the projects IICD is running in Mali and Burkina and their impact. Few other people from ICT companies like Softnet-Burkina were also very interesting. In the agroforestry domain, We also heard about the Africa Regreening Initiative, and what innovative farmers are doing and their incredible results. This was really refreshing. In Europe, or western countries in general, it is very rare to read or watch positive stories about Africa. It is always about disaster, starvation, wars, etc. But there are incredible stories, impressive successes, and very enthusiastic organizations and people, and we can see that energy in action, very much like what I witnessed in Kenya, or Uganda when I visited these countries with Tim last november. This is very exciting !
Obviously, this was just a first step, and we have to move from observation to action now. But this visit and this workshop were very positive, and very promising for the future. I will summarize in a future post, the different action areas we identified, and our next steps.
Ps: we also published all the photo and video we took during the whole week.