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

Low-cost video toolkit and workshops: Plain language guidance for high-tech extension

This blog post was written by Dustin Andres of FHI 360 and the USAID-funded FACET project.

Participants test out their camera on day two of the Nairobi workshop. FHI360If you haven’t experienced difficulty working with video, then you probably haven’t tried it out for yourself. Despite the profusion of free software, inexpensive handheld projectors, and sub-$100 camcorders, working in video requires a number of technical skills, clear storytelling, and ample determination. Many development projects discover this reality soon after sending cameras to the field, only to receive shaky, difficult-to-edit footage in kind. Thus, professional videographers may look comparatively good, despite a steep price tag that can eat away at your project budget.

It does not have to be this way. While it is true that low-cost video is more complex than just purchasing a camcorder, there is no need to use your limited budget on pricey professionals if your staff is properly trained and supported. With ample consideration of concept, design, and execution, you can leverage low-cost video to help you circulate information and engage local farmers at a minimal cost.

To address these questions, the USAID-funded Fostering Agriculture Competitiveness Employing Information Communication Technologies (FACET) project has developed an online toolkit that can help users through every stage of planning, producing, and disseminating agricultural videos. It is available for free download, and is titled Integrating Low-Cost Video into Agricultural Development Projects: A Toolkit for Practitioners.

The toolkit has been field-tested throughout May, beginning in Kenya and Mozambique, and continuing in Ghana next week. The workshops focus on experiential learning, empowering users to produce their own videos using techniques designed to tailor their material to project objectives. The photo slideshow below highlights last week’s session in Maputo. 

In total, toolkit author Josh Woodard and I will lead four in-person week-long workshops in May for USAID-implementing partners in sub-Saharan Africa. To find out more about the possibility of future workshops elsewhere, please contact Josh Woodard, FACET program officer at jwoodard@fhi360.org. If you are interested in receiving a copy of the low-cost toolkit, there are very limited quantities available for USAID-funded partners.

Access the online low-cost video toolkit here.

Learn more about information and communications technology in agriculture here.