A lovely Storify way to use Twitter

I often find when moderating a big event or panel discussion that the day goes by in a whirl and when I look back on who said what and when, the details usually escape me. So what a pleasure it was to receive a wonderfully varied timeline  on Storify of  the ‘Small Farmer=Big Business’ debate that I moderated at the IFAD Governing Council in Rome. To my surprise, by gathering together many different Tweets from people in the audience and those watching on-line,  Storify  really captured the flavour of the discussion. Please take the time to take a look at the link: http://ow.ly/tQLCs .

The Twitter-sphere  highlighted some great quotes from the CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman, whose passionate embrace of small farmers and their importance to Unilever’s sustainability pledges rocked the audience. Another star was Andrew Rugasira(@andrewrugasira), a dynamic Ugandan entrepreneur whose ‘Good African Coffee’ brand connects thousands of small coffee growers with consumers in Europe and whose ‘trade not aid’ motto also went down a storm with the IFAD members.

Personally I was pleased to spot Tim Ledwith’s tweet (@tledwith) about panellist Laksmi Prasvita from PISAgro of Indonesia. Here it is:  “In Indonesia small-scale partnerships between small farmers & private sector do work. The challenge is scaling up.” If it hadn’t been for Storify, that’s the kind of insightful comment that might have slipped between the cobwebs of my mind. So thank you Tim and Laksmi.

Or this one from Neil Sorensen (@NeilSorensen) about Bill Vorley, another panellist:  “Bill Vorley from @landcoalition member @IIED on panel says value chains weed out smaller and poorer suppliers.”  A crucial point about how the smallest/most marginal farmers are least likely to benefit from value chain investments by big corporates.

All in all, it was interesting to see Twitter used not just to generate questions for the panellists but also to distil the essence of the day. Well done to IFAD’s social media team(@IFADnews)  for being so creative. I do sometimes wonder, what’s the point of  Twitter? Storify gave me one fewer reason to doubt.

Here’s the video of my interview with Unilever CEO Polman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uA1pRFjmO2Q&feature=youtu.be

Links: www.ifad.org





Build Africa – and the world will come

I’m still rubbing my eyes in disbelief at an extraordinary event last week – the Build Africa Forum – held in Congo Brazzaville. Not only was the location out of the ordinary – who goes to Brazzaville as part of their day job? – but the cast of characters just blew me away. The Forum was the brainchild of events supremo, Richard Attias,  held under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Congo himself, His Excellency Denis Sassou N’Guesso. What’s more the invitation list of top notch business leaders, economists and senior government ministers was jaw-dropping. And they didn’t just turn up for an hour or two and then disappear. Brazzaville’s Palais de Congres was humming with the creme de la creme for a full two days. Networking, as I’d never seen it before.  (more…)