Puthumai Nazarene, Emergency Consultant for CKS, saw an opportunity to help farmers share agricultural practices by developing the DevInfo database. After being introduced to DevInfo at a February 2011 training in Pune, he worked with one of his interns from Seattle University to build the adaptation: “By identifying the areas in which the production of jute is lower than others, we can help farmers improve the quality of their cultivation,” he says. According to Nazarene, cultivating jute requires a precise knowledge of how to utilize water: a little is needed at the right time and any excess will be detrimental to the production in the initial days. In addition to this, a specific amount of fertilizer – not too little, not too much – is also required.
Since jute represents the main source of income for thousands of people in the region, several individuals at key non-profit organizations were trained to use the database so that they could identify areas of need and educate farmers on best practices.
The data from jute production is taken from the official website of the office of the Jute Commissioner, but Mr. Nazarene says that the mapping visualizations available in the DevInfo database are an added value: “It turns complex data into something that is easy to understand, and therefore encourages people to take action.”
In the upcoming months, the Center for Knowledge and Skills will train additional non-profit organizations on the use of the DevInfo database, and start working on additional data about brick production, another important rural income-generating task. Their team is keen on working with lower-level humanitarian agencies that might not have the resources or the knowledge to conduct special trainings on the tool. When more people have access to the jute and brick databases, non-profit organizations can identify areas of intervention with appropriate development strategies.
With a special database on disaster management already developed for the State Inter Agency Group of West Bengal, Mr. Nazarene ensures that “This is just the beginning of our work using DevInfo. We want to make sure that the maximum number of people in West Bengal can tap into the potential of the technology.”
Data making a difference.
For more information, please contact Puthumai Nazarene, Emergency Consultant, Center for Knowledge and Skills, at firstname.lastname@example.org