Interview with Enrico Bonaiuti from ICARDA

Learn more about Enrico Bonaiuti, a Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) specialist at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), a CGIAR Center, and how his organization engages with AGROVOC. ICARDA is part of the AGROVOC Editorial Community. 

AIMS: Could you tell us more about your work?

I work as the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Specialist at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) a CGIAR Center. In 2015 we had the idea to fill the existing gap of an M&E system for our program blending the M&E aspects with features related to knowledge management and team collaboration . In 2016 we officially launched the MEL Platform in partnership with eight other programs and organizations and together we have increased collaboration around M&E data and sharing . In 2018 we received the Enterprise Business Collaboration Silver Award that recognized the teamwork and support to engage broadly with other initiatives.

MEL.CGIAR.ORG is an online platform for organizations, programs and projects to plan, manage, monitor, evaluate, report and share their activities and results . By allowing all these actions to be completed in one organized space, and by semi-automating many features, it saves both time and resources while reducing the risk of error. Several API have already been implemented and virtually any web-service can be adapted and incorporated, thereby increasing its efficiency. One of the most used one is provided by AGROVOC. Knowledge and Data Repositories have been integrated with the platform to achieve the best data quality and full interoperability. Datasets, publications, reports and presentations are easily retrievable. These features ensure that MEL aligns with F.A.I.R. (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) principles.

It also allows for faster and more informed decision-making both inside an organization and across its partners.

AIMS: How did it lead you to engage with AGROVOC?  

ICARDA and FAO relations go back to its early establishment days in 1977, and AGROVOC is very well known by ICARDA and the CGIAR, as it has been the main reference for all publications. When MEL was designed, we received very good support from the AGROVOC Team, and we were able to implement MEL-AGROVOC interoperability in a short time.

AIMS: How do you use AGROVOC?

We have interoperated AGROVOC in MEL. When our users use keywords in knowledge products, activities, indicators we match them with AGROVOC. Each month we dynamically refresh all terms in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Russian and Portuguese in the database with the latest AGROVOC release in order to re-link previous terms that were not AGROVOC before. This helps to better curate our information and distribute these linkages to connected websites and repositories such as DSPACE and DATAVERSE . We recently started doing more keywords intelligence on their frequency as this can help to organize better knowledge, make decisions on which terms to translate (if not already done in AGROVOC) and assess where we have knowledge gaps.   

AIMS: What do you expect to contribute to AGROVOC? 

We started last year to add some definitions used by our scientists which were not available in AGROVOC both in English and Arabic which will encourage our users to consider AGROVOC as their main reference and on the same time it will enrich AGROVOC directory with news terms and definitions.

AIMS: What are you looking forward to in relation to AGROVOC in 2020? 

This year we plan to dedicate more time to translate concepts used by our scientists that are not available in AGROVOC. We also plan to further promote the use of AGROVOC in the countries/regions we operate in partnership with the AGROVOC Team.