Putting the Horse in Front of the Cart - Implications for ICT4 Extension Design Strategy


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Andrea Bohn, ICT4Ag Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, on November 6, 2013

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  • client focused and needs driven, providing credible content and a relevant as well as actionable message through a trusted messenger.
  • client focused and needs driven, providing credible content and a relevant as well as actionable message through a trusted messenger.
  • ICT tools are just a part of the extension process and are most effective if combined with established good extension practice.
  • Source: Mark Bell, University of California at Davis
  • Photo credit: from presentation given by: Judith Payne (2012): ICT to Strengthen AG Extension Services: Promising Examples, Challenges. Webinar and Discussion sponsored by USAID and USDA/NIFA on 24 April 2012, Washington, D.C.
  • Mark Bell, 2012 - citation from the MEAS generated support documents for the G8 / New Alliance Expert Consultation on ICT for Extension
  • Mark Bell, 2012 - citation from the MEAS generated support documents for the G8 / New Alliance Expert Consultation on ICT for Extension
  • Thanks to Mark Bell, MEAS Team since this component was discussed a lot during our meetings in Dhaka. The existing extension service and trend of ICT usage will help to frame the future extension services.
  • Capacity is another important component to consider while planning to introduce ICT in extension. It covers both demand and supply side as well as the regulatory issues. Its always fancy to talk about all ‘wonderful’ tools but need to check whether the audience is ready to accept that and providers are ready to adopt those. Since the person behind the tool is most important, HR becomes crucial in many ways. We have seen many cases high end solutions with state of the art technology is available but due to the required HR, the service cant be delivered. All extension offices at district level have computers, internet and also computer operator, but still most of the data (like weather data, market price etc.) transmitted over phone or in document (word or excel) format. At national level, most of the senior people are not aware and comfortable to use ICT so no initiatives taken to develop an application and ensure use of ICT.
  • e-Krishok meant (e-Farmer) an initiative of Bangladesh Institute of ICT in Development (BIID) and now emerging as an end-2-end solution for the farmers ranging from extension to marketing. Use the following checklist to rate your tool or website. Site or Tool considerations 1. Audience and Focus? Is there clarity of audience and what information they need? 2. Why this site? Is this site needed (do similar or better site(s) already exist)? Are there good incentives to use the system? 3. Demand driven Is there a mechanism to ensure audience needs are clearly identified and that the audience can access and use information delivered? 4. Credibility Is the information from a credible tested source? Is information valid under the conditions of the users? 5. Application and feedback Is the project linked to those people using the information and can they provide feedback on content, format and ease of use? Are messages developed to be clear, simple, practical and doable. 6. Accuracy Is there a mechanism to ensure information correct (and links are active)? 7. User conditions? Does the technology match with the access options of the users? Is material available in the forms needed (e.g., written, CD/DVD and/or web) 8. Added value? Does the product add value to information already available? Does it make it easier for people to access and apply? 9. Site structure Is site structure simple and intuitive – with a search option. 10. Site links. Is there a mechanism to regularly check and ensure links are active. (Broken links quickly reduce site credibility.) Project considerations 1. Responsiveness Are developers open to feedback? Do they listen, evaluate and then respond to improve the system? 2. Acknowledge Are contributors to the site clearly acknowledged (This builds support and willingness to contribute 3. Project driver? Is there someone passionate about the project, who is committed to making sure it succeeds. What happens if that person leaves? 4. Sustainability? Does the project have support from institute or organization management with a vision for longer term management? How will the project be maintained, updated and sustained?
  • BIID initiated the concept and developed the business model for e-Krishok. In 2008, BIID partnered with Katalyst, Grameen Phone & ACI to introduce the service targeting approx. 5,000 farmers and by 2012 the membership grows up to 200,000 farmers. Critical success factor was adoption of feedbacks on services (inclusion, remove, update) and new technologies (Call Back service). With the new service propositions through all telecom operators and other partners, new target set to serve 1.0 Million farmers within 2013 and 3.0 Million by 2014 (including 1.0 Million e-Krishok members) by using mobile phone and expand the services from extension to marketing, crop insurance to Extension Process Outsourcing (EPO) etc.. Now government institutions like DAE among many other organizations also partnered with BIID.
  • *Backbone Support: e.g., the services provided by Market Maker staff at University of Illinois and by support staff for Market Maker at state level
  • Putting the Horse in Front of the Cart - Implications for ICT4 Extension Design Strategy

    1. 1. Putting the horse in front of the cart: A strategic approach to designing ICTsupported extension Andrea Bohn, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign In collaboration with: Mark Bell, University of California at Davis Shahid Akbar, Bangladesh Institute for ICT in Development Phil Malone, Access Agriculture Plenary Session November 6, 2013 CTA ICT4Ag Kigali, Rwanda
    2. 2. Source: Lonely Planet Background: A concrete project in Bangladesh MEAS Team is providing support to a Feed-theFuture project in southwestern Bangladesh that has strong emphasis on agricultural extension. Assistance with developing the ICT strategy for the project Training in using certain communication tools, especially video and radio, primarily to “illustrate the point” of participatory methodology
    3. 3. Temptation to put the cart in front of the horse … - Committing to a tool or application before understanding the needs and abilities of the audience/ users (farmers, intermediaries) and contributors - Filling the “cart” with content before knowing where the journey is going to - In-house technology and content development vs. collaboration and building on what is already there - A solution in search of a problem? It is easy to get very excited about certain ICT applications (the cart and its content) but on its own (and in front of the cart) this will go nowhere. Source: http://www.metronetiq.com/archives/2008/06/putting_the_car.html
    4. 4. Now: Put the horse in front of the cart! • Who is the primary audience: farmers or extension staff ? • What is the need or problem ICT is supposed to help solve? • Don’t be pre-committed to certain ICT applications Build on existing resources and pathways! • How is the audience accessing information now? • Who or what are trusted sources of information? Fill the cart with information that is CREDIBLE, RELEVANT, LOCALIZED, TRUSTWORTHY, ACTIONABLE
    5. 5. Understand existing ICT landscape – don’t reinvent the wheel Who is doing what? • • • • Map out the existing ICT ecosystem and options to integrate ICT components in the process. Need to be aware of and leverage other service providers / projects / organizations active in the area. Know who is doing what both in-house and in the project area. What are the existing ICT facilities like? How can other actors be engaged? Opportunities for public-private-partnerships?  We conducted background research and held stakeholder workshop along with field visits to Jessore region. Still: huge motivation on part of implementer to build ICT from scratch. (Report available at http://www.meas-extension.org/meas-offers/country_studies/country-overview/bangladesh)
    6. 6. Recommendation: Build Strategy on good extension practice A Audience and needs ASK ME Framework E S Evaluation Solutions M Message form and delivery K Key message © Mark Bell and Paul Marcotte, 2013 Also see: http://www.meas-extension.org/tip-sheets MEAS Framework for Designing and Implementing ICT Supported Extension and Information Services (July 2013)
    7. 7. Audience and their needs (wants) What are the problems, priority needs, interests and opportunities of the clients (e.g., farmers) that could be addressed via ICT? MEAS partner Access Agriculture conducted participatory video and script writing trainings  Eye opening experience!
    8. 8. Solutions and Key Message Solutions Content needs to be CREDIBLE, RELEVANT, LOCALIZED, coming from a TRUSTED MESSENGER, and ACTIONABLE • Where is the reliable information to meet the identified needs going to come from? Consider audience members themselves! • Is there need for (further) validation? • Are farmers getting conflicting messages? Network with other potential content and service providers (organizations, companies, projects). Key message
    9. 9. ICT Design based on ASK ME framework Message form and delivery (ICT plus …) • Take into account: literacy, education, gender, access, … • How will information be packaged and delivered? Who will be involved? • Can public and other extension service providers be engaged in this process? • Complement ICT with “traditional” methods like demonstrations to deepen learning, build trust, demonstrate success (“seeing is believing “, and “learning by doing”) Evaluation and improvements, feedback loop
    10. 10. Information is necessary but not sufficient Many factors contribute to changes in behavior ( productivity increases, higher profitability, improved nutrition, etc. ), which is what we are ultimately interested in!
    11. 11. Terms of Use: © A. Bohn and MEAS project. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Users are free: • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work • to Remix — to adapt the work Under the following conditions: • Attribution — Users must attribute the work to the author(s)/institution (but not in any way that suggests that the authors/ institution endorse the user or the user’s use of the work).
    12. 12. Disclaimer: This presentation was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development, USAID. The contents are the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government. www.meas-extension.org
    13. 13. DEFINING Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can be defined as any technology that helps in the transfer of information. This entails DEVICES such as radios, televisions, simple mobile phones or smart phones, computers (desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablets), came ras, and recording /play back devices for voice, video, and still images. Communication TOOLS used include text, voice, photo and video. DEVICES such as smart phones and webenabled computers combine the functionality of several devises and permit the use of multiple communication tools. Mark Bell, 2011
    14. 14. DEFINING Extension “Extension is defined broadly to include • all systems that facilitate access of farmers, their organizations and other market actors to knowledge, information and technologies; • facilitate their interaction with partners in research, education, agri-business, and other relevant institutions; • and assist them to develop their own technical, organizational and management skills and practices.” Ian Christoplos, FAO, 2010 (emphasis added)
    15. 15. Key Statement about ICT in Extension “Information and communication tools such as cell phones, the internet, radio, and television can dramatically improve farmers’ and intermediaries’ access to information relevant for rural households, production agriculture, and agribusinesses. The tools can be used to raise awareness or to provide specific information in response to questions about agricultural technologies, markets, prices, etc. As such these tools are just a part of the extension process and are most effective if combined with established good extension practice.
    16. 16. Key Statement about ICT in Extension For extension in general and for ICT in particular to be effective, the service has to be client focused and needs driven, providing credible content and a relevant as well as actionable message through a trusted messenger. Furthermore, access to information is just part of the formula for success. Farmers have to see sufficient evidence that they are convinced to turn the new information received into 1) a willingness to test the approach, and then 2) if the test is successful, adopt. Success of an IC tool or approach therefore also depends on availability of required inputs, sufficient knowledge to test and use those inputs appropriately, and access to markets for farmers to profitably sell their products.” Mark Bell, 2012
    17. 17. Analyzing Existing ICT & Extension And Expected Future Scenario (Supply Analysis) Mapping existing services, providers & roles Understand the success factors & causes of failure Identify the incentives (business case) Capacity of extension service providers & research institutes Quality and validation of content Expected Future Scenario • • • • Need-based & trustworthy, high quality content Packaging (tool, low cost, access & availability) Market driven and branded services Enabling environment
    18. 18. Service Development and Delivery Localization and customization Validation of content and quality Update mechanism and incentives User-friendliness of service delivery (cost & technology) Demonstration of impact and sharing success cases Feedback mechanism and development
    19. 19. Assessing the Capacity Service Providers • Institutional: Policy & Resources of Government, Research organizations, NGO’s, Private Sectors to adopt new technology • HR: Awareness, Willingness and Understanding Service Recipients • Farmers: Access, Awareness, Benefits/Results, Skills • Extension agents (public, private): Access to technology, Awareness, Skills, Marketing, Demonstration, Incentives Policy And Regulatory Environment
    20. 20. Resources on ICT for Agriculture and Extension MEAS • www.measict.weebly.com • www.meas-extension.org/resources/ict • MEAS Framework for Designing and Implementing ICT Supported Extension and Information Services (July 2013) • MEAS Guide to Producing Farmer-to-Farmer Training Videos (April 2013) ICT in Agriculture: www.ictinagriculture.org/ictinag/ Sponsored by the Agricultural and Rural Development unit of the World Bank ICT for Ag Online Community: https://communities.usaidallnet.gov/ictforag The e-Agriculture Community: www.e-agriculture.org e-Agriculture is a global Community of Practice, where people from all over the world exchange information, ideas, and resources related to the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for sustainable agriculture and rural development. ICT Update by CTA: http://ictupdate.cta.int/en Look into the many archived issues (come out on a bi-monthly basis) at http://ictupdate.cta.int/en/Issues/(issue)/69
    21. 21. Annex The 80:20 Rule Success in ICT depends to 20 % on technological factors, to 80% it depends on social factors/ social interaction. Source: Darlene Knipe and Richard Warner, University of Illinois, 2013 (personal communication) Following slides: learning from  E-Krishok (BIID)  E-Afghan Ag (UC Davis, USDA funded)  Market Maker (University of Illinois Cooperative Extension, implemented in growing number of States)
    22. 22. e-Krishok: An ICT enabled service BIID has been facilitating proper usage of the first and only (as of now) private sector driven provision info bank (www.ekrishok.com) of agriculture related information and knowledge. Based on the experiences of piloting in 10 locations in 2008, BIID is now expanding the service as ‘e-Krishok’ nationwide to induce trial of agricultural extension and market linkage service. BIID now introduced short code 16250 to offer voice & SMS service Mobilizing and awareness building - Recognition of info-centers as source of info and advice - Trial of services by member farmers Problem specific consultation - A critical mass of benefited farmers Backend support services like content, promotion, marketing BP = Business Promoters
    23. 23. e-Krishok: An initiative of BIID Inclusive Business Concept (Service & technology adoption, Scaling up) Innovation, Strategy and Business Model (Envisioning the future market of ICT in Agriculture)
    24. 24. E-Afghan Ag • “Provide credible, relevant information to those helping farmers in Afghanistan.” www.eafghanag.ucdavis.edu
    25. 25. Lessons learned from e-Afghan Ag Keys to success  Be demand-driven (clarity of audience and needs)  Provide credible information - draw on a range of credible knowledgeable sources  Draw on contributions from all partners/stakeholders  Link to trusted delivery agents  Collect feedback  Acknowledge sources and contributors
    26. 26. Lessons learned from Market Maker, www.foodmarketmaker.com The Five Conditions of Collective Impact Backbone Support * Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organization(s) with staff and a specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative and coordinate participating organizations and agencies. Common Agenda All participants have a shared vision for change including a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions. Shared Measurement Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable. Mutually Reinforcing Activities Participant activities must be differentiated while still being coordinated through a mutually reinforcing plan of action. Continuous Communication Consistent and open communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation. Richard Warner, University of Illinois for MEAS Summer Institute, on May 31, 2013
    27. 27. Lessons learned from Market Maker, www.foodmarketmaker.com Subsequent research by University of Illinois’ Market Maker has confirmed that backbone organizations serve six essential functions: 1) Providing overall strategic direction; 2) Facilitating dialogue between partners; 3) Managing data collection and analysis; 4) Handling communications; 5) Coordinating community outreach; and 6) Mobilizing funding. Richard Warner, University of Illinois for MEAS Summer Institute, on May 31, 2013
    28. 28. Lessons learned from Market Maker as collaborations with India, Brazil, etc. are being set up: Positioning Extension: Societies in Transition • • • • • • • • Transaction costs for collaborations are real (and initially high) Agile responses in academic / science based context Community presence and communication Challenge of addressing complex issues (e.g., food-waterenergy nexus) Identify and know collaborators and competitors Delivery mechanisms & partners change Business model: Funding strategies & resources Measuring and reporting shared impacts Richard Warner, University of Illinois for MEAS Summer Institute, on May 31, 2013