Overview of GFRAS Work Plan 2015-2016

GFRAS engages with a wide range of RAS stakeholders, and its vision is to promote effective advisory services that contribute to the reduction of hunger and poverty worldwide. Its mission is to provide advocacy and leadership in the provision of pluralistic, demand-driven agricultural advisory services, and in so doing, make significant contributions to the global development agenda. GFRAS intends to be a global one-stop shop for information and knowledge about RAS, the “go-to” place for public and private organizations wanting to support farmers through rural advisory services.  To achieve its vision and mission, GFRAS works through the three functions below.                                                 

  1. Providing a voice within global policy dialogues and promoting improved investment in rural advisory services (RAS)
  2. Supporting the development and synthesis of evidence-based approaches and policies for improving the effectiveness of RAS
  3. Strengthening actors and fora in RAS through facilitating interaction and networking

To reinforce and amplify its work, GFRAS will give emphasis in 2015-2016 to functions 2 and 3, to fill the gap that exists between knowing about potentially effective advisory services approaches and identifying the “best-fit” practices that should be deployed under specific circumstances, and strengthening capacity of individuals at national and regional level. 

Renewal of GFRAS Strategic Framework (2016-2020)

GFRAS has completed its first five years of operation. The GFRAS steering committee has mandated the secretariat to lead the process to renew the 5-year strategic framework during 2015. In the past five years, there has been evolution in the external environment in which GFRAS acts, in its constituency, and their needs. This process coincides with the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and global dialogue on sustainable development goals (SDGs).  Thus the time is ripe to review, rethink, and potentially adapt the strategic framework for the coming five years. The elaboration and consultation process for the new strategic framework will take place between November 2014 and December 2015, with the validation of the new framework in September/October 2015 at the 6th GFRAS Annual Meeting in Kyrgyzstan.

Global Good Practices Initiative – for Better Extension

Much knowledge and practical know-how on extension are available today, ranging from new concepts on roles and responsibilities in extension to novel approaches and methodologies for implementation. However, this useful information often scattered and presented in complex academic language. It is usually not suited to the needs and time-constraints of most practitioners. Finally, it is not standardized in a format that allows easy comparison of approaches. The Global Good Practices Initiative aims to bridge this gap by providing information about extension approaches and methods in easy-to-understand, standardized formats. The initiative was started with a planning grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2014 GIZ provided funds to start some good practices examples: on farmer field schools, innovation platforms, and mobile-based bundled services. In 2015, potential topics include:

  •        When and how to use ICT in RAS
  •        Using RAS to deliver nutrition messages
  •        Role of producer organisations in RAS
  •        Extension paradigms – an introduction for “dummies”
  •        Public-private partnerships in RAS
  •        Increasing the role of women extension agents

Policy Compendium and Working Group Activities

As a result of a survey in 2013 regarding the needs of RAS for policy, the “Policy Compendium” was launched in collaboration with MEAS. The first articles were discussed at a side event of the 5th GFRAS Annual Meeting in Argentina. Articles will continue to be developed. In addition, the policy working group will support regional and national policy dialogues in collaboration with partners. They will also work with the Consortium on Extension Education and Training to conduct training for policy advocacy at regional and national level.

The ‘New Extensionist’ and Consortium on Extension Education and Training

The ‘New Extensionist’ position paper clarifies roles, actors, and modes of working of extension and advisory services at the individual, organisational, and system level, focusing on the capacities needed to play an effective role in agricultural innovation systems. In 2015 the Consortium will work on some proposals for research activities; develop briefs on using massive open online curricula for extension training and core competencies for extension; and develop learning materials for the ‘New Extensionist’ that will be made available online.

Evaluation Initiative: Outcomes of Extension Reform

In 2015 the evaluation team will complete an evaluation of Brazil’s extension reforms. GFRAS, FAO, RELASER, MEAS, and other partners will develop learning materials for regional and national level actors to conduct evaluations and assessments, and trainings will commence.

Networking and Experience Sharing

  •        Reaching the Millions with SDC – Hanoi, March 2-7, 2015
  •        AFAAS Extension Week October 5-11, 2015
  •        GFRAS Annual Meeting in Kyrgyzstan 2015
  •        RELASER Annual Meeting 2015
  •        GCARD III 2015, in Africa
  •        Global Conference on Women in Agriculture 2015

Other regional meetings will take place in the Pacific, Caribbean, Near East, and South Asia. Regional networks are supporting national country forums, which have activites as well.

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