RAS policies – evidence and practice
The 5th GFRAS Annual Meeting will take place on 23-26 September 2014 at Savoy Hotel, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The meeting will contribute to thematic exchange on rural advisory services (RAS) and give participants the opportunity to discuss GFRAS strategic directions and functioning. This year’s GFRAS Annual Meeting will foster exchange and learning on evidence-based RAS policies and actions to influence them – an important step towards effective RAS, rural development, and poverty reduction. Learning exchanges will take place in plenary and parallel sessions, group discussions, a share fair, and a field trip (24 September). Side events will occur on 22 and 27 September. The 5th GFRAS Annual Meeting is hosted by the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) and the Latin American Network for Rural Extension Services (RELASER).
Objectives of the meeting
The objectives of the 5th GFRAS Annual Meeting are to:
- Understand purposes, contents, and effects of RAS policies and policy influencing
- Raise the awareness of evidence for policy influencing
- Strengthen RAS fora to engage in partnerships
Interested participants from around the world are welcome to the 5th GFRAS Annual Meeting. Participants are expected from public, private, and civil society sector working in RAS or related fields. To guarantee a participative meeting with a focus on networking and exchange, the number of participants will be limited to approximately 150.
Main agenda items
Thematic component – evidence and practice of RAS policies
Policies affect rural development and frame operations, reforms, and incentives on large scale. Still, RAS is considered in few policies. Several RAS fora have started to influence and develop RAS policies. Exchange and learning on evidence-based RAS policies and actions to influence them is needed to accelerate these processes. The 5th GFRAS Annual Meeting will contribute to fill this gap by discussing:
- Evidence-based RAS policies, their importance, design, and adaptation to contexts;
- Evidence for policy makers, requests in regards to design and content, and sources to access convincing evidence; and
- Policy influencing, related processes, roles, and responsibilities, and attractive ways to package evidence for policy makers.
Functional component – network strengthening through partnerships
GFRAS and other RAS fora engage in partnerships to strengthen networking and mobilise human and financial resources. There is a demand by regional RAS networks to discuss how to enhance coordination and seek incentives to promote actions and results. In reaction, the 5th GFRAS Annual Meeting will focus on partnerships:
- Between and amongst regions;
- With policy makers;
- On financial aspects; and
- With other actors in the agricultural innovation system.
Share fair: New approaches and issues of interest in RAS, progress reporting on GFRAS activities
Participants will have the opportunity to share and discuss their own experience during a share fair. This session will contribute to the creation of links and partnerships between participants and to sharing information. It will help to identify new areas of interest and interaction in RAS. At the share fair, regional and sub-regional RAS fora, GFRAS working groups, and the GFRAS secretariat will present and discuss activities and results generated since the last meeting. Find more information in the call and guidelines for inputs.
RAS for Family Farming
At the 66th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, 2014 was formally declared to be the “International Year of Family Farming”. Family farming is important for food security, agro-biodiversity, economic development, and social protection and well-being. Small-scale family farms comprise the large majority of agriculture worldwide. They are especially important in developing countries and play a key role in any attempt to alleviate poverty. RAS are pivotal in supporting family farming. In the RAS for Family Farming session of the 5th GFRAS Annual Meeting, participants will elaborate a common understanding on the importance of RAS for family farming and identify areas that need to be strengthened so as RAS will have significant positive impact for the future of family farmers and rural development.
Tentative Program (pdf 189KB)
Call for inputs by participants
Apart from group work, participants have four opportunities to actively contribute to the 5th GFRAS Annual Meeting:
- Input in a parallel session about RAS policies – evidence and practice
- Input about network strengthening through partnerships
- Input to the share fair on new approaches, projects, programmes, institutional and organisational arrangements, and policies in RAS
- Side events on regional and sub-regional RAS fora, on-going initiatives and other activities related to RAS
Requirements, selection process, and selection criteria for all inputs are described in detail in the call and guidelines for inputs.
Registration and funding
- Registration opens on 28 April 2014. Participants can register online or, in case of technical problems, by downloading the registration form.
- Sponsored participants are nominated by (sub-)regional RAS fora by 10 June.
- Registration for self-sponsored and nominated participants closes on 18 July.
- Registration of inputs opens on 28 April and closes on 10 June for inputs on RAS policies and partnerships. Applications for share fair contributions and side events must reach the GFRAS secretariat by 18 July.
As noted earlier, the number of participants is limited to approximately 150. In case of a high number of registrations, participants will be selected according to criteria defined by the organising committee. A limited number of participants will be nominated by (sub-) regional RAS fora to be financially supported to attend the 5th GFRAS Annual Meeting. The organising committee will select sponsored participants based on defined criteria.
Logistical and pre-travel information can be found in a separate document.
Announcement (pdf 253KB)
Call for Inputs (pdf 266KB)
Field Trip Description (pdf 978KB)
Concept Note (pdf 268KB)
Christoplos, I, Sandison, P, Chipeta, S (2012). Guide to Evaluating Rural Extension. Lindau: GFRAS. :
GFRAS (2011). Minutes of the 2nd GFRAS Annual Meeting . Lindau: GFRAS.
GFRAS (2013). Report of the GFRAS Policy Meeting. Lindau: GFRAS.
GFRAS (2013). Summarised Results of the Questionnaire on an Extension Policy «Guide ». Lindau: GFRAS.
Pound, B, Gündel, S, Martin, A, and Apenteng, E (2011): Meta-Evaluation of Extension Evaluation. Lindau: GFRAS.
Pye-Smith, C. (2012). Agricultural extension. Linking knowledge to policy and action for food and livelihoods. Wageningen: CTA. Available:
 The organising committee consists of four representatives from regional and sub-regional RAS fora (Maria Isabel Paredes, RELASER, Max Olupot, AFAAS, Stephen Hazelman, APIRAS/PIRAS ; two representatives of INTA as host organisation (Iris Barth, Julio Catullo); and two staff of the GFRAS secretariat (Kristin Davis, executive secretary, Dorothee Lötscher, programme officer)