CABI’s expertise in digital development has been showcased at the World Literacy Summit which was held at the University of Oxford.

The summit brought together leaders from 85 countries – representing over two-thirds of the world’s population – with a single focus of advocating, championing and educating on the vital importance of literacy levels across the globe.

It is the world’s largest gathering of international literacy specialists, including NGO leaders, researchers, academics, literacy entrepreneurs, education companies, publishers, practitioners, government representatives and learners themselves.

Ada Isaac, Research and Delivery Manager at CABI, gave a presentation as part of the funding/sustainable development stream entitled ‘Exploring the Concept of Defining Knowledge Requirements in Digital Development Programmes.’

Here Ms Isaac spoke about insights on funding and grant making with an overview of the concept of knowledge requirements before outlining lessons learn from CABI’s Enabling Data Access projects.

These include work in Ethiopia and India, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and in partnership with The Open Data Institute (ODI), to facilitate better data-driven decisions within the investments of BMGF Decision Agriculture and the national systems in which the investments operate.

Key to this was an explanation of how tools, guidelines and recommendations on how to manage soil and agronomy data, and data sharing best practice, were developed to support national systems in India and Ethiopia.

She highlighted how the programme is focused on ensuring that large amount of data collected by private and public sectors can be used and reused for efficient, effective and ethical policy decisions, fostering innovation and driving organisation and sector change through transparency.

Ms Isaac said, “In agriculture, there is gross underdevelopment in many global regions with more than 10% of the world’s population currently going hungry.

“Many of these inequalities are as a result of a digital divide – meaning that people in the underdeveloped and developing world lack the technical skills, infrastructure and institutional skills to address some of the gaps in the sector.”

She added that, in respect of CABI’s Enabling Data Programme, the team has focused on understanding how to work with people to comprehend their needs in order to improve data sharing and reuse as well as embed FAIR principles in funded programmes across different innovation ecosystems.

The Data Sharing Toolkit, for instance, which was launched in 2020, provides programme officers and their grantees a set of capacity-building resources that will help them to develop better grants that will foster more access to agricultural data.

It is based on the FAIR principles and helps increase the understanding of good data-sharing practices and the potential benefits, such as greater food security. It includes seven eLearning modules with supporting case studies, checklist, cheat sheets and practical guides.

“The team have employed diverse tools, to define the knowledge requirements of group of persons involved and affected by different projects within the program. These tools have varied with ecosystems and how they have been applied have differed with specific contexts. Some examples are ecosystem mapping, stakeholder engagement, systems thinking, human centred design and monitoring and evaluation activities,” Ms Isaac said.

The World Literacy Summit is hosted biannually by the World Literacy Foundation. More information can be found at World Literacy Foundation.


Additional information

Main image: Ms Isaac spoke about insights on funding and grant making with an overview of the concept of knowledge requirements before outlining lessons learn from CABI’s Enabling Data Access projects (Credit: CABI).

Project page

Learn more from the ‘Enabling data access to support innovation in decision agriculture: soil health, agronomy and fertilizer’ project page.

Relevant story

‘Data Sharing Toolkit could contribute to unlocking greater food security in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.’