Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity Project
The Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) project (2016-2021) galvanized diverse extension and advisory service (EAS) stakeholders to measurably improve extension programs, policies and services. DLEC accomplished this objective through three interrelated sets of activities: (i) conducting targeted diagnostics on country EAS systems to identify gaps and opportunities and recommending potential areas for public, private and donor investment; (ii) implementing action research activities (engagements) that build local capacity and generate evidence on how to improve EAS; and (iii) mobilizing lasting communities of practice (CoPs) to advocate for scaling proven approaches.
DLEC's legacy page, "Looking back - Project in review" is here: https://view.ceros.com/ifpri/dlec-project-in-review
DLEC is a five-year (2016-2021) project that tested and shared best-fit solutions to improve extension and advisory services. 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 conducted additional studies at the request of local USAID missions, such as on youth and private sector engagement in extension.
DLEC regularly engaged 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 or in the "resources" tab.
DLEC worked 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 over USD 7 million in additional funding to improve extension thus far as a result of the evidence generated by the engagements.
DLEC has completed the following engagements:
- 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 Guinea, DLEC supported the creation of and strengthened the new national country forum, FOGUICA, to coordinate extension and advisory services activities.
- In Kenya, we trained local county-level extension agents on integrated ICT channels such as videos and mobile applications to control fruit flies in mangoes.
- 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, DLEC 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. DLEC also worked with the Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity to train youth extension agents in digitally-enabled extension approaches and to customized training curricula for extension agents.
- In South Sudan, in partnership with AGRA, DLEC 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. We also tested the differential effectiveness of the provision of and exposure to information by gender. The results of the study revealed that targeting women within the household (as opposed to only the male co-head) with extension information has a positive effect on different domains of empowerment, including women’s knowledge of agronomic practices, their participation in agricultural decision-making, and their adoption of recommended practices and inputs. The full report is here.
Communities of Practice
DLEC mobilized 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, you can access that here.
To learn more about DLEC and how you can get involved, contact at [email protected].
DLEC informational handouts
DLEC Factsheet (final, June 2021)
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)
Bangladesh: Market engagement in Bangladesh