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Forum global sur la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition • Forum FSN

Re: Policy outreach and communications - what works for improving food security and nutrition at the country level?

Knowledge Outreach Team
Knowledge Outreach TeamFAOItaly

Name of your organization, country


FAO, Project: Capitalization of good practices in support of agricultural production and food security in Niger and Burkina Faso (2009-2013)

Your role

Strengthen local capacities in experience capitalization and production of good practices in different formats

Who are your target users?

Different targets for different products (radio series for farmers, fact sheets, posters, theatre plays and videos for farmer organizations, policy  brief for government officials and decision makers, …)

How do your target users use the information you provide and how do they give you feedback on their emerging needs?

The experiences that lead to good practice fact sheets were documented jointly with the farmer organizations. This enabled them to share information with other farmer organizations as well as to reflect upon their practices, learn lessons from failures and success and improve the practices so they could become “good practices”. The inclusion of gender sensitive approaches throughout the implementation of the practice also contributed to improve the practice. Including the end users in the experience capitalization process, enabled them to provide timely feedback. The farmers were able to provide feedback on the radio series through the listeners clubs organized by the community radios. A share fair was organized to share experiences and knowledge but also to collect feedback and promote collaboration.

What role do intermediaries* (‘champions’ in government, media, etc) play ?

The project office was located within the Ministry of Agriculture (Niger and Burkina Faso), which ensured a fruitful collaboration. The Secretary General of the Ministry supported the project which ensured a better uptake of the good practices within the policy of the Ministry of Agriculture. The community radio’s also played an important role in the dissemination of the information. Radio producers where trained to improve their radio programmes on gender and the use of the good practices documented by the project.  Community radio stations also collected feedback throughout their listeners clubs on the radio programmes produced.

What is the main communications or policy outreach challenge you face?

The challenges were merely related to the capacity development needed in the field on different topics (experience capitalization, gender,…). Multiple trainings workshops and short follow-up sessions were needed to ensure that the principles were well understood and that project staff and partners could ensure the sustainability of the work. Another challenge was the lack of resources that were needed to implement the programme. To ensure a large uptake of practices another phase to the project should have been funded immediately after this phase.

What recommendations would you give to someone, in a similar organization, wishing to improve the uptake and relevance of the information they produce?

-          Use of the experience capitalization process to identify, document, reflect on  different experiences so that the practices can be improved and shared with others.

-          Use of participatory methodologies throughout the whole process so the information corresponds to actual needs and actual realities.

-          Use local languages where possible to improve the accessibility of the information for farmers.

-          Strengthen partnerships

In your own words, tell your success story !

An experience capitalization process is not completed as long as the knowledge products and the know-how gained during the implementation of the practice are not used to improve it or scale it up. In other words, the different materials developed need to be used and start a new activity cycle that allows applying the new knowledge and obtain a larger impact.

In Burkina Faso, the cooperative called COPSA-C, for example, continues their inventory credit activities and ensures continuous training within their information and training centre to promote equitable inventory credit. In the same way, the Cigaba Union of Konkorindo in Niger shares its experience on inventory credit with other farmers ‘unions or organizations through exchange visits. Within the union itself the practice of inventory credit was strengthened with income generating activities for women.

Governments also play an important role within the process. The good practices identified on input management, such as inventory credit, the agro-input shops and the community listeners clubs have been integrated in the 3N Initiative “Les Nigériens Nourrissent les Nigériens”, the global programme of the Government in Niger to fight food insecurity. The uptake of the practices within the initiative has promoted the upscaling of the practices throughout the country. The good practice of the community listeners clubs was also integrated in the strategy of the Ministry of population, promotion of women and the protection of children on economic empowerment of women.

In Burkina Faso, inventory credit is part of an important World Bank Programme using the knowledge gained with the FAO project on experience capitalization.

More information on the project can be found on:

* Intermediaries are people who can deliver your information/ key messages to your target audience – they may be mid level policy makers, ‘champions’ in the government, the media, etc.