New DLEC Report Evaluates the Extension Ecosystem in Mali
The Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity project (DLEC) conducts diagnostics in Feed the Future target countries to evaluate the extension ecosystem and provide insight into the strengths and challenges faced by national extension systems. The diagnostics use the "best-fit" framework to examine extension from a systems perspective, looking at six extension characteristics: governance structures and policy environment; organizational and management capacities and cultures; advisory methods; market engagement; livelihood strategies; and community engagement.
The latest DLEC report is on Mali’s extension system (other countries with DLEC reports include Bangladesh, Guinea, Honduras, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal). The report uses a combination of literature review, site visits and interviews with key informants to gain insight on the extension system in Mali. It also provides an assessment of the Feed the Future Livestock for Growth (L4G) project's extension activities and makes recommendations for strengthening the project.
Each report lists key entry points or drivers of success that already exist in-country for improving the extension system. In Mali, this includes:
- Commitment by the Government of Mali to agriculture (as evidenced by its high level of investment).
- Donor interest and support for extension.
- A significant number of competent stakeholders in extension, including many international technical experts.
- Coordination structures in place that could be consolidated for more efficient pluralistic extension planning and delivery.
- Existence of the globally-linked, national extension platform, Forum des Services de Conseil Agricole et Rural du Mali, FOSCAR-Mali, which has 200 members who share knowledge and identify opportunities to innovate in extension.
- A wide variety of well-established advisory methods including farmer field schools and innovative uses of radio and other information and communication technologies (ICTs).
- Opportunities to scale and increase sustainability of extension through ICTs.
Recommendations to improve extension in Mali include:
- Develop an extension coordination framework to reduce inefficiencies and ensure national reach.
- Develop and implement an action plan to increase use of ICT in extension (L4G should engage here).
- Scale ICT use to promote market and value chain participation (L4G should engage here).
- Develop a livelihoods-focused climate change protocol to build extension capacity and increase adoption of climate adaptation and sustainable natural resource management practices.
- Promote youth inclusion and employability in extension through recruitment plans and use of junior farmer field and life schools.
- Share good practices by L4G on sustainable and scalable approaches to extension.
For much more information, including additional recommendations, please see the report.
Content contributed by Kristin Davis, Project Director, Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity Project