Improving the Monitoring and Evaluation of Agricultural Extension Programs
Throughout the world, agricultural extension services exist primarily to facilitate learning and extend new knowledge and technologies in non-formal educational settings to improve agricultural productivity and increase farmers’ incomes. This knowledge and new technology can originate from research institutions, peer farmers or the broader community. Agricultural extension systems have evolved such that extension workers are trained for and engaged in the communication of agricultural research findings and recommendations to farmers. However, as extension workers everywhere know, just because knowledge is extended through training, demonstrations and other strategies of information dissemination, new behaviors and implementation of new practices are not automatic. As expressed by Rogers (2003), diffusion of agricultural, economic and other innovations is complex, and must consider diverse factors that facilitate or inhibit diffusion of new knowledge and innovative practices. Evaluation can help to discover and understand those factors in diverse contexts.