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Building extension and advisory partnerships in Africa

January 22, 2016

On January 14-15 2016, Dr Silim Nahdy, the executive director of the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), and his technical team, visited CTA to discuss the evolution of African extension services and potential areas for partnership. 

AFAAS, an organisation for strengthening Africa-wide agricultural extension and advisory services, has recently reviewed its 2015-2017 strategy, and has identified knowledge management (KM) as a key focal area. CTA’s expertise in KM will help support AFAAS in its new strategic direction.

As well as Dr Nahdy, the AFAAS delegation included Dr Dan Kisauzi, AFAAS technical adviser on knowledge management and communication and Max Olupot Olalatau, partnership officer and technical assistant to the executive director. The team had close discussions with CTA’s technical staff, facilitated by Krishan Bheenick, senior programme coordinator for KM and Dr Benjamin Kwasi Addom, ICT4D programme coordinator. Dr Ibrahim Khadar, CTA’s head of the learning monitoring and evaluation unit, presented practical areas where CTA could support AFAAS including on agricultural policies, markets and value chains, and ICTs for agriculture, learning and KM. 

As a process with huge potential for impacting farmers in its new strategy, AFAAS made a presentation on Country Fora (CF), which are ‘communities of practice’ that bring together a wide range of actors and stakeholders involved in - or benefitting from - rural advisory services in a country. Each stakeholder has an interest in extension but are not necessarily extension workers themselves.

“The CF process can make good use of CTA’s wealth of information for innovations and how to reach farmers. Whether it is information on climate-smart agriculture, value chains or the use of certain ICT tools,” said Dr Nahdy. “Working collaboratively with CTA and our networks for short, medium and long-term sustainability in African countries’ extension and advisory services is key for both CTA and AFAAS,” he added. 


In agreement, Dr Khadar added: “AFAAS provide extension and advisory services close to farmers. In working with AFAAS more closely in this area, CTA can obtain important feedback from farmers.  AFAAS and CTA also share specialisms in KM and developing knowledge capacities. We use similar tools and approaches, and we have a lot in common; working together will help intensify our efforts and make a bigger impact on farmers.”

CTA and AFAAS are now working towards a memorandum of understanding and a joint action plan, which will strengthen the CF concept and its delivery to strengthen extension officers’ capacities in Africa. CTA will bring its ICT and KM tools and resources (videos, apps and publications) to support extension delivery through service providers.

CTA has provided technical support in ICTs and KM to AFAAS since 2011: The Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) Innovations in extension and advisory services international conference (18th November, 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya); The Role of Private Sector and Producer Organisations in Rural Advisory Services (24-26 September 2013 in Berlin, Germany); The Global Conference on Rural Advisory Services policies – evidence and practice (23-25 September 2014, in Buenos Aires, Argentina); and the 2nd Africa Agricultural Extension Week (12-16 October 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia).

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See some photos from the visit

Visit of the AFAAS to CTA