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2.2. Suggested conceptual framework for strategic planning of extension campaigns

The effectiveness of an extension campaign depends very much on its strategy which should be specific, systematic, and well-planned. In developing a campaign plan, the use of a conceptual framework which can guide the planning process in a systematic, rational, and strategic manner should be considered. A good conceptual framework can help in the application of relevant theories, principles or research findings in the planning and development of sound extension strategies and plans.

In this publication, planning is defined as a process of identifying or defining problems, formulating objectives or goals, thinking of ways to accomplish goals and measuring progress towards goal achievements (Middleton and Hsu Lin, 1975). A good extension campaign plan has a strategy which reflects the target beneficiaries' identified problems/needs and the way information, education (i.e., training) and communication will be used in solving such problems or meeting the needs. Such a plan must outline the management actions to be taken in implementing the strategy. Thus, in this context, campaign planning has to include both strategy planning (i.e. what to do) and management planning (i.e. how to make it happen).

Strategic planning can be operationally defined simply as the best possible use of available and/or limited resources (i.e., time, funds, and staff) to achieve the greatest returns or pay-off (i.e., outcome, results, or impact). Strategic planning is also an approach to anticipatory planning in order to reduce or overcome some uncertainties in decision-making process by prioritizing actions or interventions which may produce the most likely positive outcomes or results.

A strategic extension campaign plan should provide specific guidelines and directions in making information, education and communication activities operational. It must be constantly reviewed, especially at the implementation stage. Adaptation or modification of the plan may be required because of specific local conditions/problems or alteration of the policies/objectives which guided the original plan. The plan should thus be flexible and ready for necessary modification as suggested by feedback results/information (e.g. through process and/or formative evaluation, including pretesting) in order to improve the strategy or the management of campaign implementation activities.

The process of developing a strategic extension plan can be divided into two major parts. The first part is the process of strategy development planning. The second part is the process of management planning. To provide a systematic approach in developing a strategic extension campaign plan, a generic conceptual framework (see Adhikarya, 1978 and also Adhikarya with Posementier, 1987) is suggested based on a 10-phase circular model (Fig. 2-1). The suggested process of developing a strategic extension campaign plan is described below, adapted from the of conceptual framework originally proposed by Adhikarya (1978):

(r)Part I:

Campaign Strategy Development Planning

Phase 1:

Technology & problems identification and information needs assessment

Phase 2:

Campaign objectives formulation

Phase 3:

Strategy development and information positioning

Phase 4:

Audience analysis and segmentation

Phase 5:

Multi-media selection

Phase 6:

Message design, development, pretesting and materials production

During a campaign strategy development planning, as much formative evaluation as possible should be included as a built-in component in all the above-mentioned phases, especially in phases 4 to 6. Formative evaluation in this context means the process of testing the suitability, appropriateness or effectiveness of campaign strategy and plan, including its multi-media messages and support materials, preferably before full implementation, in order to ensure good campaign performance or results.

When a plan for a campaign strategy is completed, it must be translated into action. At that stage, the task of a extension campaign planner shifts from strategy development to management planning. To transform extension campaign strategies into extension campaign activities, management objectives must be identified clearly to include at least the following elements: what the action is; who is to carry out the action; how the action is to be carried out; how much resources will be needed and how to obtain such resources; when the action is to be accomplished. In addition, management objectives should set a standard for measuring progress and impact of implementation. Thus, the following phases are necessary in campaign management planning:

(r)Part II:

Campaign Management Planning

Phase 7:

Management planning

Phase 8:

Training of personnel

Phase 9:

Field implementation

Phase 10:

Process documentation and summative evaluation

These four phases of campaign management planning should be supported by a management information system to provide planners with regular and up-to-date information for at least the basic components of management objective: who will do what and when. There are three kinds of management activities for which such information is needed to make effective decisions: personnel, finance and logistics. It should be noted that management information system is useful so long as it does not create an unnecessary burden on extension and training staff; distracting them from their basic information, motivation, and education tasks (Middleton and Hsu Lin, 1975).

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