On December 10, 2020, the Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC), the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), and the West and Central Africa Network of Agricultural and Rural Advisory Services (RESCAR-AOC) organized a webinar on enhancing professionalization and partnerships in agricultural extension in West and Central Africa. This webinar, attended by 60 people, served two purposes: (1) to share findings and recommendations from a recently completed DLEC report on strengthening professionalization and partnerships in Guinea; and (2) to introduce the concept of a country forum to stakeholders in Guinea and the region. The webinar recording is available here.

Dr. Amadou Ndiaye, from RESCAR-AOC, provided opening remarks highlighting the importance of partnership and professionalization of agricultural extension. Dr. Kristin Davis, DLEC Co-Director, presented on pluralistic extension systems and lessons from DLEC’s work.  Next, Dr. Patrice Djamen, DLEC consultant, and Mr. Laye Sacko from the Guinean National Agency for Rural Promotion and Agricultural Advisory Services (ANPROCA), presented the findings and recommendations of the report, Strengthening Partnerships and Professionalization in Agricultural Extension in Guinea, which is available in English and French. Key recommendations include:

  • Strengthen the capacities of extension and advisory services (EAS) providers via a national capacity strengthening plan, training on managing partnerships, and improving communications between EAS providers
  • Improve the accessibility of information on EAS stakeholders and opportunities. An interactive platform should be set up for information sharing and knowledge management on stakeholders and EAS in Guinea.
  • Establish frameworks for consultation and exchanges. A national agricultural advisory forum, or country dforum, should be created to serve as an inclusive platform for the EAS actors to coordinate, exchange information, and explore opportunities.
  • Develop inclusive regulatory instruments such as a code of ethics, norms and standards, and others.
  • Update and enrich the training curricula for EAS providers to reduce the gap between current EAS and the new vision of professional EAS in Guinea.
  • Strengthen the awareness and capacities of EAS providers be strengthened for efficient and sustainable harnessing of the potential of ICTs.

After that, Mr. Max Olupot, partnership specialist for AFAAS, and Dr. Samson Eshetu, institutional capacity specialist for AFAAS, provided an overview of AFAAS, explained the role of a country forum vis-à-vis the regional and global forums for agricultural extension and how these work together, and described success factors for a country forum. A country forum is an inclusive platform or community of practice for different actors to coordinate, exchange information and knowledge and identify service delivery opportunities. It is also used to advocate for better investment in EAS and to develop relationships between national stakeholders and other continental and international initiatives.

Next, the moderator, Mr. Andri Rasoanindrainy led a moderated Q&A to explore the issues raised during the presentation in more depth. Dr. Aly Conde, Director General of ANPROCA, provided closing remarks summarizing key learnings from the webinar.

DLEC is setting the foundation of a national EAS country forum in Guinea, including hosting learning events such as this webinar, continue socializing the country forum concept to relevant stakeholders in Guinea, and holding participatory discussions on the mandate of the forum, its structure, and how to make it inclusive and sustainable. DLEC will work with RESCAR-AOC to continue supporting this nascent country forum.  We hope that this work has lasting influence in Guinea’s agricultural extension ecosystem and ultimately helps farmers receive pluralistic, timely, and robust agricultural extension services.

Comments

  1. Recommendations are so well drafted, applicable elsewhere too, especially in developing world. Sharing in my networks.

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