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CTA. 1994. Networking reviewed. Spore 51. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49387
Information exchange networking for agricultural development by John Nelson and John Farrington 994 86pp ISBN 92 9081 1137 Available from CTA
Networks vary widely in their objectives. Some of them aim to work directly with farmers to help them respond appropriately to the problems and opportunities they face, whilst others support the grassroots organizations that work with farmers. These organizations are usually, but not exclusively, non-governmental. Other networks focus more on policy, assembling information on practical field experience and synthesizing and presenting this information in ways accessible to policy makers at national and international levels. Yet others try to influence policy through advocacy, supporting the activities of members in order to exert influence on particular issues. Information exchange networking for agricultural development - a review of concepts and practices is the title of a book written by John Nelson and John Farrington of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and published by CTA. The book is concerned primarily, as the title would suggest, with information exchange networking, which is defined in the introduction as 'a collaborative process of information exchange, around a central theme, carried out by actively interested parties'. This involves all types of audio-visual or written media. Examples of networking models are given using case histories, and overviews are presented. One chapter deals with two of the most important channels of information exchange used by many networks: the publication of network material for wide circulation (i.e. newsletters) and the organization of workshops. The support mechanisms for networks, such as libraries and databases, are discussed in a further chapter. According to the authors, very few networks are financially self-supporting. Many rely on donor funding, which is well known to be prone to swings of fashion. Networking is in danger of becoming flavour of the month and, once donor fatigue sets in, of suffering from the withdrawal of funds that has affected numerous other initiatives, whose principles are basically sound but which have been distorted by combinations of muddled thinking, stereotyping and the excessive claims by proponents. By seeking to clarify what does and does not constitute networking, and by drawing out both its strengths and weaknesses, this book is an attempt to save networking from a similar fate. Information exchange networking for agricultural development by John Nelson and John Farrington 994 86pp ISBN 92 9081 1137 Available from CTA