Ronny Adhikarya is a Senior Extension Education and Training Methodology Specialist, Agricultural Education and Extension Service, FAO/United Nations, Rome, Italy. The contents of this chapter are largely taken from several sections of R. Adhikarya, Strategic extension campaign: A participatory-oriented method of agricultural extension, Rome, Italy: FAO/United Nations, 1994.
Strategic extension campaign: What and why
The usefulness of SEC
SEC operationally defined
Suggested conceptual framework for strategic planning of extension campaigns
A "strategic extension campaign" (SEC) methodology developed by FAO has been introduced in Africa, the Near East, Asia, and Latin America. This methodology emphasizes the importance of people's participation (i.e., intended beneficiaries such as small farmers) in strategic planning, systematic management, and field implementation of agricultural extension and training programmes. Its extension strategies and messages are specifically developed and tailored based on the results of a participatory problem identification process on the causes or reasons for farmers' nonadoption, or inappropriate practices, of a given recommended agricultural technology or innovation. The SEC technology transfer and application approach is needs based and demand driven and has a problem-solving orientation.
The SEC programme follows a systems approach, which starts with a farmers' Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice (KAP) survey whose results are used as planning inputs and benchmark-baseline for summative evaluation purposes. In addition, a series of practical and participatory approach workshops are conducted to train extension personnel, subject-matter specialists, trainers, and farmer leaders together on the skills of extension programme planning, strategy development, message design and positioning, multimedia materials development, pretesting and production, as well as management planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. One of the strengths of this approach is in orienting and training relevant extension personnel to apply a systematic, rational, and pragmatic approach to planning, implementing, managing, monitoring, and evaluating regular or routine programmes of an agricultural extension service.
Empirical evaluation studies (using information recall and impact surveys, focus group interviews, and management monitoring surveys) of strategic extension campaign methods applied to specific FAO-supported extension activities conducted, for instance, in Bangladesh and Malaysia (on rat control), Thailand (on pest surveillance system), Malaysia (on weed management), Zambia (on maize production), Malawi, Jamaica, and Morocco (on population education), reported positive changes in farmers' knowledge, attitudes, and practices vis-a-vis the recommended technologies as well as significant economic benefits.
This SEC method has been replicated with FAO assistance in many countries in Asia, Africa, the Near East, and the Caribbean, with topics such as line-sowing method of rice cultivation, maize production, cocoa cultivation, tick-borne disease control, contour tillage, population education, and ploughing with draught-animal power. In addition to various SEC replications within a country, the multiplier effects of its method are felt beyond national boundaries. For example, extension specialists from Ghana, Malawi, Ethiopia, France, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines who had been trained by FAO on this SEC method and implemented such programmes have now served as consultants and resource persons to train their counterparts, and/or have assisted in similar SEC replications in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Liberia, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Morocco, Tunisia, Rwanda, Burundi, Guinea, Jamaica, and Honduras.
The strategic extension campaign (SEC) is not an alternative to the conventional extension programme or activity. SEC is, and should be, an integral part of the programmes of an agricultural extension service. The effectiveness and efficiency of such a service could be increased because of SEC's emphasis on its problem-solving orientation, participatory planning approach, intensive extension personnel training, multimedia materials development, and extension management, monitoring, and evaluation procedures. Its activities should be carried out by extension personnel and to support the ministry of agriculture's policies, strategies, and priority programmes. The strategic extension campaign is useful and important to an agricultural extension service for the following reasons:
· It advocates a participatory planning approach.
· It has a needs-based and demand-driven orientation.
· It uses a strategic planning and integrated systems approach.
· It considers the human and behavioural dimensions.
· It has a problem-solving orientation.
· It employs a cost-effective multimedia approach.
· It provides specific extension support materials and training.
· It has built-in process documentation and evaluation procedures.
· Its method is applicable to other extension programmes.
Participatory Planning Approach
This participatory approach extension method is responsive to intended beneficiaries' agricultural development problems and information needs because its extension objectives, strategies, methods, messages, and multimedia materials are specifically developed on the basis of survey results of their knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) vis-a-vis the recommended agricultural technologies. Such a participatory approach in planning SEC activities increases the degree of relevance, and thus acceptability, of extension messages or recommendations among intended beneficiaries who are consulted during the planning process regarding their priority concerns and needs. It does not assume the target beneficiaries (i.e., farmers) to be ignorant or requiring all the information there is to know. Rather, it tries to understand and assess farmers' local indigenous knowledge, values, and belief system on farming practices, which may be good, need to be improved, or perhaps need to be discouraged. In short, it follows the well-known principles of rural reconstruction: "Start with what people already know," and "Build on what they already have."
Needs-Based and Demand-Driven Orientation
In order to make the best use of available extension resources, SEC activities concentrate on meeting the information, education, and training needs of intended target beneficiaries. Rather than providing them with the spectrum of information and skills related to a given recommended technology, SEC activities are geared to narrowing the gaps between knowledge, attitudes, and/or appropriate practice levels of the target beneficiaries vis-a-vis the technology recommendations. Furthermore, the focus of SEC activities is to create a demand (through information and motivation approaches) and/or to satisfy the demand (through education and training) among the intended target beneficiaries for the necessary relevant knowledge and skills for adopting the recommended technologies. Such a method needs to apply bottom-up and participatory planning procedures which will give high priority in meeting the interests and needs of the target beneficiaries. Tailoring the SEC messages and activities to the specific needs of the intended beneficiaries would not only increase the chances of success, but also would increase the efficiency in resources utilization.
Strategic Planning and Integrated Systems Approach
The SEC method advocates an integrated and holistic approach in extension strategy development, programme planning and management, training, media and materials development, and monitoring and evaluation. To ensure its relevance to audience needs and to utilize its resources efficiently, it relies heavily on both quantitative data and qualitative information obtained from target beneficiaries (i.e., farmers) to assist in problem analysis, objective formulation, strategy development, and management planning. It applies a strategic planning approach in programming and managing its activities to achieve maximum outputs or results using minimal inputs or resources in the shortest time possible. SEC activities such as surveys, strategy and management planning, multimedia materials design and development, training, field implementation, monitoring, and evaluation are integrated as a system, which is also an integrated part of a larger extension programme which has linkages with relevant agencies or units dealing with research, inputs-supplies, training, and marketing.
Human and Behavioural Dimensions
In order to minimize the heavy technology bias of many extension activities, the SEC method gives adequate consideration to human behavioural aspects, such as socio-psychological, sociocultural, and socioeconomic factors which may facilitate or impede adoption, or continued practice, of recommended technologies by farmers. Without sufficient understanding of their positive or negative attitudes and behaviour towards a given technology, the technology transfer process would be slow and ineffective, especially if the extension emphasis is on appropriate technology application by farmers. There is considerable evidence to suggest that nonadoption of a recommended agricultural technology or innovation is often related to, or caused by, nontechnological factors such as social, psychological, cultural, and economic problems.
The SEC method gives due attention to human and environmental factors which may influence the important decision-making process related to agricultural technology adoption and practices. It employs a behavioural science analysis, based on a participatory needs assessment and problem identification of the target audience, in developing appropriate strategies and tactics to overcome or minimize humanrelated constraints affecting the agricultural technology transfer and application process.
The SEC is particularly distinguished in that it normally focuses on specific issues related to a given agricultural technology recommendation. Its main aim is to solve or minimize problems which caused nonadoption of such a recommendation by intended target beneficiaries (i.e., farmers). Unlike more conventional extension programmes or activities, it does not "extend" the whole gamut of information on the recommended technology package. Instead, it selects, prioritizes, and utilizes only the most relevant and necessary information or facts which can maximize the effectiveness of extension efforts to minimize or solve the identified problems of nonadoption of a recommended technology. It stresses the need to provide strategic, critical, and "quality" information, which must also include nontechnological information as the reasons why nonadoption of agricultural technologies are often related to sociopsychological, sociocultural, and socioeconomic factors. Appropriate human behavioural science principles are thus applied to extension problem solving and in information positioning and utilization, which is responsive rather than prescriptive in nature.
The segmentation or classification of extension problems, objectives, strategies, and information needs according to a target audience's levels of knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) in regards to a given recommended technology is not only conceptually important, but practical and useful as well. Problems related to low knowledge level require different solutions than those related to attitudinal problems. Similarly, strategies for changing negative attitudes on a recommended technology are likely to be different than those for solving incorrect practices in technology application or convincing people to try to practise a recommended technology. The implications of the different KAP levels would greatly influence the development of problem-solving strategies, message design, selection of multimedia mix (including when and how to utilize group and interpersonal communication channels, such as extension workers), and materials development, as shown in Figure 1. Application of a behavioural modification approach using information based on the KAP levels of the target audience for message development, media selection, and materials development alone could significantly increase the cost-effectiveness of extension activities.
Cost-Effective Multimedia Approach
One of the most common problems or constraints of a national extension service is the shortage of field extension personnel to reach large numbers of farmers in widely spread geographical areas with inadequate transportation. Moreover, extension workers are usually overburdened with an unnecessarily heavy workload which includes almost everything that has to do with farmers at the village level. Such an overreliance on extension workers is neither technically sound nor operationally efficient. Some extension functions for certain purposes such as awareness creation, information delivery, and motivational campaigns can be more effectively and efficiently performed by other means, channels, or nonextension groups under the coordination and supervision of extension workers.
Extension workers' workload could be reduced by mobilizing appropriate rural and community-based resources, including the increasingly accessible and low-cost mass communication channels (e.g., local radio stations, rural press, folk/traditional media, posters, flip charts, silk-screened printed materials, audio-cassettes, slide-tape presentations, leaflets, comics) to disseminate standardized and packaged extension messages, and by using local volunteers (e.g., school teachers, children, local and religious leaders) to serve as intermediaries in reaching farmers. Such an approach does not imply that extension workers can or will be replaced by these community resources. Rather, it is a rational approach of using available resources most efficiently for certain tasks, such as using extension workers for educational or instructional purposes, which require two-way interactions, field demonstrations, group discussion, and so forth that cannot be done as effectively by mass communication channels.
The SEC method employs a multimedia approach whereby a cost-effective combination of mass, personal, and group communication channels (including extension workers and trainers) and materials are efficiently utilized to reduce extension cost and efforts and to increase its effectiveness in dealing with a larger number of target audiences more rapidly.
Specific Extension Support Materials and Training
Most extension services in developing countries suffer from the lack of relevant and practical extension and training materials to support the field activities of their extension workers. Many extension workers rely primarily on their interpersonal communication skills, and thus their time during farmers' meetings may not be used as effectively as it should be.
Providing specifically designed and relevant training support materials to extension workers will not only facilitate their tasks and reduce their heavy workload. It will also ensure a certain degree of quality control in the delivery of technical information or extension message contents. Experience has also shown that extension workers' motivation, enthusiasm, confidence, and credibility increase when they are given relevant and attractive multi-media support materials which they can use to improve the effectiveness of their extension and training work.
FIGURE 2-5 - General and Simplified Guidelines on Utilizing Results of Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) Survey for Planing and Developement of Extension Campaign Strategies.
In SEC activities, extension workers are provided with pretested extension and training support materials whose messages are specially designed and developed on the basis of the extension programme's problem-solving strategy plan. Furthermore, these extension workers are also given special training to ensure their understanding of extension strategies, message contents, and management-implementation plans, as well as when, with whom, and how they should utilize the various multimedia support extension and training materials.
Built-in Process Documentation and Evaluation Procedures
The advantage of employing a Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice (KAP) survey, as one of the tools for participatory problem identification and information needs assessment, is not limited to obtaining specific baseline data and inputs for planning extension strategies and improving its management operations. It also provides benchmark information and data for the purpose of qualitative evaluation, in terms of changes in the levels of KAP over time. In addition, SEC activities have built-in evaluation procedures in the forms of formative evaluation (e.g., pretesting of materials and Management Monitoring Survey) and summative evaluation (e.g., Information Recall and Impact Survey), for which data and information from the target beneficiaries are essential. SEC uses various participatory-approach evaluation methodologies including, among others, the quantitative survey, focus group interview, pretesting, recall tests, content analysis, field monitoring, and cost-benefit analysis.
Another important aspect of SEC is that it not only provides empirical evaluation results, but it also usually includes a step-by-step documentation of its operational process through summary briefs as well as more detailed printed, audio, or visual reports and presentations. Such process documentation and evaluation results have proved to be instrumental for facilitating SEC replications and in obtaining necessary policy, institutional, and financial support.
Applicability to Other Extension Programmes
Most, if not all, of the important principles and techniques employed in planning, implementing, and managing SEC activities are applicable for developing and implementing any extension programme. The SEC's process, operational phases, and implementation steps (Figures 2 and 3) are essentially similar to that of a regular (but well-designed) extension programme. SEC could thus be considered a microcosm of an agricultural extension programme. It may be safe to assume that if SEC activities can be carried out successfully in a campaign context, which has a very short time period, then SEC processes, methods, and techniques, either partially or holistically, can be incorporated effectively into a regular and institutionalized extension programme which has a longer time span.
Given appropriate training in various SEC principles and techniques and through direct involvement in undertaking a planned SEC programme, trained extension staff could help in applying a systematic, rational, and pragmatic approach to planning, implementing, managing, monitoring, and evaluating regular/routine programmes of an agricultural extension service. As indicated in a number of SEC evaluation studies, many extension staff who had been trained and have implemented SEC activities have continued to use their skills in developing and implementing other institutionalized extension programmes for various agricultural technologies. Some have replicated the complete SEC process, while others have applied only certain SEC principles or techniques. These efforts have been appreciated and welcomed by many senior officials of the ministry of agriculture where SEC activities were undertaken because they could see its concrete outputs, results, and impact.
In the context of agricultural extension, a campaign is one of the methods of extension which can reach a large number of target beneficiaries in a short time period. To complement and improve programmes of a national agricultural extension service, the SEC method gives special emphasis to the following:
· A campaign is purposive, problem-solving oriented, and focuses on a specific issue or recommended technology.
· Its goals are consistent with, and guided by, the overall agricultural development policies and extension programme objectives.
· Campaign objectives are specific and formulated based on intended beneficiaries' felt needs and problems identified through a baseline survey of their knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) vis-a-vis the recommended technology.
· A specific campaign strategy is developed with the aim of solving problems that caused nonadoption, or inappropriate or discontinued practice, of the recommended technology.
· A strategic planning approach is applied in the process of target audience segmentation, multi media selection, message/information positioning and design, and extension/training materials pack aging, development, and production, with a view to obtaining maximum output-impact with the least effort, time, and resources.
· Formative evaluation in the form of field pretesting of prototype multimedia campaign materials is conducted before they are mass produced.
· A comprehensive and detailed campaign management plan is an integral and vital part of the SEC process. It will not only spell out the implementation procedures and requirements, but will also be used to develop a management information system, including monitoring and supervision procedures.
· Special briefing and training for all personnel who are involved in SEC activities must be undertaken to ensure that they understand their specific tasks and responsibilities and have the necessary skills and support materials to perform such tasks effectively.
· Process documentation and summative evaluation on SEC implementation and impact are conducted, and those results are used to improve its ongoing performance (through Management Monitoring Survey) and to determine SEC's results and over all effectiveness (through Information Recall and Impact Survey, Focus Group Interviews, etc.), as well as to draw lessons learned from such experiences for future replications.
FIGURE 2-1 - Conceptual Framework for Extension Campaign Planning: 10 Operational Phases
FIGURE 2-2 - Implementation Steps for Strategic Extension Campaign & Personnel Training
Integrated Process and Systems Approach
The conceptual framework of the strategic extension campaign (SEC) follows a generic model originally proposed by Adhikarya (1978) and described in detail in several of the author's other publications (Adhikarya, 1994; Adhikarya & Posamentier, 1987). The SEC programme planning framework and process are outlined in Figure 1, where all ten operational phases include participatory approach activities by soliciting relevant "feed-forward" and feedback from target beneficiaries. The SEC method advocates carrying out extension activities in a systematic, sequential, and process-oriented manner, rather than on an ad hoc basis. It is a planned extension programme with interrelated activities to be carried out following a management implementation plan by well-trained personnel within a given time schedule.
Staff Training as an Integral Part of SEC
Applying such a systems approach points out the need to train staff to master the whole extension process, rather than only some elements of the process or part of the activities. Thus, as can be seen in Figure 2, the suggested procedures in implementing a strategic extension campaign include training activities (through skills-oriented workshops) related to the operational phases or implementation steps which follow closely the conceptual framework and process.
It is, therefore, imperative that in the process of introducing or replicating the SEC method in a country, training a national group of extension planners, managers and trainers, subject-matter specialists, communication support staff, and field extension officers on relevant SEC methods and techniques must be an integral part of the SEC programme planning and implementation. Significantly higher cost and a longer time are required for the initial implementation of SEC activities, but such an investment in human resources development is perhaps one of the most cost-effective inputs which could significantly contribute towards institutionalization of an SEC approach in improving and strengthening a national agricultural extension system and service.
KAP Surveys, Evaluation Studies, and Followup Actions
In addition, operations research such as baseline Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice (KAP) surveys and other means of formative and summative evaluation must be built in to the extension process, programme, and methodology. The most vital part of the process is the actual field action and implementation activities which will be required for the preparation and followup of strategic extension campaign training and operations research activities. On the basis of the conceptual framework presented in Figure 1, we can identify three different but interrelated activity components and implementation steps which are part of the ten operational phases. These components, as shown in Figure 3, have various types of activities which are conducted in a process-wise sequence, as indicated by the various implementation steps (Figure 2).
Participatory Method of Planning and Implementation
The SEC method relies heavily on the participation of those who are involved in campaign activities, including campaign staff as well as target beneficiaries, in providing relevant inputs or suggestions throughout the campaign process. By so doing, SEC activities are more likely to address relevant problems and issues, as well as to provide practical solutions which are based on target beneficiaries' needs. Not only should the intended beneficiaries of a campaign be consulted, but potential campaign implementors such as concerned field staff, trainers, and community leaders should also be involved and given a role to play in different aspects of campaign planning, implementation, and management.
Through a careful and systematic method of soliciting fairly specific ideas and suggestions from a sample of concerned groups of people involved in SEC activities, a useful campaign map can be drawn to determine its direction, strategy, types of message contents, training needs, and field implementations requirements. A problem-solving and demand-driven strategic extension campaign also needs relevant "feed-forward" information from its intended beneficiaries and concerned campaign personnel. It is thus imperative that a participatory oriented method of planning be applied to ensure a needs-based extension campaign which can realistically be implemented and provide benefits to its intended clientele.
Planning is defined as a process of identifying or defining problems, formulating goals, thinking of ways to accomplish goals, and measuring progress towards goal achievements (Middleton & Hsu Lin, 1975). 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 defined as the best possible use of available resources (i.e., time, funds, and staff) to achieve the greatest returns (i.e., outcome, results, or impact). A strategic extension campaign plan should provide specific guidelines and directions in developing and making information, education, and communication activities operational. It must be constantly reviewed, especially at the implementation stage. Modification of the plan may be required because of specific local conditions and problems or alteration of the policies or objectives which guided the original plan. The plan should be flexible and ready for necessary modification as suggested by feedback results (e.g., through process and formative evaluation, including pretesting) in order to improve the strategy or management of campaign activities.
The process of developing a strategic extension plan can be divided into two major parts: strategy development planning and management planning. To provide a systematic approach in developing a strategic extension campaign plan, a generic conceptual framework (see Adhikarya, 1994; Adhikarya & Posementeir, 1987) is suggested based on a ten-phase circular model (Figure 1). The suggested process of developing a strategic extension campaign plan is described below, adapted from the ten phases of the conceptual framework originally proposed by Adhikarya (1978):
Part I: Campaign Strategy Development Planning
Technology and problems identification and information needs assessment
Campaign objectives formulation
Strategy development and information positioning
Audience analysis and segmentation
Message design, development, pretesting, and materials production
Formative evaluation should be a component in all of these phases, especially in phases 4 to 6. Formative evaluation in this context means the process of testing the suitability, appropriateness, or effectiveness of the campaign strategy and plan, including its multimedia 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 an extension campaign planner shifts from strategy development to management planning which includes the following phases:
Part II: Campaign Management Planning
Training of personnel
Process documentation and summative evaluation
These four phases 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 the 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.
KAP Survey as a Key Feature in SEC
Because the strategic extension campaign (SEC) method follows a participatory and demand-driven or needs-based approach, target beneficiaries need to be consulted in the process of identifying problems and needs regarding their requirements or acceptability of a given technology. While problem identification methods such as Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and other macrolevel studies can provide good contextual information, a more specific and focused method of obtaining qualitative information and quantitative data should also be considered. A suggested procedure for conducting a participatory assessment of problems and needs is through a baseline survey of target beneficiaries' knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) on specific and critical elements of a recommended technology. The KAP survey is problem-solving oriented and operates at a microlevel, with a focus on determining the knowledge, attitudes, and practice levels of target audiences vis-a-vis the critical elements of a given technology recommendation. The KAP survey seeks qualitative information from respondents, through focus group interviews, on the reasons and causes of their negative attitudes and nonadoption or inappropriate practice with regards to recommended technologies. KAP survey results are very useful for campaign objectives formulation and strategy development.
Results of a KAP survey can be used to analyse which specific elements of the technology package are not known to the majority of target beneficiaries, what are the reasons for their negative attitudes, how and why they have practised recommended technologies inappropriately, etc. KAP survey results can also be used for audience analysis and segmentation purposes to determine who needs which types of information through what combination of multimedia materials and channels. In addition, relevant findings from surveys on media consumption patterns and habits, media availability and reach, and other sociopsychological and anthropological research are useful inputs to the exercise of extension strategy planning and message development.
Experiences from various SEC applications have generated some important and useful lessons for increasing the effectiveness of agricultural extension systems and programmes. Details of the lessons learned are presented in Adhikarya and Posamentier (1987) and Adhikarya (1994). The main lessons are summarized below. A strategic extension campaign:
· Enhances the agricultural extension planning process
· Builds cadres of extension programme planners and trainers
· Helps in improving extension linkage with research
· Is needed most by small, resource-poor farmers
· Helps in improving extension linkage with training
· Reduces extension system's workload and increases its coverage
· Encourages partnership with, and participation of, community-based organizations
· Helps revitalize extension workers' professionalism
· Shows that extension programmes can be strategically planned, efficiently managed, and systematically monitored and evaluated
· Can contribute to improving and strengthening agricultural extension systems and programmes
Adhikarya, R. (1994). Strategic extension campaign: A participatory-oriented method of agricultural extension. Rome: FAO/United Nations.
Adhikarya, R. (1985). Planning and development of rat control campaign objectives and strategies for the state of Penang, Malaysia. A summary report of a workshop on multimedia campaign planning for integrated pest control, organized by FAO/United Nations (projects GCP/RAS/101/NET and GCP/RAS/092/AUL).
Adhikarya, R. (1978). Guideline proposal for a communication support component in transmigration projects. A consultancy report prepared for FAO/United Nations (project 6/INS/01/T). Rome: FAO.
Adhikarya, R., & Middleton, J. (1979). Communication planning at the institutional level: A selected annotated bibliography. Honolulu, Hawaii: East-West Communication Institute, the East-West Center.
Adhikarya, R., & Posamentier, H. (1987). Motivating farmers for action: How strategic multi-media campaigns can help. Eschborn, Frankfurt, Germany: GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit).
Middleton, J., & Hsu Lin, Y. (1975). Planning communication for family planning. Honolulu, Hawaii: East-West Communication Institute, the East West Center.