Five new public library services for farmers have been launched in Kenya and Uganda with support from the EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP). These new services demonstrate the increasingly important role of public libraries in improving farmers’ lives and supporting agriculture development.
Through providing grants and building libraries’ capacity, EIFL-PLIP aims to show how - with limited additional support - libraries can be dynamic development partners. The new Africa grants follow a six-country research study into perceptions of public libraries in Africa, which found that libraries were highly valued for their traditional role as providers of books and space for study, but were not seen as modern technology service providers or active community development partners. EIFL-PLIP works to shift this perception.
The new services all use ICT to improve information flows and knowledge sharing about crucial topics like plant pests and animal diseases, weather patterns, environmental sustainability, farming practices, consumer needs and market prices. They strengthen vital links between farmers and essential support agencies like local and international research institutes, government ministries, weather stations, agricultural extension workers, and markets. In remote places, where transport and telecommunications infrastructure is extremely poor, libraries may be farmers’ only link to the outside world.
To read more about these exciting new services, click on the links below:
- Kenya – Busia Community Library – using Smart phones and other ICT to support agribusiness and connect farmers to markets.
- Uganda – Kachumbala Area Cooperative Enterprise Community Library – farmers learn ICT skills to take part in farmer-to-farmer knowledge-sharing service.
- Uganda – Maendeleo Foundation – Internet-based database of information for farmers throughout Uganda in local languages.
- Uganda – National Library of Uganda – teaming up with a telecentre to create opportunities for women farmers.
- Uganda – Rwenzori Information Network – Smart phone service to combat plant pests and diseases.
- The new services increase the number of public and community library agricultural services supported by EIFL-PLIP to 12.