Plan for assessing the impact of fodder shrub extension in East Africa uri icon

abstract

  • Over the last decade, many organizations have been involved in extending fodder shrubs to farmers in East Africa (Mawanda, 2003). These organizations use a range of different extension approaches and have quite varied objectives, staff and physical resources, knowledge and skills (Wambugu et al., 2001; Franzel et al., 2003). Similarly, the farmers they work with vary in many different ways, their biophysical and socioeconomic environment, the types of assets and resources they have access to, and their proximity to markets. Researchers, extension managers and policy makers often discuss key factors contributing to successful extension programmes but there is little empirical evidence, especially with regard to agroforestry. The success factors are likely to be different than those for other agricultural practices because agroforestry practices are more complex, long-term, and knowledge intensive than most agricultural practices (Franzel et al., 2001)Both qualitative and quantitative methods can be useful for understanding the factors contributing to success in extension programs. Shelton et al. (2005) conducted a qualitative survey of experts to tease out factors affecting the success of 12 extension programs promoting forage legumes throughout the tropics. Respondents scored the importance of different factors, such as meeting the needs of farmers; building relevant partnerships; understanding the socio-economic context and skills of farmers; and participatory involvement with rural communities. Gladwell (2001) highlights the importance of champions, that is, key opinion makers and disseminators in spreading new practices. In addition, extension programs may have objective characteristics that may be associated with performance, such as their size, approaches, and resources. Across a large sample of organizations, say 100, quantitative methods may be useful for associating such factors with performance. We were unable to find such a study in the literature but similar types of studies, e.g., factors associated with the adoption of a practice, are common (e.g., Mercer 2004). The overall objective is to plan a study assessing the impact of fodder shrub extension across four countries of Eastern Africa and complete the organisation-level pre-test survey

publication date

  • 2006