Sylvestre Ouedraogo

Ashoka Fellow
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Fellow Since 2010


This profile was prepared when Sylvestre Ouedraogo was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Sylvestre believes that the first key to success, especially in the area of small family farming, is to build transparent and accessible knowledge networks from the ground up that shift the focus of information aggregation to farmer groups. This allows small farmers to easily and instantly articulate what they are farming, the size of their farms, and the challenges that they face. Using these platforms, farmers link directly to resources and markets, as well as effectively plan their work. A recent strategic element of Sylvestre’s work has been to build computer skills confidence among ten of the most transparent, effective, and widespread farmer-related organizations in Burkina Faso. In several of these organizations, he has taken the next step to creating decentralized networks that integrate computer-based and mobile platforms, allowing member farmers to acquire regular updates and solicit information from each other and from their associations. Sylvestre is also integrating capacity-building into his work. He has a Wiki with technical experts as contributors, writing on seed selection, crop cultivation, animal husbandry, and other farm-related disciplines that have increased in size in the last 12 months to 400+ active members, including people from Mali and Senegal.

Burkina Faso is ranked among the poorest countries in the world, and as a result, decisions about investing in digital architecture cannot overlook the important role of the government. To direct the government toward the most effective route of action, Sylvestre has submitted a set of recommendations to overhaul the way information about agriculture is gathered and disseminated. Considered controversial by some, Sylvestre believes that it is only a matter of time before accelerating social and economic forces lead the government to implement more efficient, up-to-date, and transparent ways of working with small farmers.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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