Suunary Presentation of FSSP Training Strategy
Prepared by Lisette M. Walecka October, 1985
One of the major objectives of the FSSP is to provide training and
support for training activities in FSR/E methodology. The following is an outline of the general training strategy.
-Goal: To conduct and support effective training programs in FSR/E objectives: 1. Have effective logistical support and facilities
2. Provide useful training materials a. Training Units
b. Project Handbook- Research and Extension c. Slide-tape Modules
d. Case Studies
f. Reports on previous workshops
3. Have appropriate and canpetent trainers
a. Provide a pool of individuals knowledgable in
b. Select appropriate trainers c. Inform trainers about training units and other materials.
4. Ensure the attendance of appropriate participants
These four major objectives of the FSSP training strategy are discussed below.
1. Have effective logistical support and facilities A fundamental part of providing for the successful delivery of an effective training program is having effective logistical support and facilities within which to deliver training. In as much as possible, the logistical support-which the FSSP gives directly to the delivery of a short course should be kept at a minimum. Having the local USAID mission or host government provide logistical support for the program is encouraged and essential for the longer term. Transfering and handling money is often potential a bottleneck when handled in isolation fran the local USAID mission. To establish a regional centers in which to hold short courses,
FSSP has proposed in the African strategy discussion paper regional training centers in Cameroon and The Gambia.
2. Provide useful training materials Training materials are the basis of any training effort and the FSSP has included in its training strategy the development and collection of a variety of training materials. The project is preparing training units addressing specific skills in FSP/E, has produced a number of slide-tape modules which cover a range of topics, has produced a project handbook for
research and extension, has produced and supported work on FSP/E-intrahousehold case studies, has contributed to documentation holdings, has developed annotated bibliographies to support FSP/E training, and keeps reports on previous training activies.
a. Training Units
A collection of training units is being developed by the FSSP to
teach skills in FSP/E. This collection is not a course but rather
is a set of resources which can be used to support course
development. The collection of training units essentially
provides a menu listing a variety of topical information and
learning activities available to the FSR/E trainer. The training
units provide flexibility in course design. The array of
information on FSP/E ranges fram diagnosis to the analysis of
on-farm trials. By picking and choosing the relevant units or
parts of units frcm the collection the trainer will have the
opportunity to provide a wide variety of short courses based on
the needs of the clientel.
b. Project Handbook for Research and Extension
This document is a synthesis of experience and is intended for all
personnel involved in the life of a donor project. It describes the AID donor process fran project development to evaluation and
addresses problems of institutionalization of FSP/E projects.
c. Slide-tape modules
The slide-tape series, including 14 audio sets, is designed to
provide a take-off point for discussions on the stages of FSR/E.
The sets address introduction to FSR/E, characteristics of small farm systems, rapid appraisal techniques, and design and testing
of on-farm trials.
d. Case Studies
The FSSP/Population Council case study project "Intra-Household
Dynamics and Farming Systems Research and Extension" is a series
of case studies designed primarily for the training of
agricultural researchers. The series will also be used to train
other development practitioners and interested students.
Currently, eight case studies are being prepared.
'The FSSP is developing a training case study based on experiences
in the FSR/E project carried out in the extension department of
the Ministry of Agriculture in Paraguay. This case provides a
variety of participant practicums and can be used as the basis for
on-farm design and analysis exercises in a short course.
The project, through a number of documenting efforts, provides information on available documentation relevant to FSP/E. The
Bibliography of Readings in Farming Systems, available in-English,
French, and Spanish, lists an annotated selection of one hundred
key FSR/E documents and is published annually. Bibliographies of French FSP/E materials, Livestock, and Women in Agriculture have
been produced. The bibliography on Livestock is intended as a
resource base for FSR/E practioners in areas where animal traction
is being introduced or where livestock is already an important
part of the farming systems. The bibliography on Women in
Agriculture, and a subsequent annotated bibliography on women in Farming Systems, compliments a larger collection effort underway
at the University of Florida.
f. Reports on previous workshops
Reports of previous workshops including agenda, objectives,
evaluation comments, and materials used are kept on file and can serve as a useful tool for assisting trainers in designing course
outlines. Training workshops have been delivered in English,
French, and Spanish.
3. Have appropriate and competent trainers
The choice of trainers can often make or break a training effort. It is important that appropriate trainers are chosen. Trainers should be fluent in the language of delivery, should be knowlegable in FSR/E, and possess basic skills of training delivery. The FSSP strategy in assuring competency in trainers should include developing a pool of individuals knowledgable in FSP/E, selecting appropriate individuals based on the needs of the training effort, informing trainers about the training units and other training materials, and orienting trainers to the course and country in which the training will be delivered.
a. Providing a pool of individuals knowledgable in FSR/E
The FSSP has a program of domestic training workshops which serve
to increase the pool of personnel knowledgable in FSR/E. Domestic
workshops, attended by FSSP program associates and others in the domestic institutions, address three major topics in FSR/E. The
initial domestic workshop, which is a pre-requiste to the
following two workshops, serves as an introduction to FSP/E
methodology and emphasizes the diagnostic stage. Two additional
workshops address the specifics of the design and analysis of
on-farm trials and management and administration issues in FSR/E.
FSSP designs and delivers the initial workshop on each of the
above mentioned topics, and encourages the participants in these
workshops to deliver follow-up workshops in their own
.institutions. The objective of the FSSP is to have these
workshops delivered on a continuing basis from one or more of the
support institutions (depending on demand). Virginia State
University has responded by offering to host the domestic workshop
on FSR/E orientation in the future.
b. Select appropriate trainers
The FSSP maintains a biodata file from which potential trainers can be located. It is important that trainers be qualified in
FSP/E knowledge, language skill and training skills. As mentioned above, FSSP addresses the issue of developing a potential pool of
individuals knowledgable in FSP/E. FSSP does not provide language
training. The last area mentioned is one of great importance and
FSSP is concerned with providing potential trainers with necessary
training skills. Although it is important to note that this is
not, and cannot be, the main emphasis of the training progra, it
is an important element that has been and must be addressed. FSSP
has provided a "training for trainers" workshop which helped to
develop training skills in potential trainers. This type of
activity should be continued.
c. Inform trainers about training units and other materials
Along with trainer skills development workshops, it is important
that trainers be informed about the training units and other
available materials and their potential uses. The training units
will include a preface statement indicating the suggested uses and philosopy of their development as training materials. A feedback mechanism will be developed to ensure the integration of suggested uses and application of the training units and materials. Toward
this purpose, it may be useful to encourage an idea/technique
sharing workshop for "experienced" FSP/E trainers. Participant
Add-Ons should be encouraged to attend training activities to
increase the "trainer pool" as much as possible. All FSSP
trainers should be required to report back experience and adaptive
3. Ensure the attendance of appropriate trainees
The success of a training effort is often a function of the ability to focus on and respond to the appropriate audience. It is essential that participants have the necessary background to allow for maximum benefit during the workshop. Each participant should be pre-screened for his or her background in FSR/E, and a general information sheet should be filed by each participant to help the trainers focus on their particular audience.
As has been suggested previously, the trainers should make preliminary visits to appropriate locations in order to "market" the training course and target specific audiences. This will involve one-on-one meetings, and it is important that as much information as possible be shared. Before such meetings occur, the FSSP should send course offerings to pools of potential participants. A brochure or flyer will serve this purpose well.
Another way to contact potential participants is through project design and implementatiorr teams. As a fundamental part of the FSSP training strategy; 'echnical assistance in project design should be offered and a FSR/E training element should be included in designs to the degree possible. This is particularly important to ensure a continued FSR/E ccnponent improvement throughout the life of each project. Given current budgetary constraints of the project (see the technical assistance section of the Africa Strategy discussion paper), these activies must be paid for by USAID buy-ins.
The participants should be given every opportunity to pre-plan for
their participation in any workshop and be adequately prepared for their participation. This means that they should be given a copy of the agenda and any required reading materials in advance of the workshop. Participants need approximately two weeks to review the proposed agenda and background reading materials.
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