Project Highlight – Social Media

Canadian university students are using social media to spread low cost, sustainable solutions for subsistence hillside farmers

The world has approximately 1 billion subsistence farmers, living and working on approximately 500 million small-scale farms. It remains an urgent challenge as to how to improve the livelihoods of such a vast population. At the same time, we live in an era of donor fatigue and cynicism – the media is constantly discussing problems, but not solutions – which eventually causes passionate youth to also become cynical. There is a need to spread the word about practical, but non-disruptive solutions that have been scientifically validated – focusing on simple innovations or practices that can improve rural livelihoods, that farmers can afford to purchase on their own, allowing rapid scaling up.
With support from the IDRC-CIFSRF program, in the Fall of 2014, 65 University of Guelph students used social media to spread simple innovations on the World Wide Web –focusing on the hundreds of millions of hillside and terrace farmers — the focus of a new IDRC-CIFSRF project called SAKNepal ( A collaboration between the University of Guelph and Nepalese partners LI-BIRD and Anamolbiu, the SAKNepal project aims to test and scale up these low-cost innovations, reaching thousands of Nepalese subsistence farmers.

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