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1 Introduction

1.1 Purpose

In March 2011, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) commissioned Orbicon A/S to undertake an “Evaluation of the Farmer Field School (FFS) Approach in the Agriculture Sector Programme Support, Phase II (ASPS II), Bangladesh” (the Evaluation).

According to the ToR (Appendix 1), the main purpose of the Evaluation was: “to analyse and document – in a gender perspective – the results and the lessons learned from using the FFS approach in the ASPS II in Bangladesh”.

The Evaluation was expected to ensure documentation on lessons learned and provide inputs for preparation of a third phase of Danish agricultural support to Bangladesh, during which continued support to the FFS approach is being considered. According to the ToR the Evaluation should, in particular, provide information about whether and to which extent the FFS approach is contributing to increased income and food security at household level, as well as to women’s involvement in development processes in Bangladesh.

The Evaluation has been carried out by an independent team of international and Bangladeshi experts; none of the experts had been involved previously with the activities being evaluated.

This report presents the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the Evaluation.

1.2 Scope

The Evaluation has assessed FFS implementation within two ASPS II components: i) the Agricultural Extension Component (AEC); and ii) the Regional Fisheries and Livestock Development Component (RFLDC). A literature study (Annex 3) on experiences from FFS interventions in other countries and from Bangladesh supported by other donors, has been undertaken as part of the Evaluation in order to put experiences with FFS from ASPS II into perspective. It has not been within the scope of this Evaluation to compare FFS with other extension approaches.

In meeting the purpose of the Evaluation, the following focus areas will be emphasised:

  • The training mode for improved production: extent to which the training approach is useful for various types of agricultural and livestock production systems (agriculture, horticulture, poultry, ruminant livestock and aquaculture) in various contexts.
  • Possible effects on access to production inputs and services including credit and marketing: extent to which the group formation under FFS is facilitating access to credit, common procurement and marketing, and future extension services, including access to services from both the public and the private sector.
  • Intra-household relationship: extent to which women’s participation in the training (fully or partly), is influencing the social relationships at household level, including women’s status, their ability and confidence to make decisions and their greater adaptability in the face of challenges and opportunities.
  • Other income generating activities: extent to which group formation within FFS is facilitating other joint income generating activities among the group members.
  • Improved livelihood: extent to which the FFS approach has influenced the livelihood of households: economically and in terms of household nutrition, as well as in terms of resilience to negative changes and ability to take advantage of opportunities.
  • Institutional arrangements: extent to which the funding, monitoring and other institutional arrangements used by the components are appropriate and efficient, and contributing to the success and sustainability of the FFS approach.

The Evaluation included fieldwork within three different geographic locations in Bangladesh: north and northwest Bangladesh, Greater Barisal, and Greater Noakhali. In addition, during the inception mission it was decided to include fieldwork in the Chittagong Foothills, in order to capture experiences from the experimental nature of the FFS approach applied in this area, characterised by its large indigenous population.

The fieldwork was carried out during May 2011. A Stakeholder Validation Workshop, with presentation and discussion of preliminary evaluation findings, was held in Dhaka in September 2011.

1.3 Organisation of the Report

The report is organised as follows:

Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the Evaluation.

Chapter 2 outlines the evaluation methodology and approach.

Chapter 3 provides the relevant background and context for the Evaluation.

Chapter 4 includes a presentation of the key findings from application of the FFS approach within AEC.

Chapter 5 includes a presentation of the key findings from application of the FFS approach within RFLDC.

Chapter 6 presents a comparative assessment of FFS institutional and cost-benefit issues.

Chapter 7 includes a presentation of the conclusions.

Chapter 8 includes a presentation of the lessons learned and recommendations.

The report also includes Appendix 1 (Terms of Reference) and Appendix 2 (Key References).

Additional annexes to the evaluation report can be viewed on the website

Annex 1: Bangladesh context

Annex 2: Methodology and approach

Annex 3: Literature study

Annex 4: Persons interviewed

This page forms part of the publication 'Evaluation of the Farmer Field School Approach in the Agriculture Sector Programme Support Phase II, Bangladesh' as chapter 5 of 14
Version 1.0. 22-12-2011
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