Home Green/Sustainable Digital Green Partners with Department for International Development (DFID) in Sub-Saharan Africa

Digital Green Partners with Department for International Development (DFID) in Sub-Saharan Africa

About Us

Digital Green is a not for profit international development organization that uses an innovative digital platform for community engagement to improve livelihoods of rural communities across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. We partner with local public, private and civil society organizations to share knowledge on improved agricultural practices, livelihoods, health, and nutrition, using locally produced videos and human mediated dissemination. In a controlled evaluation, the approach was found to be 10 times more cost-effective and uptake of new practices seven times higher compared to traditional extension services.

Till date, we have produced over 2800 videos in more than 20 languages, reached 2,200 villages and over 130,000 farmers. We currently implement projects in eight states in India and in select areas in Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique and Ethiopia in Africa in partnership with over 20 partners.

Our Approach

We engage with and empower rural communities to produce participatory localized videos, leveraging pre-existing group structures to disseminate these videos through human mediation. These videos are of the community, by the community and for the community. The approach includes: (1) a participatory process for video production on improved livelihood practices, (2) a human-mediated learning model for video dissemination and training, (3) a hardware and software technology platform for data management customized to limited or intermittent Internet and electrical grid connectivity, and (4) an iterative model to progressively address the needs and interests of the community with analytical tools and interactive phone-based feedback channels

Our data management software called Connect Online | Connect Offline (COCO) and Analytics dashboard suite customized to low resource settings are used to collect and analyse near real-time data on dissemination, adoption, and community interest.

ETHIOPIA
Ministry of Agriculture, Oxfam America, Sasakawa Africa Association Geography: Three districts (Arsi Negele, Gumer and D. Libanos) in Oromia and Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS) Regions

We are collaborating with Oxfam America (OA) and Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), along with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), to implement a pilot project to use participatory, mediated videos to promote key agricultural behaviors among rural community members. This pilot adapts our approach to the Ethiopian MoA agricultural extension context to reach approximately 1,000 farmer households.

We aim to amplify the effectiveness of government extension systems for agriculture by building the capacity of Ethiopian Development Agents (DAs), Ethiopia’s cadre of agricultural extension officers working in every kabele (clustered village) location, as well as Government-supported Farmer Training Centers (FTCs), also set up in each kabele. By training DAs in our video production and dissemination techniques, and by providing technical operational support of low-cost mediated, instructional video as a method of extension services, we aim to ensure the sustainability of the project.

The key behaviors disseminated through videos relate to locally relevant agronomic practices to help farmers increase productivities and save costs. Videos are being produced by local intermediaries trained in each of the 3 engaged districts on topics such as land management, pest and weed management, harvesting, post-harvest care and market linkages. Existing farmer groups, each consisting of approximately 20 farmers, attend disseminations conducted by trained DAs

International Development Enterprises (iDE)

Geography: 3150 households, 105 villages, seven districts of Rift Valley and Highlands in Oromia region.

We partnered with iDE in 2012 to leverage our approach in two districts of the Rift Valley to gauge its efficacy in communicating good agricultural practices and technologies in the Ethiopian context. The project elicited strong interest and support

from the 335 households in 19 villages participating in the pilot. This encouraged the scaling up and expansion of this approach to enable food security and livelihoods promotion.

The project is operational in seven districts where we provide training and supportive supervision to iDE staff and community intermediaries in project design, introduction of low-cost technologies, capacity building in video production and dissemination, quality assurance and monitoring and evaluation. iDE is primarily responsible for executing activities through their existing network of domain experts and community intermediaries by making use of our standard operating procedures and technology stack to implement the project.

The key behaviors disseminated through videos relate to low-cost irrigation technologies and locally relevant farming practices to help farmers increase productivities and save costs. In Ethiopia, many small-plot farmers cannot afford to irrigate their land and therefore have to rely on rain-fed cereal crops. iDE has developed low-cost irrigation technologies such as rope and washer pump and suction only treadle pumps to support farmers in irrigating their land. iDE employs local community marketing agents (CMAs) in ensuring easy access to these technologies as well as to spread awareness about its benefits and use. To support the CMAs in this, approximately 50 instructional videos on topics such as benefits of rope and washer pump are developed. Existing farmer groups, each constituting of approximately 15-20 farmers attend human mediated screenings of such 8-10 minute long videos conducted by CMAs. Regular adoption verification visits to assess behavior change are also conducted with a target that at least 1500 farmers adopt at least 1 practice successfully through the project.
Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

We have partnered with Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to build the capacity of existing extension personnel within four Sub-Saharan countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania and Mozambique – to amplify the effectiveness of AGRA’s Soil Health Program. The project will integrate videos showcasing farmers who have begun innovating with AGRA-supported blended fertilizer and lime inputs across various staple crops. The project will roll out in 30 different villages, engaging approximately 2,500 farmers. In Ethiopia, our trainers conducted video production and group facilitation trainings for MoA DAs. In Tanzania, our trainers will work with community facilitators engaged with Faida Market Link, an organization working to improve linkages between producers and market value chains.

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

We have partnered with Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to build the
capacity of existing extension personnel within four Sub-Saharan countries –
Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania and Mozambique – to amplify the effectiveness of
AGRA’s Soil Health Program. The project will integrate videos showcasing farmers
who have begun innovating with AGRA-supported blended fertilizer and lime inputs
across various staple crops. The project will roll out in 30 different villages, engaging
approximately 2,500 farmers. In Ethiopia, our trainers conducted video production
and group facilitation trainings for MoA DAs. In Tanzania, our trainers will work with
community facilitators engaged with Faida Market Link, an organization working to
improve linkages between producers and market value chains.

Sasakawa Africa Association – Nutritious Maize for Ethiopia project
Digital Green aims to increase the consumption of protein in 3000 vulnerable
households in the Amhara region by engaging communities with locally relevant
instructional videos on quality protein maize (QPM). By working with Sasakawa
Africa Association within three woredas (districts) in the region, Digital Green will
build the capacities of health extension workers (HEWs) as well as development
agents (DAs) to produce and showcase the videos to farmer groups as well as
health development armies (HDAs). QPM consumption recipes, nutritional
components of the maize crop itself, cultural practices affecting nutritional

Sasakawa Africa Association – Nutritious Maize for Ethiopia project
Digital Green aims to increase the consumption of protein in 3000 vulnerable
households in the Amhara region by engaging communities with locally relevant
instructional videos on quality protein maize (QPM). By working with Sasakawa
Africa Association within three woredas (districts) in the region, Digital Green will
build the capacities of health extension workers (HEWs) as well as development
agents (DAs) to produce and showcase the videos to farmer groups as well as
health development armies (HDAs). QPM consumption recipes, nutritional
components of the maize crop itself, cultural practices affecting nutritional child-feeding, and the best QPM-related agronomic practices are examples of some of the

video topics that will be shared with households to promote healthy diets through the
consumption of QPM. Digital Green aims to integrate agriculture and nutrition-centric
messages into the videos that will be produced for this pilot project. Each of the three
engaged woredas will serve as video production hubs to produce these locally
relevant videos. The videos will be produced by a mixed team of technical health and
agriculture experts and will leverage the strengths of HEWs, HDAs, DAs, and farmer
groups.

Path

Digital Green’s collaboration with PATH will reach approximately 4000 households in
2 districts of Oromia region – Wuchalle and Dodata. Pregnant and lactating mothers
will be targeted through the Ethiopian health development army structures, as well
as pregnant women’s conferences located in each kabele.