USAID-funded projects End in Africa and End in Asia have partnered with global organizations to work towards eliminating neglected tropical diseases. Leaders in the field talk about the progress that has been made and their hopes for the future.
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In Macedonia, the USAID Small Business Expansion Project is working with corn farmers on growing their businesses through increasing corn yields and connecting them with regional dairy industry leaders, who have agreed to buy livestock feed locally. The project is introducing drip irrigation on several demonstration farms as tried and tested methods of increasing production, and is also providing farmers with seeds that will produce a corn/silage ratio that both meets the needs of the dairy industry and maximize the profits of the farmers.
These videos originally appeared on U.S. Department of State’s Dipnote.
On January 24, 2013, U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne C. Richard, and USAID Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Nancy Lindborg visited Syrian refugees in Turkey. While at the camp, the delegation had the opportunity to speak with those affected by the violence, to listen to their concerns, and to witness first-hand the ongoing humanitarian assistance efforts.
On January 29, 2013, President Obama announced additional humanitarian aid for the Syrian people.
In an effort to catalyze global action for child survival, the Governments of Ethiopia, India, and the United States together with UNICEF convened the ‘Child Survival Call to Action’ in Washington, D.C. in June 2012. . Under the banner of ‘Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed‘, more than 160 governments signed a pledge to renew their commitment to child survival, to eliminate all preventable child mortality in two decades.
In 2011, USAID, JP Morgan, and the Gates, Gatsby, and Rockefeller Foundations announced a first-of-its-kind effort to invest $25 million in the African Agricultural Capital Fund, which delivers much needed growth capital to boost the productivity and profitability of Africa‘s undercapitalized agriculture sector. NUAC Farm in Northern Uganda is one of the first agribusinesses to receive financing from this fund.
In social marketing, we know that visual learning is more likely to engender successful behavior change than many other types of learning. Traditional agricultural extension services are designed to link farmers person-to-person with new information about appropriate farming practices, when and what to plant, and how to use farm technologies. Traditionally, farming associations or other organizations will employ extension agents to visit communities and train others – thus, “showing” farmers new techniques instead of simply “telling.”
But there is a fundamental problem with this model: Too much ground to cover. Because more than 80 percent of the food produced in “developing” places is grown by smallholder farmers, extension services can be expensive, difficult to scale and to sustain.
It is critical to address these issues with whatever tools are at our disposal. One approach is the complementary use of video in a hybrid extension service. A study conducted by India-based NGO Digital Green (originally a Microsoft Research pilot) concluded that money spent on a video service can be up to ten times more effective than a traditional extension service, on a per adoption basis.*
So why does video work better? It’s the Swiss Army knife of communications tools. While modern extension services are highly dependent on the quality of the trainer, a video can be rehearsed until it tells its story effectively, and then used in perpetuity. That enables an organization to articulate and reinforce a message in a uniquely scalable way. Video can also provide tailored and actionable directions to illiterate farmers. Further, the savings and increased convenience for projects can be huge – in terms of human resources, training and travel time and other associated costs.
By the end of 2012, USAID’s FACET project team will have conducted low-cost video workshops for USAID implementing partners, mission staff, agribusinesses and farmer associations in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Using a participatory workshop model the goal is to catalyze video usage to strengthen agricultural extension.
This photo slideshow is from FACET’s recent October workshop in Dakar, Senegal. Participants included project staff and partners from the USAID‘s Le Projet Croissance Economique, which focuses on Senegal’s agricultural growth, productivity and competitiveness.
Below is a one minute clip of a mock video put together by the FEPROMAS team, a Senegalese farming federation, during the workshop, focusing on best practices in packaging corn for the marketplace.
Read more about the workshop content.
View and download FACET’s Low-Cost Video Toolkit.
* Gandhi, R.; Veeraraghavan, R.; Toyama, K.; Ramprasad, V. (2009). Participant Video and Mediated Instruction for Agricultural Extension. Digital Green.
This video features the work of a USAID funded project “Building Actors and Leaders for Advancing Community Excellence in Development“ (BALANCED). BALANCED focuses their efforts to combine sustainable livelihood generation, natural resource conservation and empowerment of women through the provision of clean cookstoves. This is just an example of one of the USAID funded population, health and environment (PHE) projects that focus on addressing development in an integrated fashion, and conserving natural resources while simultaneously improving the lives of people, especially women and children.
Today we launched Making All Voices Count: A Grand Challenge for Development (MAVC) which brings together Sweden, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Omidyar Network (ON). This public-private partnership will create a $45 million fund to support innovation, scaling-up, and research that will deepen existing innovations and help harness new technologies to enable citizen engagement and government responsiveness.
This fourth Grand Challenge will seek inclusive ways to empower all citizens to voice their concerns and demands, and to improve governments’ responsiveness and accountability to those citizens. In order to build trusting relationships between citizens and government, MAVC will aim to fund collaborative efforts rather than one-sided approaches.