Published on May 1st, 2013 | by Pattie Kettle0
Mother Nature’s Sons/Daughters Go Digital with Digital Green
Information and communication technology are effective tools for amplifying the effectiveness of development efforts across the globe for affecting sustained, social change.
Digital Green embraces this principle and has built a system which combines modern technology and social organization to improve the cost-effectiveness and broaden community participation of existing agricultural extension systems.
Digital Green is dedicated to improving the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of small farmer livelihoods. We aim to raise the livelihoods of smallholder farmers across the developing world through the targeted production and dissemination of agricultural information via participatory video and mediated instruction through grassroots-level partnerships.
The unique components of the Digital Green system combine technology, information and education by using the following system
- A participatory process for local video production
- A human-mediated instruction model for dissemination and training
- A hardware and software technology platform for exchanging data in areas with limited Internet and electrical grid connectivity
- An iterative model to progressively better address the needs and interests of the individual communities with analytical tools and interactive phone-based feedback channels.
Digital Green works with existing, people-based extension systems and their goals and aims to amplify their effectiveness. This is unique to other systems which expect information or communication technology alone to deliver useful knowledge and information to farmers. Digital Green is based on human interaction and community support. Local social networks are tapped to connect farmers with experts; the thrill of appearing ‘on TV’ is a powerful motivator for farmers; and homophily (or the tendency for people to have [non-negative] ties with people who are similar to them) is exploited in a way that minimizes the distance between teacher and learner promoting a sense of shared learning and community.
The purpose of the Digital Green system is to combine technology and social organization in powerful ways which maximize the potential for the farmers to enhance their capacity for improved, sustainable agriculture and allied livelihood interventions. Videos from Digital Green are produced by farmers, of farmers, and for farmers across the various field locations and are periodically synchronized with the global library of videos on the Digital Green website.
Digital Green has a wide variety of NGO and corporate partners which support their efforts across India. Their current key statistics show 9,055 groups attending the video disseminations with an average of 175.1 videos disseminated per day and average attendance at the video screenings of 13.79 villagers. Data associated with the farming videos – including their reach in real-time- is aggregated and analyzed on their analytics dashboards. Viewer feedback and tracking the implementation of the featured practices is also aggregated and analyzed. By using a data management framework called COCO, this allows even remote areas with limited Internet and electrical connectivity to exchange data globally.