Five MSc Agroforestry students at Bangor University are currently in the process of writing up their theses on local knowledge of farmers from a range of different sites, in Malawi, Ethiopia and Central America, and two MSc Tropical Forestry distance learning students are about to start their projects in Malawi and Zambia after attending the AKT5 training in Lilongwe in May.

Next week from 12th-16th August, we're running two short courses on AKT5 hosted by ICRAF at the ILRI campus in Addis Ababa. The first two day course will be an introduction for new users of knowledge bases and the following three day course is designed to develop the skills of knowledge base developers who have already attended one of our two week training courses.This is funded by the USAID Africa RISING project: Africa RISING

Find out more about scholarships at Bangor University here: MSc Tropical Forestry commonwealth scholarships at Bangor University


We'll be running the next AKT5 training course in Lilongwe, Malawi, from 20th-31st May - this will be contributing to the second phase of the Agroforestry Food Security Programme (AFSP) funded by Irish Aid and implemented by ICRAF. Check out what they've already done here: Agroforestry Food Security Programme


We're currently updating the Help in the AKT5 software so that users can easily look up things they're unsure about. There are summaries of all the most useful tools and the output they produce, besides details on how to create object hierarchies, topics, and topic hierarchies. Look out for the next release of AKT5 coming soon!


Hi Everyone,

We have recently held two training courses in AKT5 - one run by Emilie Smith in Burkina Faso and the other by Genevieve Lamond in Ethiopia. In other news, three MSc Agroforestry students from Bangor have just embarked on their fieldwork for the next few months in Ethiopia and Central America, and then two more will start in early June!

Summaries of the courses are given below:

Training on local knowledge acquisition using the AKT5 (Agro-ecological Knowledge Toolkit) software and methodology, held in Adama, Ethiopia 4th-15thFebruary 2013
Organized jointly by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Bangor University

Funded by ACIAR Trees for Food Security project

ICRAF and Bangor University organized a training course in Adama for stakeholders from different parts of the country, MSc students from Bangor University, ICRAF staff from Nairobi HQ and partner institutes in Rwanda under the ACIAR Trees for Food Security project.

The course took place over a two week period, involving practical exercises in the field and theoretical/methodological training in local knowledge acquisition of farmers and extension agents in one of the proposed research sites for the Trees for Food Security project, Ejersa Joro Kebele, East Showa Zone of Ethiopia. Participants learnt how to use the AKT5 software to create individual knowledge bases using the interviews they carried out in small groups of two or three in the field. Participatory exercises were combined with semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions, including resource mapping, historical timelines, and seasonal calendars. Class based activities included landscape characterization and stakeholder analysis, learning how to process interviews and represent knowledge using the AKT5 software. Topics covered during interviews were: soil types in the area, spatial arrangement of trees in the landscape and on farms, temporal aspects of tree management, seasonal fodder availability and cropping practices. Farmers were able to talk about 28 tree species in the area, their niches and the products and services they provide. At the end of the training course, a feedback session was held with the interviewed farmers and extension agents to clarify and discuss the findings and participants were awarded with course completion certificates. News on the SENRGY, Bangor University website

Training on local knowledge acquisition using the AKT5 (Agro-ecological Knowledge Toolkit) software and methodology, held in
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso 21st January-1st February 2013

A two-week course on local knowledge acquisition using the Agroecological Knowledge Toolkit (AKT5) was conducted in Burkina Faso from 21st January to 1st February 2013 in the framework of the McKnight regional project "Agro-ecological intensification of sorghum and pearl millet-based production systems in the Sahel through agroforestry: linking farmers' knowledge to process-based science".

The course was organized jointly by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Institut de l'Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles (INERA), with the support of Bangor University and was funded by The McKnight Foundation and ICRAF/MARS V4C Project. The aim of the course was to enhance the capacity of a multi-disciplinary team of West African scientists interested in integrated mixed farming systems through the use of AKT5, a methodology and software grounded in a knowledge-based system approach. The AKT5 training was delivered in French with customized training material to help francophone participants use the English language software and learn its formal grammar.

11 researchers took part in the AKT5 training program including McKnight project members from the National Agricultural Research Systems (INERA of Burkina Faso, and IER of Mali) and regional ICRAF staff, including researchers working on CRP1.1 and ICRAF/MARS V4C Project. The course combined six class-based days of theory and software application (formal representation of knowledge and creation of knowledge bases) with four days in the field. Local knowledge acquisition focused on tree-crop-livestock interactions to highlight initial opportunities and constraints for agroecological intensification in the Sudanian parklands.

The training will form the basis of further knowledge acquisition in the project site of Nobéré and prepare the Malian team to begin similar work in the site of Téguéna. Through a better understanding of the processes underpinning the functioning of complex mixed production systems, the project team will design pertinent research questions linked to potential strategies for agro-ecological intensification that will inform a full proposal to be submitted to the McKnight Foundation. Ivorian participants are planning to apply the AKT5 methodology to collect local knowledge about associated trees in cocoa farming systems in the region of Soubré to better understand how trees can contribute to increasing productivity and sustainability.