Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity Project
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 a five-year (2016-2021) Leader with Associate 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 the 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, engagements, and community of practice, summarized below.
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 helps conduct additional studies at the request of local USAID missions, such as on youth and private sector engagement in extension.
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 diagnostics here: https://www.digitalgreen.org/resources-dlec/
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 USD 1 million in additional funding to improve extension thus far as a result of the evidence generated by the engagements.
DLEC is actively scoping additional engagements. DLEC’s current active engagements are:
- In Kenya, we are testing the use of integrated ICT channels such as videos and mobile applications to control fruit flies in mangoes by building the capacity of local government.
- In Rwanda, we are working with the Feed the Future Hinga Weze project on digital extension approaches.
DLEC has completed engagements in the following countries:
- In Bangladesh, we tested a transport-to-market mobile solution that also connects smallholder farmers to public extension services and quality inputs. Through the engagement, over 5,000 farmers (10% women farmers) sold 18k+ metric tons of fresh fruit and vegetables generating USD 4 million in sales. Participating farmers received 14% higher prices for their produce and experienced 25% reduction in cost of transportation.
- In Ethiopia, DLEC completed a two-year impact evaluation on the use of ICTs in extension, showing statistical significance in the uptake of technologies and practices promoted in videos and in yields gained. In addition, DLEC completed an engagement to test a digital solution that incorporates farmer-centric data to advise farmers on Fall Armyworm mitigation.
- In Honduras, we studied best-fit extension approaches relevant for the country, and built the capacity of the national government agency responsible for overseeing extension provision.
- In Nigeria, we implemented a video-enabled extension solution with two dairy processors, which resulted in the processors doubling their reach and quantity of milk processed and reducing the rejection rate for spoiled milk from 40% to 0%. Another engagement developed a model of participatory curriculum development and dissemination on most impactful agronomic practices for the rice value chain. The customized curriculum of priority practices resulted in 23-35% yield increase compared to control plots.
- In Rwanda, we worked 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. The engagement found a 37% increase in the adoption of good agricultural practices and an 8% increase in farmer knowledge due to the improved performance of the farmer promoters.
- In South Sudan, in partnership with AGRA, we built the capacity of private seed companies to use ICT channels like videos to help smallholder farmers access and adopt new seed technologies.
- 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). The full report with results is available here.
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 Community of Practice 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. Our global community of practice is now hosted by GFRAS: https://www.g-fras.org/en/community/community-area.html
To learn more about DLEC and how you can get involved, contact at [email protected].
For more information on accessing this Leader with Associate, contact DLEC’s AOR, Mr. John Peters [email protected]
Strengthening Private Sector Extension and Advisory Services Portfolio Review Full Report (Executive Summary available here)
In-depth Assessment of Extension and Advisory Services in Honduras (also available in Spanish)