“With a profound academic background in water management including hydro informatics, I started learning from and working with small-scale farmers in 2005 at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in Western Africa where I combined farm practices with research data for sustainable livelihoods. Over the years, I enjoyed gaining a better understanding of practice-oriented agro-sociology and rural development tools. I was involved in various sub-Saharan African countries, the Philippines, Israel and India around small-scale approaches to sustainable resource management. My personal goal became to refine my contribution as a facilitator among stakeholder groups to innovate the use of resources with the aim to best embed livelihoods into their environment for socio-economic security.
In 2013, I started to get involved in group certification. For the Springer book series “Natural Resource Management in Transition” I wrote a chapter about the involvement of small-scale farmers into eco-labelling processes. In addition, I wrote my master thesis at the Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU) on “Sustainability as construct – Sustainable practice on Beninese small-scale farms”. In 2014 I was employed as the Directory Assistance at FiBL Research Institute of Organic Agriculture where I first got introduced to Ecert (today: The Intact Platform) and related farm data management approaches. At the same time, I was involved in R4D (Results for Development) projects in West Africa (Syprobio) and East Africa (ProEcoAfrica) where I deepened my data managements skills of small-scale farmer groups whilst learning sustainable farming from them.
During the Organic World Congress 2017 in New Delhi, at the Navdanya Restaurant managed by Vandana Shiva’s organic NGO, I had the luck to meet Gerald, one of the directors of Organic Services. We talked about the beauty of databases in farming and the connection to Organic Service was set. Soon afterwards, Frank helped me to apply already learned and further develop skills by managing and upgrading Ecert (today: Intact Platform) for the internationally recognised Australian certification body NCO. Over the last 5 years I have been working mainly on certification of grower groups in the Pacific and beyond by providing them with certification assistance. I support groups in learning new skills and help them to obtain third party certification. To do so, it is crucial to make their internal control systems (ICS) more robust, transparent, efficient, and competitive – and to help them develop skills beyond the day-to-day business on the farms.
I am convinced that Group Integrity can fill the one main gap in grower group and small-scale farmer training all over the world: the gap of adequate modern IT skills beyond Excel. In times of big data and digitalisation, small-scale farmers should take ownership for their ICS and benefit from managing their own data. Group Integrity can help them in doing so – reliably and easily.”
Would you like to get in touch with Caro to discuss cooperation possibilities? Drop her an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.