GFRAS Update January 2021



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Dear GFRAS affiliates,

In this issue, we report activities from the GFRAS apex, regional networks, country fora, and strategic partners:

  • Registrations open for the upcoming webinar series on "Mental Health & Agriculture", organized by GFRAS and the University of Florida;
  • The North American Agricultural Advisory Network (NAAAN) is officially launched, the newest of the GFRAS-affiliated regional networks;
  • RELASER releases 12 best-practice notes on innovative experiences of rural extension in response to emergencies in Latin America;
  • GFRAS, YPARD, and Thought for Food come together in a multi-year partnership to support youth engagement in the food and agricultural sector;
  • The e-Extension NELK Module is being finalized - watch the teaser video in this edition!
  • AESA: the customisation of selected NELK modules in Bangladesh, and an Editor Talk Series with editors of high impact journals in social sciences;
  • The 2021-2025 GFRAS Operational Plan starts activities for a new period.

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Register now for the GFRAS webinar series on "Mental Health & Agriculture"

As a follow-up from the discussions that took place during the 2020 GAM, GFRAS and the IFAS Extension of the University of Florida, are organising a webinar series on "Mental Health & Agriculture". Currently, three webinars are scheduled. They will take place on March 5, 12, and 19, from 14.00-16.00 CET.

This series will discuss what is contributing to mental health issues in agriculture, present examples of protective and detrimental policies, how to reach out to provide successful interventions to agricultural populations, and showcase best-practice examples from the GFRAS Network.

Dr. Heidi Radunovich, Associate Professor & Extension Program Director for University of Florida Engagement Human Development, and Terasa Younker, M.A., Research Associate and Study Coordinator for the University of Florida, will lead the discussions.

Register for free here, and access the promotional flyer here.

GFRAS Welcomes the North American Agricultural Advisory Network (NAAAN)

GFRAS welcomes its newest affiliate regional network! NAAAN aims at improving the quality of advisory services in North America by supporting efforts to promote innovation, knowledge utilization and information
sharing across rural and urban landscapes to increase access and best practices in agricultural production across the continent. As an affiliate of GFRAS, NAAAN links agricultural extension communities of practice (and related stakeholders) in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. with each other and with their counterparts in other countries across the globe.

The NAAAN will provide a forum for discussion of agricultural extension across North America, and within each of the North American countries themselves, build and expand relationships, shared learning and shared programming between Canadian, Mexico and U.S. agricultural extension programs, provide much-expanded access for the North American community of practice to experiences and lessons learned from across the world (in-person, virtual, and in written form), expand the opportunities for agricultural extension practitioners around the world (and stakeholders) to have more exposure to the North American experience; and develop and advocate for policy positions regarding agricultural extension in member countries.

The NAAAN Secretariat is hosted in the Denver-based Office of the Chancellor of Colorado State University System and will eventually be housed (2022) at the new CSU Spur Campus. More information is available here.

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Emergency response in Latin America: 12 best-practice notes released by RELASER

Through twelve wonderful practices, the Red Latinoamericana para Servicios de Extensión Rural (RELASER) identified programs, platforms and tools that allow us to see an overview of how Rural Extension helps farmers and various actors in the chain to face the impact of different types of emergencies, with a special focus in Latin America.

These stories have been compiled and presented on the RELASER website, sharing tools, initiatives and best-practices from a variety of countries in the region. The material is available for free, in Spanish, here.

GFRAS, YPARD, and Thought for Food (TFF): Joint efforts to support youth engagement in the food sector

In this partnership, TFF will pair its expertise in next-gen-led innovation and startup acceleration with YPARD and GFRAS’s communities focused on agriculture development, digital agronomy, and extension. Through cross-promotion of programs and activities, sharing of mentor networks and training resources, and joined policy advocacy initiatives, these organizations aim to provide young people around the world with the tools and resources they need to lead and shape more sustainable food systems.

Leveraging the TFF Digital Labs™ platform – a first-of-its-kind digital space for food and agricultural  innovation, collaboration and acceleration – the partners will elevate digital mentorship opportunities for young professionals. The platform will include a matchmaking ability that pairs a large database of mentors and experts with talents in a variety of areas.


AESA supports the customisation of NELK Modules in Bangladesh, and promotes an Editor Talk Series

Bangladesh Agricultural Extension Network (BAEN) and Agricultural Extension in South Asia (AESA) jointly organised two workshops at Dhaka, Bangladesh to help customise the GFRAS-NELK Module on Facilitation for Development to the Bangladesh Context. Fifteen in-country trainers participated in these two workshops held on 26 September 2020 and 28 November 2020. The customised module will be available by early February 2021.

AESA also co-organised an Editor Talk Series, with Editors of High Impact Journals in Social Sciences in July 2020. Dr. Val Snow and Dr. Kristin Davis, Editors-in-Chief of Agricultural Systems, and Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, respectively, spoke in this series. This was organized in collaboration with ICAR-Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (ICAR-CTCRI), National Institute for Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE), and Centre for Research on Innovation and Science Policy (CRISP).

The GFRAS' 2021-2025 Operational Plan kicks off and promotes a new focus area

Network strengthening has been defined as the new, fourth focal area for GFRAS' 2021-2025 Operational Plan. In addition to the already existing areas of Advocacy, Professionalisation, and Network Strengthening, GFRAS is also working, at the global level, to support the increase of financial and human resources within its regional and sub-regional networks, the increase of knowledge and skills among network members, support the assessment of achievements and drawing of lessons learned through systematic monitoring and evaluation systems, and support improved network set-ups.

A summary version of the Operational Plan is available here.


With kind regards,

GFRAS Secretariat
January 2021

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Who is who in RAS

Thought for Food

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Thought For Food is a leader in next-gen innovation and startup acceleration for food and agriculture.

TFF offers a truly-unique innovation engine that is powered by the TFF Challenge programs, a growing TFF Community of young talents from across the globe, and a collaboration platform in the shape of the TFF Digital Labs.

TFF engages next-gen innovators in every part of the world and catalyse them to create new ideas and solutions. They also provide connections to peers and experts, as well as cutting-edge resources and learning experiences that empower them with the mindsets, skills and networks they need to lead and succeed.

Online Events


The Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) project, in collaboration with is organising a discussion on "Fighting Desert Locust Together": to Beat the Locust We Need Global Collaboration & Farmer-First Innovation. How Can We Work Together To Enable Change & Lasting Prosperity?

Scientists, development professionals, policymakers, and others are working on innovative solutions to prevent future desert locust attacks and support better monitoring and response.

Join this webinar taking place on February 3rd, 8.00 - 9.30 EST, to learn about these innovative approaches to fight the desert locust.

Registration is available here.


Global Good Practice Note 15: Social Media for Rural Advisory Services

Social media refers to the web-based tools and media that allow users to personally and informally interact, create, share, retrieve, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.

Rural advisory services (RAS) have seen enormous changes in the 21st Century that require interaction among multiple stakeholders ‒ public, private, and non-profit – and learning to take collective action. These services have been called upon to be less ‘top-down’ and more interactive, and social media can be a potentially powerful tool in this regard.

With increasing reach among rural people, especially the youth, through increasing mobile phone subscriptions and decreasing data tariffs, social media can help RAS to reach farmers more efficiently. The high level of user engagement in social media also makes it one of the most participatory mediums of extension. This makes the sharing of data, information, and knowledge faster, easier, and more cost-effective, while at the same time enabling collaboration and demand-based RAS.

Read more

New Extensionist Learning Kit Upcoming Module on e-Extension

With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, many agricultural extension professionals around the world quickly adjusted their practices to avoid travel and accommodate physical distancing requirements. Many have grappled with the problem of transitioning from the delivery of physical face-to-face activities to the effective delivery of activities online. Dr. John James presents an overview of how this upcoming module can support your work.

Take the opportunity to review your skills and learn new ones. You can register here.


Watch the video


Options to Include Youth in Private Sector Extension and Advisory Services in Rwanda and Uganda

Engaging young agripreneurs in private sector extension and advisory services (EAS) is critical for livelihoods in rural areas where millions of youth are unemployed and face many barriers to entry into agriculture. The Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity (DLEC) undertook a study (available as a full report and executive summary) to understand how to better engage youth in agriculture through EAS and the private sector in Rwanda and Uganda.

As part of this study, DLEC developed videos showcasing the voices of youth entrepreneurs, as well as summarizing findings and recommendations. DLEC also organized a webinar showcasing the study; the recording is available here.  DLEC also published a short blog about the study and additional blogs summarizing the Rwanda and Uganda findings.





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