Overview of GFRAS Work Plan 2013-2014

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 2013-2014 to objective 2 to filling 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. 

The ‘New Extensionist’ (GFRAS working groups on capacity and policy)

An advocacy activity of GFRAS to clarify the roles, actors, and modes of working of extension at the individual, organisational, and system level, focusing on the capacities needed to play an effective role in agricultural innovation systems. The activity will engage RAS and other actors in the innovation system in a global dialogue and identify capacity strengthening initiatives and partnerships at regional level as part of the GCARD 2012 follow-up. Outputs include a position paper and policy briefs for use by GFRAS regional networks. 

Activities

  • Jan-Feb 2013 – regional e-consultations to prioritise and plan regional levels 
  • March 2013 – global meeting to prioritise and plan global level (Pretoria) 
  • March 2013 – policy meeting for Africa with other regions invited (Pretoria) 
  • March 2013 – extension policy reform workshop (Indonesia) 
  • Policy briefs, guides, and dialogues conducted over the period 

Evaluation Initiative and Help Desk

This initiative will assess the effects of reform efforts in agricultural extension over the past 15-20 years to understand and explain whether and how these efforts have succeeded in promoting the intended improvements. The findings will inform and advance extension practice worldwide and help to guide future investments. An international reference group will be formed to advise regions and countries on evaluation, linked to the Better Evaluation Initiative. Outputs will include country-level reports and policy briefs.

Activities

  • Jan-June 2013 – evaluation of reforms in Brazil
  • Other countries evaluated during the period based on demand

Global Good Practices Initiative, including Nutrition

Initiative to identify and analyse good practices across 5 RAS dimensions (governance structures, policy, capacity and management, advisory methods, and cross-cutting issues). Using a typology based on RAS themes in different country contexts (socio-economic, political, organisational, and ecological), the initiative will systematically document cases of RAS provision to see what approaches worked where and why. It will provide decision support tools to RAS managers, RAS practitioners, educators and trainers, policy makers, and international development institutions. 

Activities

  • Nov 2012-May 2013 – Mapping of home economics and nutrition efforts in extension and advisory services
  • Other good practices assessed in the period, including nutrition

Gender Working Group

The purpose of the working group is to create an effective global voice for commitment to increased gender equality and women’s empowerment through increased access to and participation in RAS. This will be pursued by supporting the GFRAS mission and functions of advocacy with regard to gender equality in rural advisory services

Activities

  • Create a knowledge sharing platform
  • Develop conceptual paper on gender equality in RAS
  • Conduct gender mainstreaming of GFRAS
  • Assist GFRAS regional networks to mainstream gender in their work
  • Develop the ideas of a parallel initiative to AWARD for women extensionists
  • Identify research needs related to gender in RAS
  • Facilitate GFRAS regional networks’ contribution to the next Global Conference on Women in Agriculture (2015

Networking and Experience Sharing

  • August 5-10 2013, Gahorone, Botswana: AFAAS Extension Week
  • September 24-16, 2013, Berlin, Germany: 4th GFRAS Annual Meeting
  • November 2013, Brazil: RELASER Annual Meeting
  • February 2014, Rome: IFAD Farmer Forum, side event on RAS
  • Other regional meetings held in Pacific, Caribbean, Near East, Central Asia, South Asia, Asia

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