The Regional Agricultural Information Network (RAIN) is a new network of agricultural information organizations and professionals in 10 countries in eastern and central Africa – Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
Funded by the European Development Fund (EDF) for a period of five years, with additional financial support from the African Development Bank, CTA, USAID and the FAOWAICENT Outreach Programme, RAIN is promoting the provision of client-oriented agricultural information throughout the region.
RAIN, which began operations in 2003, is a project of the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA). The network is not the first ASARECA initiative aimed at improving the provision of agricultural information. An earlier project, AfricaLink, had a similar objective. Whereas AfricaLink sought to improve access to information by integrating ICTs into the operations of research organizations, RAIN is now addressing the need to strengthen capacities throughout the region to manage and exchange such information.
As a continuation of AfricaLink project, RAIN will assist national agricultural research institutes to obtain access to IT hardware and software. The network will also introduce new initiatives aimed at enhancing information and communication management (ICM)/ICT skills; improving access to existing agricultural information; generating new content; and harmonizing agricultural information policies. To realize these objectives, RAIN is collaborating with other regional organizations and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA).
As part of its efforts to encourage all stakeholders to participate in its activities, the network has developed public relations materials in English and French, and a bilingual website where visitors can download key documents and publications.
Dorothy Mukhebi is regional coordinator of RAIN.
For more informaton, visit the RAIN website