Agrilinks: A Food Security Project 10 Years in the Making
To you, the Agrilinks Community, and those who have supported/managed/worked to develop this website, thank you for your engagement and efforts in creating this space over the past 10 years. One of my mentors in graduate school always made a point at the beginning of his presentations of thanking those who had contributed to the work he would present instead of at the end. He wanted to make clear that it took a community of people to make research happen. You are the community that has driven learning and knowledge sharing on Agrilinks. Whether you engage as one of Agrilinks’ nearly 30,000 Twitter followers, 25,000 newsletter subscribers or 50,000 viewers each month, you have and will continue to shape and move Agrlinks forward.
In my post, “A Journey Through Time With Agrilinks,” celebrating Agrilinks’ sixth anniversary, I covered some of the history that led to the genesis of Agrilinks. I will try to refrain from rehashing that story here. Instead, let me touch on a few of things that have played important roles in the first 10 years of Agrilinks and I see as continuing to inform the next 10 years.
As my earlier post noted, events have always played a central role in the development and evolution of Agrilinks. While events continue to play an important role, a few years ago we began experimenting with doing Blog Carnivals as a means of raising the visibility of the blogs on Agrilinks. We organized a few of these and covered topics like women’s empowerment and the experiences of volunteers in international food security. Eventually, we adapted the blog carnival idea into the current Theme Months on Agrilinks. Theme Months allow more of the community to contribute. They also link our events and blogs in a more dynamic way that can help deliver insights. We have sought to bring more structure to theme months so we can give you more advance notice of upcoming themes to make it easier for you to contribute to topics relevant to you.
Based on my experiences of starting Agrilinks and the thinking that informed the creation of the former Knowledge Driven International Development website, we wanted to provide a service to other USAID mechanisms in the food security and agriculture space that allowed for a web presence without having to buy a domain and maintain a site. So, we developed the Activities Pages on Agrilinks. An Activity Page on Agrilinks gives a USAID mechanism access to an established community of practitioners, a way to curate and highlight their content and measure engagement with their content through use of Google Analytics. All of this without having to worry about the infrastructure. We continue to collaborate with the owners of Activities Pages to enhance the functionality and user experience for them and the Agrilinks community. I see great potential with this interface and look forward to seeing how we adapt it to meet future needs.
Finally, I would like to highlight the knowledge sharing ecosystem that Agrilinks has had the good fortune within which to grow. The Links+ family of sites has grown over the years and has contributed to the evolution of Agrilinks. First, we had Microlinks, which has become Martketlinks, followed by Agrilinks, then USAID Learning Lab. Lessons on what makes a good knowledge-sharing platform from each of these sites have informed the others. Of course, the family has grown to include many sites, such as ResilienceLinks and BiodivesityLinks recently (please see the bottom of the page for links to more members of the family). Collaboration and sharing between these sites have helped to improve the learning across all the communities of the Links+ family. In the next 10 years, I see the relationships between the members strengthening and more opportunities for joint events or theme months.