Doing Development Differently
Here at Climate Edge we do not believe that progress is best achieved by relying on one source of knowledge. Alongside our own research we place great importance on talking to and learning from professionals from all disciplines, from farmers to engineers to botanists. One particular medium that has fed into many of our ideas is the wealth of articles and literature which we are privileged to have access to. We will be posting some of the more interesting pieces on our blog page to open up discussion and to spread these arguments further.
The first of which is an article by Duncan Green, strategic advisor for Oxfam GB. Within the article, Duncan takes a quote from Ben Ramalingam regarding adaptive management, which is something that we at Climate Edge have tried to integrate into every aspect of our approach:
“It means bosses trusting people closer to the problem. In contrast ‘traditional management’ assumes you have the answers and you need to get them into place at the right time. Adaptive Management assumes you don’t have the answers, and need a system to generate them as and when they are needed in any given context.”
We believe this is key when it comes to adapting farm management in the face of unpredictable environmental and economic climates. Nobody has all the skills necessary to generate a definitive or complete answer by themselves. It would therefore be misguided for us to attempt to dictate a best course of action for all farms and farmers. In contrast, our focus is on the creation of a set of standardised methodologies and tools that can help lessen the uncertainty of decision making without us taking a leading role. This necessitates working closely with the farmers themselves and putting the control back in their hands.
In this article, Duncan also discusses a triptych diagram, where each of the points compensate for the other’s weaknesses. The three points are: participation, data and adaptive management. Again, this is something that rings very true with the work that we are doing. It is not a case that any one of those points is a silver bullet; all three must be developed simultaneously to compensate for the shortcomings that the others present.
Getting more data from farms is a need that has been expressed again and again in recent times. Although we agree that this is important (hence why we are developing tools to make this process much more efficient) one must bear in mind what this data will be used for. Data alone will not change anything. This data must be processed within a network of support that is centered around the user so that better decisions can be made with lessening levels of input from external agents. It is this ambition that led us to develop the companion model to the nexo data-logger.