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How Success Case Replication works
Case No. 1. Oversize bricks

How Success Case Replication works

Success Case Replication (SCR) is simple. It has two main steps:

A. Locate farmers, or groups, who have achieved good success in their enterprises,
B. Mobilize the successful farmer or groups to train their less well-off fellow villagers.
It differs from conventional enterprise training because it mobilizes successful farmers, or groups, to train rural poor. It does not depend upon professional or government trainers to conduct this training. The methodology follows nine distinct steps:

1. Locate success cases

2. Assess replicability (profit and marketability)

3. Assess farmer’s willingness to become a trainer

4. Establish a practical, hands on training programme

5. Carefully select trainees

6. Supervise the training

7. Arrange follow-up support services for trainees

8. Achieve secondary multiplications after first level successes

9. Monitoring cost effectiveness of the methodology.

Intensive field trials of the methodology were conducted from 1994 to 1998 in eight countries:

1. Bhutan
2. Lao People’s Democratic Republic
3. Mongolia
4. Nepal
5. Philippines
6. Sri Lanka
7. Thailand
8. Viet Nam
Eighteen agencies, including government, NGOs and rural banks, joined the project and 16 completed all activities.

In order to evaluate the project, each implementing agency kept Cost/Benefit records. These included the costs for the time devoted to the project by their field staff and the costs for the training for the farmers. The benefits were measured as the net income gained by the successful farm families during the first year they marketed their new product. At the end of the four-year field trials, all project evaluations were consolidated to yield the following achievements at the family level:


Achievement of SCR objectives at the family level to increase rural household income

A. Total number of farm families trained using SCR

= 3 332

B. Number successful and average success rate:

= 2 359 = 71%

C. Average income gain in first year for each family:

= US$ 449

D. Total increased net income benefits earned by all families:

= US$1 058 067

E. Total agency cost, including staff time and farmer training:

= US$87 271

F. Overall ratio of costs to benefits (C/B ratio):

= 1:12

G. Lowest C/B ratio was achieved in Bhutan:

= 1:4

H. Highest C/B ratio was achieved in Sri Lanka:

= 1:54

The total number of trained farmer households varies among implementing agencies from 11 to 385. However, Viet Nam expanded the project to cover four provinces, training 2 605 farm families with an 87 percent success rate. It achieved a Cost/Benefit ratio of 1:18 in this expansion phase, indicating that the methodology has the full potential for large-scale expansion.


SEEN in terms of measurable results for rural poverty alleviation, this project was remarkably successful. It generated an average income gain of $449 per annum for each of 2 359 rural farm households, who now command sustainable enterprises, expected to yield income into the foreseeable future.

The methodology has generated, on average, US$12 dollars of net income for each dollar of agency costs. It has proven to be well-adapted to local conditions because it uses existing local success cases for replication.

As such, it enhances the self-confidence of the villagers and reduces their dependency on government. It is not only applicable for micro-enterprise training but can also be used, with equal effectiveness, to replicate farmers groups or agricultural co-ops, or to upgrade the performance of such groups by mobilizing the more successful groups as trainers.

This methodology can be used to promote a wide range of activities including micro-enterprises, sustainable agriculture and livestock production, and participatory groups for the rural poor.

The following Sri Lankan success case illustrates the methodology:

Case No. 1. Oversize bricks

Mrs S. Priyani lived in Bowarenna Watta village in the highlands 65 km north of Kandy, Sri Lanka, in a one-room mud hut with a thatched roof, struggling to feed her two children. The village was poor with little farmland, and her husband was often absent, seeking day labour to enable them to survive. The tiny plot where they cultivated upland rice - when they had sufficient rain - was inadequate to meet their annual food needs. In desperation, she learned to produce traditional red clay bricks in her spare time, to supplement their income. Being among the poorest of the poor, she was one of the first to join the Small Farmers Development Programme (SFDP), a participatory self-help organization set up by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in the mid-1980s.

Bricks help provide a sound future

Success Case Replication training

In April 1995, Priyani was chosen by her farmer’s group to attend a training workshop on Success Case Replication (SCR) employment promotion methodology conducted by FAO and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). She learned how to identify villagers having successful enterprises and to use them to train their less well-off peers. Returning home, she decided to train other women to make bricks as a part-time income earning activity.

Oversize bricks

Soon after, her brother-in-law began building a brick house. He introduced an oversize brick, about twice the size of the traditional brick, significantly reducing the amount of cement, plaster and labour needed. Priyani and her friends immediately recognized the value of the larger bricks and soon discovered that there was strong demand for them in the local market because of savings in building costs. The brother-in-law introduced the larger brick, but SCR enabled Priyani to capitalize on this innovation and replicate it to the community.

Success of the brick enterprise

Initially, the daily output of Priyani and her friends was sufficient only to attract small tractor-drawn trailers. Devising an innovative marketing incentive, they paid truck drivers a bonus when they bought bricks from the women instead of from competing villages. As more trainees produced more bricks and their volume of bricks grew, larger six-wheeled trucks were attracted, and transported bricks to commercial construction firms in Kandy. As sales increased, Priyani trained more families. Recalling instructions from her SCR training workshop, she encouraged the more successful trainees to train other women. In turn, they trained a second, and then a third generation of female brick makers. Thanks to SCR, by the year 2000, 152 of 156 families had successfully replicated the oversize brick making enterprise and the village had become well known as a source for oversize bricks.

Direct benefits

By 1999 Priyani had become prosperous enough to replace her one-room mud hut with a three-bedroom brick house. Other families now have houses in place of mud huts, thanks to Priyani and the SCR project. Supplemental income from producing oversize bricks ranges from SL Rs 3 000 to 5 000 ($42-$70) per family per month, often doubling family income.

Indirect benefits

Men who formerly sought day labour outside the village now fire bricks and do other tasks and receive wages from women, often from their own spouses. This fundamental empowerment of women has reversed the former dependency relationship. Building homes also means increased employment for cement masons and carpenters. In response, Priyani arranged an SCR training course on window and doorframe carpentry for young men, using a successful local carpenter as trainer.

Recently Priyani and her friends decided to grow mushrooms, a lucrative sideline enterprise taught by Mrs Nilmini, from another province, whom she met at SCR training. Nilmini gained local fame for SCR training of 200 families in mushroom growing. By 1999, there were 13 generations successfully growing mushrooms. To support the new enterprise, Priyani and her colleagues have dug a new well to assure a year-round water source.

Oversize bricks; new houses for many

Priyani has had a remarkable impact on her whole village, moving it from being a poor community to one with adequate income. She was an ordinary woman in a typical rural community before SCR changed her into a teacher and leader of her peers. She became self-confident in her skills and has earned the gratitude of her peers. SCR methodology helped her village move toward self-reliance and away from traditional dependency on government.

The two women are not the only Sri Lankan SCR success cases. More than 388 successful replications had been achieved by the time the project ended in 1998. There are now more than a thousand success cases, including both women’s multiple-generation replications. Each family using SCR methodology has been fully documented. Their records show that 71 percent of SCR-trained families became successful in their new enterprises.

SFDO field records indicate that for each rupee spent for training an average of SL Rs 54 net income was gained by each family in the first project year. SCR can thus claim to be a cost-effective approach to farm family employment promotion.

The preceding case study demonstrates a replication which was more successful than the average, but it was chosen because it illustrates the multiple benefits that can be derived from Success Case Replication, and the process whereby Priyani was transformed from being an ordinary housewife to a new role as a community leader.

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