In May 2016, ILEIA facilitated a four day Learning Exchange, organised by the Agroecology Fund (AEF) and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA). About 70 people from six continents met for four days on an agroecological training centre near Masaka, in central Uganda.
The Learning Exchange aimed to share lessons on what people are doing to promote agroecology in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe, and to identify better ways of amplifying agroecology across the world.
ILEIA co-designed the Learning Exchange together with the organisers in a way that stimulated participation. We used creative methodologies such as poster sessions and theatre skits, and used indoor and outdoor spaces. There was ample space for participants to make suggestions. The event generated a range of insights on how to amplify agroecology. ILEIA also documented the outcomes in a report.
“A stimulating, participatory process”
“The Agroecology Learning Exchange was designed as a playful and stimulating participatory process. Janneke Bruil and Jessica Milgroom from ILEIA both created lots of space for participants to define discussion topics, reflect in small groups and plenary sessions, participate, debate, and learn from each other. Interactive sessions such as poster making enabled participants to communicate their story diagrammatically, and a theatrical session made for a hilarious and bonding exchange of ‘Theories of Change’. We all felt that the exchange added strength and solidarity to a growing agroecology movement.”
“It was like a living thing”
“Over the course of our days together in Uganda one discussion and activity built upon the previous and fed into the next. People were invited to give suggestions derived from their experiences as well as offer creative inspirations from the moment. The schedule was like a living thing that derived not from hierarchical, but rather lateral inputs from the diverse voices in the space. While people were still focused on structure, the structure was in service of connecting different representatives to common causes, while respecting fundamental differences.”
“Rewarding and enriching”
“The gathering in Uganda was very rewarding and enriching. It was important to learn about the work of other groups, and to share what has worked for us and the lessons we have learned. The site visit allowed us to learn about the culture of African communities. This experience reaffirmed what small farmers can achieve with their own knowledge, and by adding new techniques. We also recognized the importance of linkages that strengthen our work, and that provide both positive and critical feedback to our collection of experiences.”
A slideshow of the Agroecology Learning Exchange