The GFSP Open Source Platform for Food Safety Capacity Building: Hands-on session


GFSP_logoLast week, we worked together with our GFSP colleagues from the World Bank and CCCET Global to prepare a presentation of the technology platform that we would like to see being set up to support such a large scale network of institutions. We took advantage of a GFSP event titled “Food Safety in Dairy Development Stakeholder Consultation Workshop – East Africa that took place on November 3rd and 4th, at the Nairobi campus of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI, one of the CGIAR consortium centres). Our aim was to help Amy Evans from the GFSP Secretariat of the World Bank give a talk about the rationale and need for putting such a platform in place.


We decided to avoid a traditional technology-focused presentation and rather present how we work within the GFSP network in order to understand the different member needs and requirements in terms of information organisation and sharing. Our approach is an iterative and lean one: we carry out interviews with the various stakeholders in the network in order to understand their institutions, their roles, their activities, and eventually the information that they work with. And then we try to identify their main Data Problems: that is, to validate and prioritise which are the main difficulties and issues that they face when working with information, in order to identify different ways in which technology can help solve them. In this case, we try to also check which potential platform tools and features would seems to them as good solutions to these data problems.


Thus, we have prepared a presentation that introduces two specific personas: an ILRI researcher that is working with food safety scientific information, and an African advisor that is interested in becoming a dairy products inspector on a particular food safety certification. In these slides, we connect the data-related problems that we assume these people have with possible technological solutions. Through interviews with real people, we would be able to validate if these specific problems indeed concern these personas, and which technology solution features would help address them.


Since the workshop had more than 50 participants and we only had a limited amount of time for interacting with the audience, we decided to organise this as a hands on trial of the existing GFSP Discovery demonstrator, asking participants to follow a script with given simple steps (connected to the personas presented in the slides) to use the online demonstrator and the complete a questionnaire on how they have used it.



The GFSP demonstrator


Due to the time restrictions, it was not possible for all participants to complete the task and provide their responses; therefore they can do it now if they want by following these links:


If you are a dairy researcher:

If you are an advisor of milk producers:


Of course everyone interested is invited to follow the script and provide his/her valuable feedback – no matter if he/she attended the meeting as long as he/she is one of the user types that we are focusing on.


The next milestone is the organisation of a similar but richer experience for the GFSP annual Conference in Cape Town, that will take place between 8-12 of December 2014. We would like to prepare a presentation that will cover all types of personas that we have spoken to, a hands on session with various tools that we will have available by then, and a discussion on the steps forward.

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