Farmers Academy (FA) © is not necessarily a physical structure but a successful approach adapted to yield high benefits for hardly literate villagers within a short period of time and without considerable external inputs.
Based on adult education principles from Freire, Timmel, Hope, Dörner, Vester, applying lessons from multi-sensual learning, FA does not try to bother semi-literate villagers with science and theories or stress them in classrooms
Some principles of the Farmers Academy are
- LEISA, Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture, meaning utilize locally available resources for training and at the farm
- More than 50% of the participants are women
Farmer practicing ox-driven conservation ripping in sunhemp mulched field
- Participants are invited as twin-teams supporting each other after the training
- Practice, every skill will be practiced by every participant, including trainers.
- Not more than 20% theory
- Comprehensive systems, every necessary skill will be learned by doing and all equipment will be sourced as part of the training
Participants building A-frames from self-sourced material
- Training of trainers, every participant is obliged to train some neighbors later and gets adult education skills through practice in the training
- Training of trainers and farmers together. Academic trainers provide and understand scientific back-grounds, but farmers are necessary to show trainers the extent of understanding and give feed-back whether methods work in real farm-life.
- Real situations as near as possible at the farmer’s situation or at one of their fields
- Home-work, every farmer has to practice the methods at home
- Back-up, coaching, every trainer/ lead-farmer or ext. officer coaches a number of farmers individually in their field, to increase the outreach and to prove their ability
- The individual farm visits are used for data collection, consulting in farm-economy and are essential part of the M&E system
- Contribution of work, participants are not paid. Organization of courses and venues as well as catering in villages has to be organized by villagers, every participant has to assist, to exercise the method, to explain the approach and to teach during the training
- Courses are offered in modules complementary to existing skills.
- Economic principles of efficiency are stressed
- Trained participants are taken as assistant trainers in following trainings to screen for the best multipliers and to consolidate their training-skills.
Exemplaric Work Plan for PILOT VILLAGE Farmers Academy Project
Book Courses for your Extension staff and farmers! firstname.lastname@example.org
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Order your own Training manual to support you training agricultural trainers in all details of organic conservation agriculture in dry-lands. The book is structured in modular syllabuses considering each detail for preparation workshop planning and teaching. Of cause, you can also use it to set up your own profitable organic conservation farm
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Dixon Paul was a poor boy when he was trained 1997 in the Farmers academy. He is a lucky farmer now with good yields. His cow produces milk and manure. His profit allowing him to send one daughter to a boarding school, he could build a nice house, has enough money for medicine and his wife can afford to travel and to look after her parents.