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close this bookSoil Conservation Techniques for Hillside Farms (Peace Corps, 1986, 96 p.)
close this folderExtension methodology
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentTimetable of events associated with a ''typical'' two year peace corps volunteer service.
View the documentGuidelines for evaluating extension work
View the documentExtension techniques
View the documentWorking with groups

Guidelines for evaluating extension work

1) Guidelines for evaluating soil conservation techniques used: If records are kept, then a comparison of budgets and crop yields can be made (See Appendix 3). This type of record can be very important in convincing farmers or other extensionists to try similar techniques in another area. Records can also be used to evaluate which techniques are most appropriate or which are inappropriate to the area. Remember, however, many of the benefits of using soil conservation techniques are long-term and may not show a dramatic improvement when using short-term observations to evaluate the techniques.

2) Guidelines for evaluating the extension methodology used: Again records should be kept following the growth of a program. This is often measured in terms of number of people or landarea involved in the program. Extensionists should realize that a large program is not necessarily more desirable than a slow starting, steadily growing one. Finding farmers genuinely interested in carrying out soil conservation practices is difficult (especially the first one). It is reasonable to expect slow acceptance of the techniques at first. Each farmer adopting soil conservation techniques may lead to one or two additional farmers adopting the techniques during the next planting season. Assuming two additional highly motivated new collaborators for every current collaborator, the following growth sequence can be generated:


(+2) = 3

(+6) = 9




First planting season

Second planting season

Third planting season

Fourth planting season

Fifth planting season

Sixth planting season

This growth sequence may represent anywhere from two to six years, depending on the climate and the crops involved.

If there is only one planting season per year (an arid zone without irrigation or crops such as coffee, fruit trees), after two years the volunteer is at the point with 3 collaborators. It is important that these 3 people be well trained and highly motivated and that other local extensionists are convinced of the value of the work so that it can keep expanding in the area.

In this case, since such a small number of collaborators are involved, the volunteer should attempt to visit several communities so that each one can initiate this growth sequence of adopting soil conservation techniques at the same time. For example: if this can be carried out in four communities then 12 collaborators rather than only 3, are involved.

If there are two planting seasons per year (moderate climate where a system such as successive corn and bean plantings are practiced), after two years the volunteer may be at the point where 9 or 27 collaborators are involved. If working in 3 separate communities, 27-81 people could be involved. Any of these is enough so that time will be saved teaching in groups. Then teaching groups can be the basis for organizing interested farmers into agricultural committees or cooperatives at a future time. These groups will also form a nucleus of people for future extensionists to visit, reducing much of the time spent in initially getting introduced to a community and discovering interested farmers. This larger involvement also merits bringing in outsiders for field trips to see the variety of work being done and its acceptability to the community. m is helps motivate the innovative farmers, making them feel they are doing something important and worthy of respect, and also motivates the visitors to try the techniques in other areas. At this time, the program can also serve as a model for other extensionist to follow.

If there are three or four planting seasons per year (year round cultivation possible because of climate or availability of irrigation water), after two years the volunteer may be at the point with 27, 81 or 243 collaborators, depending on the speed in getting started Enough collaborators are now involved that the formation of groups is essential if attention is to be given to all, especially if working with more than one community. These large groups can be powerful forces, making it much easier to attract government aid in the form of courses or loans, and in meriting regional or national publicity for soil conservation techniques me area can now serve as a good model for other agricultural extensionists or development agencies. m e group oriented nature may involve changing the work strategy, focusing more on training people in management and organization to stabilize and strengthen the groups, rather than strictly focusing on training in agricultural techniques

From this growth sequence, one can see that even though growth starts very slows if it can be maintained at a steady rate, it is soon growing so fast that one extensionist can hardly keep up with it Essential to the process however, is quality and success, especially in the initial period, in order for the techniques to appear acceptable and attractive to farmers