Drive to develop digital learning for East African farming

John-Traxler-webResearchers are looking to improve farming practices in East Africa through new digital education systems.

The British Council is sponsoring a workshop for early researchers from UK and Kenyan universities and is looking for participants. It will be led by Professor John Traxler, Professor of Digital learning at the University of Wolverhampton.

The aim is to identify significant research topics for local farming stakeholders, to share and combine innovative research methods and to create a research framework to develop informal and participative digital education systems. It will bring together experts and early researchers from mobile data communications, agriculture and informal learning to hear first-hand about local problems, challenges and opportunities.

Professor Traxler said: “Much of East Africa suffers from problems of poor food security, exacerbated by weak supply-chains, basic education and market information, and by increasingly unpredictable weather conditions. There is also an issue with increasing land-use for large-scale export-driven mono-cultural agribusiness (e.g. cut-flowers, salads for Europe) at the expense of sustainable low-input small-scale subsistence farming.

“East Africa is however also characterised by an incredibly lively and universal mobile telecoms sector and entrepreneur culture. Whilst there are programmes and agencies working at the convergence of these issues, the research base of expertise, experience and methods is fragmented across several disciplines, as is advice and guidance to policy-makers, practitioners and officials.”

The workshop, Learning for Rural Livelihoods – researching the convergence of sustainable agriculture, informal community learning and appropriate digital technology, takes place from June 25 – 28 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya, and is fully funded. Early career researchers will have the opportunity to present their research and discuss with established researchers from the UK and partner countries. A total of 15 places are available.

For details and an application form contact: john.traxler@wlv.ac.uk.

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