Agriculture remains the predominant rural livelihood in the Asia-Pacific region. Although rural livelihoods are not exclusive to agriculture-based activities, they comprise the lion's share of rural livelihoods in the Asia-Pacific region. The role of information and communication play an important role in agricultural production and rural livelihood resilience. As regions become more connected and at once exposed to the vulnerabilities of globalisation, what role can information and communication tools play in strengthening livelihood outcomes for the rural poor?
Despite increasing anecdotal evidence of ICTs improving livelihoods in developing countries, this unfortunately has not translated into a proportionate body of evidence-based research to support such claims. ENRAP (Knowledge Networking for Rural Development in Asia/Pacific Region) is an IFAD-IDRC collaboration, which has engaged in a scoping study on the role of ICTs in rural livelihoods to assess the state of play in this area and possible successful initiatives that could be replicated or evaluated to build this evidence, which can then be a useful resource to rural development projects for possible replication.
The scoping studies recommend several initiatives in South and South East Asia that can be evaluated for the impact that ICTs have had oÂn livelihoods of the rural poor. In addition they outline some concept notes for testing action research pilots.
These reports are available at:
The next steps in this initiative is to bring together the key thinkers, researchers and practitioners in ICTs and Livelihoods to debate, validate the scoping results and form a research advisory community which can inform subsequent research in this area. The meeting is being hosted by LIRNEasia in Sri Lanka between 16-17 February 2009.
This face-to-face meeting will allow selected researchers and practitioners engaged in ICT and Rural Livelihoods in the Asia Pacific region to agree on a series of activities leading to forming of a new research network (or formation of a focused sub- network, within an existing network) to advance knowledge and capacity building on the subject. Specifically, and for the short term, the meeting will result in determining the best possible approach to (a) undertaking a series of evaluations on selected projects; and (b) designing and implementing selected action research pilot projects.
Objectives of the meeting:
1. To receive feedback from other ICT4L experts and practitioners on the scoping reports recommendations with regard to:
a) the research framework
b) the range of evaluation studies recommended and the expected outcomes.
c) Action-pilots: the design and hypothesis that is proposed to be tested.
2. Forming the research network: what processes and mechanisms should be adopted, what would be the role of practitioners and the mentors; who would like to be involved in implementing or mentoring further research studies (both evaluations and action research).
Who is invited:
Expert researchers and practitioners in the area of ICTs and livelihoods, rural poverty who can: a) act as mentors or advisors to those implementing further research studies in ICTs for livelihoods through a network modality b) those who may be interested in undertaking further research studies either through evaluations or action research in ICTs.
Role of participants:
Comment on the findings of the scoping reports.
Make recommendations on the research framework, initiatives for conducting evaluations and action pilots.
Recommend and share their views oÂn the next steps in forming a research network, in order to roll out and guide future research work in the area of ICT for livelihoods under ENRAP.
The World Bank hosted workshops as part of its ICT sector week which include presentations on ICTs for livelihoods. Please visist: http://go.worldbank.org/0LND2JIQP0
Working Paper by ODI on Enhancing the Rural Livelihoods of the Poor Knowledge Map: