Sunday, September 20, 2015

Drones and Aerial Observation : New Technologies for Property Rights, Human Rights, and Global Development

Gregor Maclennan from Digital Democracy talks about the use of UAVs used in the context of indigenous land rights in Guyana.

More information on New America

We have wings to fly - Join the uav4ag community

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones for management of crops, livestock, fisheries, forests and other natural resource-based activities represents a new technological frontier and opens up a range of exciting opportunities. UAVs offer also opportunities for grassroots’ involvement in monitoring use of and access to the resources their livelihoods depend on.

A community has been established on to cater for practitioners, researchers, farmers, entrepreneurs, service providers operating in developing countries and who are interested in the topic.  Members of the community share their experiences in developing UAV technologies and related software applications and more importantly in making use of small UAVs to improve the assessment and management of crops, fishing grounds and other resource-based activities. Relevant events, capacity building opportunities and other resources are signalled as soon as these are known by members of the community.

Being the use of UAVs for agricultural purposes a recent phenomenon, national aviation authorities and potential users are facing new challenges linked to the use of UAVs within their skies. Hence this Community focuses also on existing and forthcoming policies, laws and regulations governing their use.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Rainforest Airforce: Indigenous Peoples Fly Drones to Protect their Land

In August 2014, Tushevs Aerials ( traveled deep in the Peruvan Amazon to train indigenous leaders in the use of remote-control airplanes for the protection and monitoring of their rainforest. The workshop was hosted by AIDESEP, the country's largest indigenous peoples' network, with participants from the Loreto and Madre de Dios Amazon provinces, as well as from the Panama's Embera peoples. This technology enables communities to monitor and defend their territories against legal and illegal pressures.

These are some images from the weeklong workshop, as well as raw footage that the drone captured while flying over the Pacaya-Samiria National Park in the Loreto Province of Peru.

The music is a regional song called El LLanto del Ayaymama and speaks of a local legend of two abandoned children who the forest spirits save by giving them wings. 

Source: YouTube 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Transformative Power of Social Media in Agriculture: Inspiring Stories

The advent of social media has revolutionised the way people communicate worldwide. But in a growing number of developing countries, these tools are being put to increasingly good effect to drive agricultural and rural development, often with dramatic results. A new publication from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) documents the transformative power of these innovative technologies. Based on 18 case studies drawn from across African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries , Embracing Web 2.0 and Social Media: A life-changing pathway for agricultural development actors provides testimonies on how Web 2.0 and social media are contributing to better engagement of stakeholders in policy dialogue and advocacy, marketing and the provision of information services.

The booklet documents a wide range of practical applications for Web 2.0 and social media in ACP settings. Some farmers have found that Facebook can be an excellent marketing channel to promote their products. Extension agents are discovering that social media is a highly effective way of communicating with the people they serve. Agricultural organisations are using a range of social media tools to mount advocacy campaigns aimed at influencing policy-makers. Researchers are using online collaboration tools to work on joint publications, while more and more young people are using new ICT skills to blog about important rural development issues. Others are seizing opportunities to develop innovative online services and launch their own companies as agripreneurs.

“Social media has become part of everyday life for most people in the developed world. But it has created a life-changing experience for many people in rural areas who have come to use it,” said CTA Director Michael Hailu.

All the stories featured in the booklet revolve around people who have benefited from a CTA-led campaign to make Web 2.0 and social media tools more accessible to agriculture and rural development actors in ACP countries.

The figures speak volumes: more than 4,000 individuals trained, 176 face-to-face training events – known as Web 2.0 and social media learning opportunities (LOs) – held in 44 ACP countries. In 2013, the Web 2.0 and social media LOs carried off the prestigious World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Project Prize in the e-Agriculture category.

Impact assessment studies conducted by CTA have revealed that its Web 2.0 and social media capacity-building activities have led to greater inclusion and empowerment for participants, often with far-reaching repercussions for themselves and the people with whom they interact. Adoption rates are high, with young women emerging as the most likely players to adopt social media, following a training course.

In Uganda, local NGOs are using ICTs to support producers, processors and other actors in agricultural value chains. Agronomists from Madagascar are using Web 2.0 and social media to develop knowledge about apiculture. In Central Africa, a farmers’ network institutionalised social media and improved its operational effectiveness. In Samoa, a Facebook and Twitter marketing campaign is producing impressive results for women weavers of ceremonial mats. And in the Caribbean, bloggers and social media reporters are helping other young people to plan a future in farming.

“Many people have told us that the training sessions have not only changed their working behaviour, but their whole lives,” said Giacomo Rambaldi, Senior Programme Coordinator at CTA.

The official launch of the CTA publication will be held on 26 November 2015 during the International Day of Vrije University (VU) in Amsterdam.

The booklet is available for order in print form or for free download from the CTA publications catalogue