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Capacities required and how developed

The main qualifications to become a CDF are: profound knowledge of agriculture, natural resource management and community development; experience in facilitating participatory, bottom-up development processes with farmer groups; and enthusiasm for fieldwork and confidence in farmers’ capabilities to lead development processes.

Over a six-month period, including practical fieldwork, ERI trainers hired by supporting NGOs build the CDFs’ capacities in all ERI modules and in the facilitation skills needed for working with farmer groups. In individual mentoring sessions, CDFs receive tailor-made refresher training and are accompanied in the field during their work with farmer groups.

The costs of hiring and availability of ERI trainers varies with their experience and current form of employment. New ERI trainers are sourced by gradually engaging motivated CDFs in training activities within ongoing projects until they have the necessary skills and experience.


ERI can be implemented on different scales, varying from small projects in local organisations to large regional programmes. The stakeholders involved vary with the set-up of projects as designed by supporting NGOs. Typical stakeholders in earlier or on-going ERI projects in East Africa and their roles in governance are described in Table 1.

Stakeholders Role in governance of ERI activities
Farmer groups
  • Actively engage in ERI activities and participate in training and mentoring sessions
  • Organise themselves as a group and build committees for farmer participatory research, participatory market research and PM&E
  • Develop a group vision, work towards achieving their short- and long-term objectives and monitor progress
  • Continuously collect up-to-date market information (e.g. by inquiring prices from traders) and inform their group
  • Conduct experiments on crop and/or animal husbandry and give feedback to their group
  • Develop several enterprises for food security and marketing
Implementing partners (NGOs, community-based organisations or farmer district associations)
  • Plan field activities together with supporting NGOs and funders
  • Employ a team of CDFs who facilitate learning processes in farmer groups and mentor them according to needs
  • Develop own ERI capacities through participation in training
  • Organise exposure visits and field days together with participating farmer groups
  • Monitor progress of farmer groups in applying the approach
Supporting NGOs
  • Maintain pool of trainers with long-term experience in applying the approach
  • Organise training, mentoring and reflection meetings to build capacities of CDFs in implementing partners
  • Monitor and evaluate ERI activities of implementing partners
  • Guide implementing partners in planning and implementing ERI field activities
  • Provide funding for implementing partners