With the readjustment in the agricultural sector due to COVID 19 pandemic, access to educative agriculture information and training which is a key element for agricultural development became a challenge since we could not conduct the usual trainings we were conducting every month.
It is during those times that ADC felt farmers needed an opportunity for education at their own convenience with no restriction on time and location. The need to adopt a cost-effective means to facilitate trainings without necessarily endangering the lives of both our trainers and farmers was what pushed our Innovations Department to start developing an e-learning platform. An E-learning platform without the necessity of a physical classroom, cater for learner preferences with inclusion of features like audio, video or text and allows learners choose their learning path and navigate at their own pace.
Our innovations team developed SOMA, a self-paced online portal tailored to the needs of individual farmers and Farmer-Based Organizations(FBOs) also known as Cooperatives.
SOMA is designed on a self-based learning methodology where members can access the system, register for accounts and choose any courses they may wish to learn and gain skills.
Driving Farmer Literacy
Agricultural development in a changing world is not only dependent on constantly improving existing practices but also on the adoption of innovations like SOMA.
SOMA takes into consideration the different possibilities e-learning has to offer.
It incorporates allowing learners an opportunity to access the available courses within their respective geographical locations at a time convenient for them at no cost. With agriculture being Uganda’s most important export sector, several factors including limited availability of finance, lack of access to timely and quality market information as well as poor agricultural practices to mention but a few are an obstacle.
ADC, with a desire of training farmers in becoming self-sufficient developed SOMA to provide knowledge in areas such as Good Governance, Financial Literacy and Marketing.
Why a Farmers' Platform?
ADC was established in 2017 with support from Rabobank Foundation, a Netherlands based organization and DFCU Bank (Uganda). With agriculture being the backbone of Uganda and employing 70% of Ugandans, the ADC through training aims to support farmer-based organizations in becoming self-sufficient and bankable. In a means to create professional development opportunities for agriculture practitioners, ADC creates innovative ideas that are effective and efficient for farmers in Uganda to earn a living enough to sustain their families as well.
The first steps of e-learning in agriculture have been taken in countries like Asia by the Asia – Pacific Regional Technology Centre (APRTC) in Thailand. Fully exploiting electronic media and maximizing its usefulness while creating a well-designed electronic training system for learners.
The online programs available on SOMA are designed to engage the learners and avail learning resources in the form of case studies for their benefit. Lessons are available in English, Luganda, Luo, and Runyakitara. The choice is simply yours.