Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Promoting Agricultural Development with Video Technology

Readers of this blog are probably familiar with the impressive work of Digital Green, an international NGO which uses pico projectors to disseminate extension messages. Their work started in India and spread quickly to other countries in Africa and elsewhere. Today, they are reaching almost 90,000 farmers with more than 2,000 videos. The impact of their work has attracted the attention of donors and practitioners as we look for ways to improve the intake of extension messages. Governments are also intrigued by the possibilities of equipping extension agents with DG's approach.  In early 2014, the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture held a series of training workshops with extension staff to pilot video-facilitated extension in four regions of the country.

FHI360's Integrating Low-Cost Video into Agricultural Development Projects: A Toolkit for Practitioners, is an excellent resource for those considering the use of video platforms to strengthen behavior change messages. The toolkit allows practitioners to develop a more systematic approach to use low-cost video as one of the mediums through which they share information with farmers.

The toolkit provides the information in six modules, starting with examples on how video technology is currently being used. Besides showcasing the work of Digital Green, the guide also describes the work of InsightShare, One Media Player Per Trainer (OMPT), and Agro-Insight, a Belgium enterprise, also producing professional videos on various agriculture topics. Agro-Insight videos can be streamed at or purchased for institutional used.

Although briefly discussed, the guide elaborates on the benefit of multimedia learning, and how a combination of visual and audio inputs increases the effectiveness of your messages (see graph).

The subsequent modules walk practitioners through the process of deciding if video is the right approach, and if so, how to create, disseminate, and track video platforms.  The final module provides excellent information about the technical considerations for camcorders, projectors, and other types of software and hardware needed for these types of projects.