More on Art, Science and Agriculture

The call for examples of art, science and agriculture incited Eugenio Tisseli to submit this SEAD white paper )


Case Study and Lessons Learned: Sauti ya wakulima, “The voice of the farmers”

Eugenio Tisseli

Sauti ya wakulima, “The voice of the farmers”, is a collaborative knowledge
base created by farmers from the Chambezi region of the Bagamoyo District in
Tanzania by gathering audiovisual evidence of their practices using
smartphones to publish images and voice recordings on the Internet. The
participants of Sauti ya wakulima, a group of five men and five women,
gather every Monday at the agricultural station in Chambezi. They use a
laptop computer and a 3G Internet connection to view the images and hear the
voice recordings that they posted during the week. They also pass the two
available smartphones on to other participants, turning the phones into
shared tools for documentation and observation. The smartphones are equipped
with GPS modules and an application that makes it easy to send pictures and
sounds to the Internet. The farmers at Chambezi use them to document their
daily practices, make reports about their observations regarding changes in
climate and related issues, and also to interview other farmers, expanding
thus their network of social relationships. The farmers at Chambezi not only
struggle because of insufficient infrastructure and unreliable markets for
their products, but they are also facing the challenges of a changing local
climate. Less rains, less underground water and unprecedented threats caused
by pests and plant diseases are some of the pressing issues that they have
to deal with. However, they know that by sharing their knowledge on how to
cope with these problems, they can become stronger and find ways to overcome
them. They hope that, by communicating their observations to extension
officers and scientific researchers, who can be in remote locations, they
can participate in the design of new strategies for adaptation. We will draw the
lessons learned from this project for future projects of this type.


In the full paper that will be presented at ISEA 2012 the conclusion is:


The original research question was to identify the communication needs of farmers as relating to climate
change and their adaptation to rapid change. By including artists on the team and artistic methods such as the
rich pictures and smartphones we allowed the farmers creative freedom to document as they chose. We
contend that this creative freedom motivated the farmers to participate and to continue to post



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