Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) is a network of Community Development Workers (CDWs) who are involved in drylands development in Eastern Africa. ALIN supports these CDWs by encouraging the exchange of ideas, information, and experience -- through the medium of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) -- on development work. The goal is to help members acquire the necessary skills to access and disseminate development information to the communities with which they work. ALIN cultivates a special focus on the needs and constraints of women members of the network.
Communication Strategies: 
  • To promote local-level networking and information-sharing capactities, ALIN encourages the formation of 'Focal Groups' by members who are geographically close to each other
  • ALIN maintains a classified database of its members according to interests and information needs. This database has the potential to link members working in the same field to share experiences independent of the secretariat. Copies of the database are available to the 'Focal Group' members
  • An information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) project has been underway since December, 2000 in Nairobi, Kenya. The project aims to bridge the digital gap for CDWs who are located in the drylands and who are constrained by poor communication facilities. An experience-sharing workshop for groups who have been using this technology and for those who plan to use it was held in April, 2002. Field-based training sessions focus on digital satellite broadcasting (members are taught basic computer skills and the operation of WorldSpace receivers to access development information) and electronic mail and Internet (members are taught the basics of communication and are provided access to an e-mail/Internet line)
  • CD-ROMs have been produced for CDWs that detail approaches to agricultural development and that feature technologies previously reported in the Baobab journal
  • ALIN organises workshops, like the three-day drip irrigation stakeholders' workshop in Kitui town, Kenya in November, 2001 that was a forum for experience-sharing among CDWs with interest in promoting drip irrigation in the region. A manual was produced as a result of this workshop
  • Exchange visits help CDWs to share their experience in a direct and practical manner
  • ALIN provides affordable drip irrigation through bucket kits set up in Kitui district for small-scale farmers. This system uses scarce water to produce vegetables and other crops during droughts
  • ALIN publishes written materials like BAOBAB, a forum published three times a year that allows members to exchange their experiences on development approaches to learn from one another. 'Development Projects in Arid Lands' is a series of booklets intended to stimulate sharing of development experiences and lessons
Development Issues: 

Technology, Agriculture, Environment, Economic Development, Women.

Key Points: 

Despite being key to development, CDWs have poor access to reliable development information.

Partner Text: 

A-AARNET (The ASARECA Animal Agriculture Research Network), CLIP (Community Based Livestock Initiatives Programme), ITDG (Intermediate Technology Development Group).