GFRAS-graphic IIRoles, Strategies, and Capacities to Strengthen Extension and Advisory Services

Is today's extension agent a superwoman (or superman)?!

Extension and advisory services (EAS) are expected to do everything now from organise farmer groups to teach on nutrition and health. In today's changing and complex world, what is the role of EAS? And what capabilities are needed to equip EAS to play their role in reducing hunger and poverty worldwide? 

The new extensionist is a global view of extension and advisory services (EAS) that reinvents and clearly articulates the role of EAS in the rapidly-changing rural context. It argues for an expanded role for EAS within agricultural innovation systems (AIS) and development of new capacities at different levels to play this role.

The AIS approach focuses on interactions among the wide range of actors critical for innovation, and the institutions and policies that influence these interactions. EAS include actors from public, private, and civil society sectors who support rural communities in many ways. EAS is an important actor within AIS and plays a major role in enabling innovation.

What is new is not necessarily the competencies needed by individuals, but the expanded role of EAS envisaged here and the focus on organizational and system level capacities. The new extensionist vision implies changes in EAS organisations, systems, and enabling environments, plus reskilling all types of individuals to better contribute to increasing the productivity and effectiveness of agricultural systems to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. 

Are you looking for the  New Extensionist Learning Kit?



The position paper "The New Extensionist" exists in different languages and in a shorter summary version.

The 'New Extensionist' Summary, GFRAS secretariat, 2012

The 'New Extensionist' Summary (Arabic), translated by Mohamed H. Abdel Aal, 2013

icon ppt The 'New Extensionist': A ppt presentation (pptx 1.9MB)

icon pdf GFRAS Consortium Extension Education and Training  (pdf 183KB) 
The Consortium on Extension Education and Training  is a platform for academia in universities and other training institutions, researchers in the field of extension, and/or service providers to various clientele along the agriculture value chain and in need of forms of support in rural livelihoods and wellbeing.



Workshop on Master Trainers and Trainer of Trainers Approach, Pretoria, December 2018

Writeshop New Extensionist Core Competencies Learning Materials, Pretoria June 2016

icon pdf Summary (pdf  2.3 MB)

Workshop Pretoria March 2013

icon pdf Short brief outcomes Pretoria (pdf 141KB)

icon pdf New Extensionist Workshop Report Pretoria March2013 (pdf 941KB)

icon ppt Universities' Consortium on Extension and Advisory Services (ppt 1.4MB)

E-discussion March 2013

icon pdf Final e-discussion report (pdf 484KB)

icon pdf Regional e-discussions summary (pdf 512KB)

icon pdf E-discussion summary at the end of week 2 (pdf 286KB)

icon target Read the comments and proposals from the e-discussion in 2013

E-discussion September 2012

icon pdf 2 page summary of the position paper (pdf 55KB) that was the starting point for the e-discussion. This document has been revised since.

icon pdf Survey and e-discussion report (pdf 1MB)

icon target Read the comments and proposals from the e-discussion in 2012 

GCARD2 Session C3.2 Innovative Knowledge and Advisory Services

icon pdf Briefing for Sub-session C.3.2: Making Use of Knowledge and Advisory Systems (pdf 219KB)

icon pdf Report on the GCARD Sub-session C.3.2 (pdf 269KB)


icon pdf Introduction (pdf 1.2MB)

icon pdf Overview: The New Extensionist (pdf 830KB)

icon pdf Strengthening Capacity of National Agricultural Advisory Services Multi-stakeholder Platforms: The AFAAS Country Fora (pdf 1.2MB)

icon pdf Strengthening regional capacity for joint action in Research, Extension and Innovation (pdf 291KB)

icon pdf Strengthening Global Capacities for Effective Knowledge and Advisory Services (pdf 5.1MB)

icon pdf Capacity Examples at National and Inter-regional Level (pdf 19.2MB)

New Extensionist Learning Kit

New Extensionist Learning Kit

The New Extensionist Learning Kit is a learning resource for individual extension field staff, managers, and lecturers. It contains 13 modules that have been identified by the GFRAS Consortium on Extension Education and Training as core competencies for individual extension agents. The kit focuses on functional skills and will be available for self-directed, face-to-face, or blended learning towards the end of 2016.

Access the modules of the New Extensionist Learning Kit as downloadable documents or as online e-learning courses.

Following a meeting of experts in the GFRAS Consortium on Extension Education and Training, GFRAS started to develop an introductory module to the New Extensionist.  This is the first part of a “learning kit” targeted at field staff, managers, and lecturers. The aim of the kit is to produce or equip an extension professional who can effectively interact and work with all the different actors within the agricultural innovation system with an ultimate aim of benefiting producers and related actors. While the contents of the learning kit will be primarily aimed at self-directed learners, it is also suitable for use in face-to-face settings. The materials can also be downloaded and used for face-to-face and blended learning (a combination of self-directed and face-to-face learning). The learning kit can help to top up the knowledge of existing professionals, but also be taken up by learning institutions for foundational course material for certificates or degrees. 

The kit uses the Kolb learning process (Kolb and Fry 1975; Fry and Kolb 1979). It provides users with information and clear instructions on how to go about their own learning by reading, reflecting on their own experience, drawing conclusions, and identifying applications as defined by the Experiential Learning Cycle Approach. This learning approach is based on experiential learning theory (Kolb & Fry 1975) and is participatory by design. It is a learner-centred approach involving active experience followed by a process of reviewing, reflecting, and applying what has been learned through the experience.

The learners targeted in the New Extensionist Learning Kit include a wide range of people, such as

  • Current and incoming students in agriculture and extension
  • Animal and crop science degree holders who are employed as extensionists but have no training in extension
  • Extension professionals in the field who would like to upgrade their skills or gain new knowledge
  • Others who would like to increase their competencies in the offered modules

icon target Read a blog on the development of the learning kit by Hlami Ngwenya.