In January 2016, in Kenema and Kailahun District, Eastern Sierra Leone a series of workshops to test the prototype of a Digital Farmer Field School (DFFS) have been undertaken with Fair Trade Cocoa certification trainers and with cocoa producing farmer groups. The prototype has been developed as a response to the Ebola epidemic, which isolated farmer groups from outsider contact and thereby creating a unique situation for innovating on existing communication services for knowledge sharing.
The experience in Sierra Leone has generated a detailed insight into the usage access, operational skills of farmer groups and ICT readiness in this context from the perspective of both involved farmer groups as well as related institutions of service providers and traders.
The dedicated visual and local language (Krio) based approach of the prototype indicates promising options resulting from applying well-developed design principles and a focus on contextualized content creation. This ICT based application or Digital Farmer Field School is a further development of a WUR/KTI Science Shop project and was financed by FairMatch support which aims to continue developing the DFFS. A further study of the experiences in Sierra Leone aims to contribute to a cultural dimension in frameworks of responsible innovation.