In May 2016, USAID launched the Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) project in 21 countries – including Bangladesh – to raise incomes and increase resilience of smallholder farmers and their families by scaling and improving locally-relevant, cost-effective, and pluralistic agricultural extension systems that bring together information technologies and community-based organizations.
From December 4 – 5, 2016, the Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) Stakeholder Workshop was hosted by Bangladesh Agricultural Extension Network (BAEN), the Agricultural Extension in South Asia Network, IFPRI, and Digital Green, with support from Care International, in Dhaka.
How can DLEC add value to extension and advisory services? At the workshop, key stakeholders in Bangladesh, including government agencies, civil society, knowledge and research institutions, private sector, technology partners, and funders, advised DLEC on the following:
- Understand the extension and advisory “ecosystem”: Take into account the existing initiatives and resources to strengthen extension and advisory services in the country (e.g., many partners and projects with various sources of funding; the large network of extension agents, agri-retailers and farmer producer groups; the development of localized content through the various research institutions; the high mobile penetration; and the prevalence of many ICT tools)
- Build off of existing initiatives: Many initiatives are donor-based, resulting in financial sustainability issues. DLEC must understand the whole network to really understand how and where to add value rather than creating a separate, parallel initiative.
- Integrated, holistic approach: High demand for a more integrated, holistic approach to extension that moves beyond a crop production focus to a multi-benefit system with information on resilience, nutrition, profitability/marketing, leadership, livestock, and fisheries.
- Inclusion and capacity strengthening: Strive for inclusivity, especially of women and other marginalized groups, and capacity strengthening of all actors by investing in more training and development.
DLEC will use the stakeholder workshop as a touchstone for further Findings from the workshop will help plan ongoing in-country engagement, building off of local stakeholder initiatives for sustainability. DLEC intends to begin implementation of the activity in mid-2017.
This post is based off of the “Extension and Advisory Services Stakeholder Workshop” report. To learn more about DLEC, please visit: https://www.digitalgreen.org/connect/usaid-dlec/. Photo credit: Md. Mukter Hossen.