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CTA: Capturing a lasting legacy

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

CTA’s legacy document, featuring three tightly-written narrative and 13 case studies, highlights the lasting impact of the Centre’s approach and activities over 35 years.

For over 35 years, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) effectively demonstrated how agricultural innovation can be documented, shared and scaled up to achieve significant improvements in farmer incomes, productivity and food security. Over the years, WRENmedia has had a close working relationship with CTA and has provided a wide range of communications services to help promote the Centre’s activities.

Taking up the challenge

With the culmination of the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, the financial and legal framework that supported CTA expires at the end of December 2020 and so WRENmedia’s work, including the production of CTA’s flagship magazine Spore and ICT Update, writing blogs and editing the last of CTA’s publications, has also come to an end. However, as a communications organisation that has known and worked with CTA since the Centre was first established, WRENmedia was honoured to be asked to write and edit a book commemorating CTA’s efforts throughout the years, CTA: A Legacy of Agricultural Transformation, which was published online in February 2020. The tightly-written publication, featuring three thematic narratives and 13 case studies, highlights the impact and legacy of CTA’s key activities including detailing how the Centre has played a crucial role in transforming agriculture across ACP countries, bringing more young people and women into the sector and driving agricultural digitalisation.

Capturing the impacts of an organisation’s activities over 35 years, since CTA was established in 1983, was somewhat of a daunting task – at least at first. Many hours were spent scouring annual reports to ensure essential elements were included in CTA’s impacts in inspiring innovation, nurturing networks, promoting policies and driving digitalisation. Many of the publication’s striking images were sourced by WRENmedia, and the team were also responsible for working closely with the CTA-contracted designer (Hero, based in South Africa) to coordinate the layout of the document and to propose the ideas behind the infographics, including a timeline to represent CTA’s key milestones and achievements, as well as another to demonstrate its legacy and impact.

People and partnerships

As a relatively small institution with a large mandate, it has been necessary for CTA in all its activities to build smart partnerships with farmers’ organisations, government agencies, research networks, youth and women’s groups and the private sector to add value and bring about sustainable transformation in the agricultural sector. To highlight the importance of these networks, key CTA partners were also interviewed for the publication, including Dr Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa; Ousmane Badiane, then Regional Director for Africa for the International Food Policy Research Institute; and Theo de Jager, President of the World Farmers Organisation, amongst a number of others. The featured testimonials highlight how CTA has made a difference to so many individuals, as well as partner organisations, across Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific during these last three and a half decades.

As for many worldwide, it is with great sadness that the WRENmedia team acknowledge that CTA is coming to an end. However, we have been proud to be a part of CTA’s work and, particularly through Spore, to report on such a wide portfolio of topics and to network with an extensive range of partners and organisations. Nevertheless, as emphasised in the legacy publication introduction, “CTA as an institution may cease to exist but a rich portfolio of valuable assets remains, including knowledge products, databases and extensive networks.”

"Susanna, and WRENmedia, have had a long association with CTA, which was reflected in their successful production of the recently published CTA legacy publication. Capturing 35+ years of CTA's activities was a challenge, but Susanna's and her team's intimate knowledge of our work helped to reflect a selection of key milestone achievements and impacts in the tightly written narratives and case studies."

Bertil Videt, Strategic Communications Lead, CTA

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