Southern African Center for Cooperation in Agriculrural and Natural Resources Research and Training

SACCAR Newsletter

December, 1996 Issue

SACCAR E-mail Networks

SACCAR recognizes that gains in agricultural production by and large depend on availability of timely and relevant information. Data which is eventually processed into information is needed to effectively manage and monitor national research activities and also to facilitate participation of the individual countries in research at the regional and global levels. Information sharing is critical for the successful implementation of the SADC regional networks.

SACCAR has therefore invested some its resources into improving communication among its regionally coordinated projects. This is being done through the strengthening of project steering committees which are the national building blocks for the regional projects and the establishment of communication fora.

For its pilot communication programme SACCAR has identified five networks. The networks have been supported in procuring the essential infrastructure for e-mail and will subsequently be provided with some guidance on how to effectively utilise e-mail and internet technologies.

One of the ways in which SACCAR is providing this training is through the use of the list server. The conference provides a forum for collaborators to exchange information more effectively. This conference operates under the direction of a Team Leader for the regional programme.

The following fora have been created:

  • SMIP- L for the Sorghum and Millet Improvement Programme;
  • SARRNET-L for the Southern African Root Crop Research Network;
  • SACCAR-L for the SACCAR Board of Directors Network;
  • GENETICS-L for the SADC Plant Genetics Resources Programme Network; and
  • SAAINET-L for the Southern African Agricultural information Network
  • The conferences are meant to be informal. Participants can post comments, questions, and ideas. However, messages, should generally be kept short, e.g. a one-paragraph message is generally appropriate.

    Some of the examples of issues that participants may wish to tackle could be any of the following;

    "Is anyone working on xxx issue? I would like to exchange notes about xxx."

    "We are planning a meeting on xxx. The meeting is called to discuss xxx. If you would like to receive the agenda, please write to me."

    "Our office has just published a paper on xxx. If you would like to receive a copy, please write to me."

    "I will be attending a conference on xxx. Can anyone suggest whom I might meet in xxx while I am there?"

    "I saw your posting about xxx. May I suggest you contact Dr. xxx on +267 328847 when you arrive."

    This conference is operated by a computer "list server", managed by Christopher Lungu of SACCAR in Gaborone, Botswana. He determines who should take part in the conference by adding the E-mail addresses for the participants. So far a few institutions have informed SACCAR that they have successively used the grant given to them to procure e-mail services from service providers in their countries. In this case, as soon as SACCAR is informed of their E-mail address they are added to the forum and participants can then communicate with others within the conference.

    The computer that handles all these transactions is itself is located at USAID in Washington until such time as a list server becomes available in Gaborone. Mr. Lungu supervises the operation of the list server electronically from Gaborone.

    After a careful assessment of the performance of the pilot networks, SACCAR will extend the E-mail Networks to other regional programmes and projects.

    The following countries are on-line;

    Angola For all forums:

    Botswana For all Forums:

    Lesotho For all forums:

    Swaziland For all Forums:

    Zimbabwe For all Forums:

    Zambia SMIP-L :

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    Copyright Chris Lungu, SACCAR, Private Bag 00108, Gaborone, Botswana email address: