The Amanzi For Food programme has been working to share and develop effective rainwater harvesting and conservation approaches for five years now. A core component of this process has been to promote collaboration and learning through multi-stakeholder learning networks. Celebrating the fact that change is a collective process, researchers from the Environmental Learning Research Center are now looking to take stock of the learning networks that have emerged from the Amanzi For Food programme over this period. To do this, we’ve been using a network mapping approach called Net-Map in order to work with network members to build up a clearer picture about who constitutes these networks, what kind of information is being shared between members and how might these networks be strengthened in future. We’ve started with the Imvotho Bubomi Learning Network in the Eastern Cape, and after a series of visits to the farms, offices and homes of an assortment of network members in March and April the first phase of data collection is coming to completion. We’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to share their knowledge and perspectives with us!
Collectively network members listed over 80 social actors within this learning network who exchange information on a wide range of topics through hundreds of individual relationships and engagements!
With the first round of network maps now in we are beginning to consolidate the information that was shared with us. We’re hoping this information will be of use to the networks as they develop and evolve. However, we also believe that there are important lessons that the Amanzi For Food learning networks will have to share with other farmers, training institutions and policy makers as South Africa steps up its game in order to further develop a just and sustainable farming sector. So watch this space!