Videos Bridging Asia and Africa: Overcoming Cultural and Institutional Barriers in Technology-Mediated Rural Learning
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Will African farmers watch and learn from videos featuring farmers in Bangladesh? Learning videos on rice seed management were made with rural women in Bangladesh. By using a new approach, called zooming-in, zooming-out, the videos were of regional relevance and locally appropriate. When the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) introduced them to Africa in 2005, many scientists and civil servants thought that the videos would be culturally inappropriate and hence irrelevant to African smallholder farmers. However, African farmers who watched the videos did not experience cultural barriers. In fact, they enjoyed seeing another part of the world where farmers faced similar problems as theirs, and were able to solve these problems by themselves. To promote wider uptake of the videos a key challenge was to overcome the institutional barriers. Public sector agencies especially had to be convinced that African smallholders appreciated Asian videos. By watching the videos with farmers and listening to their feedback, the skeptical scientists and service providers changed their minds. By 2009, the Bangladeshi rice seed videos had been translated into 20 African languages and so became national products. Videos made according to the zooming-in zooming-out approach can bring farmer-to-farmer extension to a higher level of social aggregation.
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