Mobile ICT training links farmers to valued support and services

Panguipulli Public Library No. 296, Chile

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Panguipulli Public Library trained farmers in the fields rather than in their homes because internet connectivity was better out of doors.

community need

Panguipulli, in Valdivia Province in southern Chile, is known for its beautiful scenery and lakes. But the climate is harsh and roads to the rural areas in the mountains are poor. In winter, flooding and landslides make many roads too dangerous to use. As a result, farming communities have lived in isolation for many decades, and have limited access to information about modern farming methods.

The innovative service

With support from the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) in 2010, the library equipped a mobile library van with information and communication technology (ICT) and travelled to the peaks and valleys of the Andes mountains to reach remote farming communities.

In less than a year (2010/2011) the library trained 201 farmers, mostly women, in online research and social networking skills, connecting them to a regional business and social network - Prodarnet - where farmers exchange information about farming methods, produce and market prices.  They increased the library’s stocks of books and journals on agriculture, and hosted lectures on farming methods.

The library also reached the farmers through a community radio station, broadcasting 15 programmes on farming topics. In addition, the new service is testing the effectiveness of using mobile phones to reach farmers with news and information.

The library worked with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the local development programme PRODESAL, which supports agricultural production of farmers and is funded by the National Institute of Agricultural Development (INDAP) in Chile. The library also partnered  with the Municipality of Panguipulli and local media.

eifl-plip project timeline

April 2010 - May 2011.

achievements and impact

Panguipulli Public Library has earned its place as an important player in agricultural development. The library has created a special space for farmers, and agricultural agencies now use the space for lectures and to meet farmers. Panguipulli Municipality, local government farm support agencies and NGOs continue to partner with the library.

additional resources

Read a two-page case study about the project.

more public libraries improving farmers' lives

Read about more innovative public library services improving farmers' lives. PLIP-AGRICULTURE

Today I feel more integrated into the information society.
Luengo Silvia Vasquez, flower farmer in Panguipulli