Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

The Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) project galvanizes diverse extension and advisory service (EAS) stakeholders to measurably improve extension programs, policies and services. DLEC accomplishes this objective through three interrelated sets of activities: conducting targeted diagnostics on country EAS systems to identify gaps and opportunities and recommending potential areas for public, private and donor investment; implementing action research activities (engagements) that build local capacity and generate evidence on how to improve EAS; and mobilizing lasting communities of practice (CoPs) to advocate for scaling proven approaches.

DLEC is led by Digital Green in partnership with consortium members Care International, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS).

Launched in May 2016, DLEC is a five-year Leader with Associates cooperative agreement. The flexible award mechanism enables DLEC and our partners to test and share best-fit solutions to improve extension and advisory services through core funding while simultaneously enabling USAID Missions to invest in associate awards for activities that further their country strategy.

DLEC’s core activities are: 

Diagnostics

During the project’s first two years, DLEC completed 10 diagnostics in Feed the Future and aligned countries to evaluate the EAS ecosystem. The diagnostic reports provide insight into the strengths and challenges faced by national extension systems and outline customized recommendations. The diagnostics evaluate the access, quality and sustainability of the governance structures and policy environment; organizational and management capacities and cultures of EAS organizations; advisory methods used within each system; the extent to which the system is market-oriented; how the system engages different communities, including youth and women; and how it supports overall livelihood strategies of farmers by addressing relevant topics such as nutrition and resilience. The profiled countries include Bangladesh, Guinea, Honduras, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Senegal.  

DLEC also regularly engages with key national extension stakeholders to advocate for the uptake of recommendations and strengthen national EAS systems. In Liberia, activities recommended in DLEC’s diagnostic report have been incorporated into a proposal submitted by the Ministry of Agriculture to the Food and Agriculture Organization. View our latest diagnostics here: www.digitalgreen.org/resources/dlec/reports/.

Engagements

DLEC works with USAID Missions, national governments, development organizations and the private sector to identify opportunities to tangibly build local EAS capacity. Our engagements are locally-tailored, partnership-based solutions that address country-specific challenges and build the capacity of country stakeholders to address them. DLEC’s engagements have catalyzed USD1 million in additional funding to improve extension thus far as a result of the evidence generated by the engagements.

DLEC has completed engagements and currently has active engagements in the following countries:

In Uganda, we tested whether ICT-enabled EAS approaches increased effectiveness through a field experiment comparing the gender of the messenger, the receiver and the mode of delivery (audiovisual, IVR, and SMS). We found that that short extension video messages increase knowledge, technology adoption and production at the household level, especially when the information is targeted to both husband and wife. We also found that targeting the information to husband and wife jointly leads to a significant increase in joint decision-making.

In Bangladesh, we are implementing a transport-to-market mobile solution that also connects smallholder famers to public extension services and quality inputs. Results have shown up to 15% income increases for participating smallholder farmers. The model has sparked additional donor interest and funds.

In Ethiopia, we’ve completed the first year of a two-year impact evaluation on the use of ICTs in extension. Early results show up to 37% greater likelihood of smallholder farmers receiving advice/training via video and adopting improved technologies than through conventional extension. We also recently launched an engagement in partnership with Fintrac to test a digital solution that incorporates farmer-centric data to advise farmers on fall armyworm mitigation.

In Honduras, we are building the capacity of the national government agency responsible for overseeing extension provision which will enable Honduran smallholder farmers reached by public extension to be better served.

In Nigeria, we implemented a video-enabled extension solution with two dairy processors which resulted the processors doubling their reach and quantity of milk processed as well as reducing the rejection rate for spoiled milk from 40% to 0%. We recently launched another engagement in partnership with ACDI/VOCA to develop a model of participatory curriculum development and dissemination on most impactful agronomic practices for the rice value chain.

In Rwanda, we are working with One Acre Fund and the Rwanda Agriculture Board to complete a process evaluation of the national scale up of an input incentives program for volunteer farmer promoters.

DLEC is actively scoping additional engagements in a number of countries including Burma, Kenya, Nepal and Niger.

Communities of Practice

DLEC mobilizes lasting communities at national and global levels in collaboration with GFRAS and others to advocate for scaling proven approaches to catalyze change in EAS. We convene a global CoP and collaborate with several country-led EAS communities such as the Uganda Forum for Agriculture Advisory Services (UFAAS) and the Bangladesh Agriculture Extension Network (BAEN). Results from the DLEC engagements are used as a catalyst to advocate for change and contribute to current or future extension programs implemented by our community members. DLEC is also collaborating with multiple donors to lead the development of a common framework for extension metrics. The framework will undergo feedback and pilot-testing by the global EAS community at our second annual CoP convening in February 2019.

Join our global community of practice at https://dlec.hivebrite.com.

To learn more about DLEC and how you can get involved, contact Dr. Kristin Davis, Project Director at k.davis@cgiar.org or Ms. Karin Lion, Deputy Project Director at karin@digitalgreen.org

For more information on accessing this LWA, contact DLEC’s AOR, Mr. John Peters jopeters@usaid.gov.  

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