Institutional Seeting of KMS in Uganda
The National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) was created in 1992 as the dominant agency to guide and consolidate public research services. The organization was mandated to “undertake, promote and co-ordinate research in all aspects of crops, fisheries, forestry and livestock, while ensuing dissemination and application of research. NARO, a major role player in Integrated Research for Development (IAR4D), has undergone a major reform process that has transformed the organization into a consortium of public and non-public sector service providers. NARO is part of the National Agricultural Research System (NARS). The NARS is composed of: (i) NARO’s Public Agricultural Research Institutes, of which there are 6 National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) and 9 Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institutes (ZARDIs); (ii) others, such as Universities; (iii) Commercial enterprises; (iv) Commercial association; (v) Civil Society Organizations; (vi) Providers of personal services; (vii) Professional associations; (vii) the organized farming public; (iii) International organizations and regional partners (e.g. International Agricultural Research Centres; Global Forum for Agricultural Research; (iii) regional Centres and Networks; (iv) Private sector firms; (v) Advanced agricultural Research Institutes; and (vi) Foreign owned private (research) companies.
The Zonal Agricultural research and Development Institutes (ZARDIs) were only instituted after the reform in 2006 with a specific mandate for a particular agro-ecological zone. The ZARDIs mainly focus on adaptive research and are as such an essential link between ‘theory’ (National Agricultural Research Institutes, regional and other international Programmes, Universities) and practice (intermediary services such as NAADS, Farmer Organizations and the commercial sector). The Agricultural Universities, are part of the non-PARI category of research service providers, but are an exceptionally strong sub category. Makerere University is by far the most active participant in agricultural research other than NARO. There are a number of new universities that have established, or are establishing agriculture – related departments which will eventually be engaged in research. Research at universities is not based on programs but rather is organized around institutional mandates, student training and donor goals and objectives. Other service providers that have been registered as non-PARI members of the NARS are e.g.: AK-Oils and Fats Ltd; Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme; Enterprise Support and Community Development; Community-based Vector Control Organization; Appropriate technologies (AT-U) Ltd; Masindi District Farmers’ Association; Hoima District Farmers’ Association; Uganda Organic Seed Producers and Processors Association; Environmental Alert (EA) and NASECO.
The Agricultural Research Information Service (ARIS) Unit of NARO is the contact point for KMS. The Unit spearheaded the QAS of CTA and FARA well. Using the experience so far gained, they staff are expected to do better. The Unit will be the coordination centre and it will play a leading role in getting information from relevant people from the thirteen research institutues, Universities and private sector including NGOs.
Uganda launched the Regional Agricultural Inforamtion Learning System (RAILS) Platform in 2009. The close colaboration between NARO and FARA through RAILS has ssen the creation of an eRAILS website for Uganda with the aim of sharing and exchanging information and knowledge.
The Knowledge Management Operational Environment
All staff in NARO have unlimited access to Computers to enable them do their research and support work but also share information and knowledge. NARO with its 13 PARIs have a about 820 staff with over 400 computers making it a ratio of about 1:2. There are efforts to make sure that every staff has a personal computer provided by NARO. However, the staff who do not have allocated computers have their own. They acquired the computers through a scheme "Computer for all" that NARO supported by giving interest-free loans to staff to acquire computers.
All institutes have connection to Internet with local area network and in some cases; like the Secretariat, wireless connection to allow Internet access by all. NARO has installed relevant harware and software for wide area network and is ready for commissioning.
Every institute has a library and the main library is at ARIS. Our staff are free to use univeristy (public and private) libraries for their relevant information.