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[PROJECT SUMMARY]: FarmEd Timor February 2019

Jemima Crawford
Jemima Crawford | 10 months ago | in FarmEd - Timor-Leste


The FarmEd February team began the month with three monthly goals:

1: Launch the FarmEd app in Tetun

2: Set up 20 case studies through B2C sales in the community

3: Establish partnerships with three NGO’s or businesses.

The team kick-started the month focusing on goal one. It was decided that continuing trying to progress and scale the project without the app running in the local language was unfeasible, therefore goal one needed to be achieved before proceeding.

The team spent majority of the first week sitting one-on-one with interns translating the FarmEd spreadsheets from English to Tetun. All the crop spreadsheets were completed by the end of the first week and currently the final sheet (on pests and diseases) is in the final stages of being completed. The translated sheets were sent to the development team in Australia, who are now in the process of swapping out all the english spreadsheets to Tetun on the Timor app database. To date, there have been three crop sheets successfully launched on the Tetun app, with the rest expected to follow throughout the final week.

With the first goal steadily underway, the team turned to visiting the 50 farmers who signed MOU’s in December, a non-binding document agreeing they would purchase the app and sensor when the January team returned. Due to delays in the apps launch along with the small size of the January team, these farmers were not revisited in January. Rather they were sent a text updating them on the progress of the app and apologising for delays.

The February team found this text had not been received by majority of farmers it was sent to. As a result, the farmers had been awaiting the return of the January team to bring them the farming advice they were promised. Further complications arose when it was realised the MOU documents themselves were mistranslated. Along with this, majority of the farmers who signed them were not eligible customers of the FarmEd app  (12 or the 15 visited) and there seems to have been miscommunication in explaining the service FarmEd offers - one farmer revisited was under the impression the team would do workshops to help him grow crops, and had left a plot of land aside in anticipation of this.

In light of this, the team began conducting damage control to apologise and update all previously contacted farmers. Visiting each farmer was not possible, over 50 had signed MOU’s and a significant number could not be reached through their recorded information. Instead the February team reached out to Sefi’s of the regions they had been working in as a channel to communicate with farmers and build foundations of a relationship with the leaders. The team came to the conclusion that moving forward it is far more culturally respectful and effective to work through and alongside Sefi’s and Suco leaders. February’s outcomes of meeting with Sefi’s of Hera and Manluana for this purpose were the July team being invited to return and work alongside the Sefi’s to improve their communities.

The team assessed the farmers they had visited in person and established four of them as eligible and willing to trial the app and sensor between now and July as case studies, as oopossed to the initial goal of 20. These farmers have been set up as case study participants (see this experiment for further details) who will send the team feedback on the app as well as act as an initial impact assessment for the FarmEd app in Timor.

In order to achieve goal three, meetings were set up with smallholder businesses and NGO’s operating in Dili. This goal had two focuses, one was approaching local supermarket chains who bought regularly from farmers with the assumption such businesses oversaw farmers who grew their produce. However insights from these interactions showed supermarkets don’t stock local produce and those that do buy locally do not oversee or act as responsible for the farmers in any way. Businesses advised us return when a market-place feature is added or the app has a supervisory platform developed.

The other focus of this goal looked at partnering with NGO’s programs in the agriculture sector. The team met with multiple organisations seeking to test the feasibility of partnerships. The most tangible outcome came from a meeting with Mercy Corps, who are now in discussions with the FarmEd commercialisation team about establishing an official partnership in Timor-Leste. Over the summer, the December, January and February teams have established foundations for potential future partnerships with TOMAK, ADRA, Mautinoa (in partnership with World Vision) HIAM Health and AVANSA. Thus far, this approach to scaling and distributing the FarmEd project has proven to be promising and viable.

Stepping out of the month, FarmEd is leaving four community members trialing the app and sensor and sending fortnightly feedback to Australia, pending partnership proposals with Mercy Corps, AVANSA and HIAM health, and the app set to fully launch in Tetun within the next few weeks. The FarmEd project is picking up a lot of traction in Timor-Leste, and potential to significantly impact the lives of those working in the agriculture sector is becoming increasingly prospective. There is a lot to be done between now and July in terms of partnership discussions and app development, and July team have a big month ahead of them. It’s a very exciting time to be a part of the Timor FarmEd team and we can’t wait to see where 2019 takes the project.


Please see the attached document for the official February Handover Summary

edited on 3rd March 2019, 01:03 by Jemima Crawford

Andrew Vild 9 months ago

Status label added: Project Summary

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