ISG was formed on May 2, 1997 in Amersfoort, The Netherlands and registered with the Chamber of Commerce as “International Support Group: Linking Local Experience in Agroecosystem Management.”
ISG began its group activities supported by DANIDA, between 1997 and 1999, to explore ways to guide decentralization of agricultural extension in East Africa. This work was culminated in a workshop at the Agroforum facility in Tune, Denmark in December 2000 where most of our members participated. The results of this effort were published by DANIDA in a book titled: “Linking Local Learners: Negotiating New Development Relation sips between Village, District and Nation.”
In a second group effort (1998-2000), ISG members worked with the Ugandan government to build capacity for the implementation of The Ugandan National Agricultural Advisory Service (NAADS), a public sector program to support agricultural advisory services for small-scale farming operations. Several additional advisory missions were provided later by individual members as independent consultants.
These combined activities served as a catalyst for the ISG learning process. Although not all members participated in the activities themselves, reports were posted online and electronic discussions held to exchange experiences and ideas among the membership. By the beginning of the millennium however, a shift had taken place in the direction of international cooperation and it became more difficult to identify opportunities in which various members of the Association could participate. In addition, several of the members had become committed to full time positions, which limited their involvement with ISG.
Between 2000 and 2004, ISG implemented the “Linking Local Learners” project in Tanzania with support from IFAD. The LLL project brought together different stakeholders in market chains and helped them improve linkages by making transactions more transparent. A separate organization spun off from this project and continues independently as http://www.linkinglearners.net/.
Over the last few years the Association’s scope of activity has been very limited as members dedicated themselves to reorient their professional activities to the challenges of the shift in perspectives in policy and projects for rural communities and small-scale farmers.