Jul 18, 2014

Farmer-to-Farmer Stories – The Key to Success

This article is a contribution to a week-long blog carnival on USAID’s John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program. From July 14-18, F2F program partners and American volunteers are sharing their knowledge and experience of providing technical assistance to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses, service providers, and other agriculture sector institutions in developing and transitional countries. This blog carnival aims to capture and share this program experience. You can find all contributions on Agrilinks.

Today is the last day of Agrilink’s Blog Carnival for the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program. Each day this week, stories from nine organizations were released. The stories, experiences, and ideas expressed in these posts came from all over the globe and discussed different technical areas of expertise. There were several sources of these stories: volunteers, local field staff, farmers, business owners, government employees, and more. Although the storytelling and knowledge sharing have been different and unique in their own ways, one thing remains clear: stories from the Farmer-to-Farmer field are valuable and need to be heard.

The very nature of the F2F program fosters deep connections among people from different backgrounds. Volunteers arrive in country and immediately start creating networks, knowing that meeting anyone they can and hearing their stories is the best way to gain a deep understanding of their environments. Local F2F staff connect volunteers not only to their designated host organization but also to other individuals who have information that can benefit volunteers. The farmers or business owners take the information they are passed down and spread it throughout their communities. This knowledge sharing is the real key to Farmer-to-Farmer success.

Many times, international development programs focus their efforts on improving impact numbers and analyzing large data sets to try and make a picture of the program’s results. While this data is a necessary part of program implementation, it cannot tell a story. People tell stories. There are individuals behind every program, and with F2F, we have the unique opportunity of hearing these testimonials to get a real understanding of the valuable day-to-day work that is actually being accomplished.

Storytelling and knowledge sharing is only made possible through the organization of a solid structure. Without structure, this information would get carried away, and the value would be lost. The implementing organizations behind the F2F program create the foundation and structure through which these stories are spread.

Thank you to all the organizations involved in this week’s Blog Carnival for the F2F Program. Through collaborating on events such as this one, the F2F experience can be shared with all to create higher impact, improved knowledge sharing of technical expertise, and increased cultural awareness at home and overseas.  It’s been a pleasure to hear your stories, and I look forward to hearing many more.

As aligned with Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, F2F works to support inclusive agriculture sector growth, facilitate private sector engagement in the agriculture sector, enhance development of local capacity and promote climate-smart development. Volunteer assignments address host-led priorities to expand economic growth that increases incomes and improves access to nutritious food.  Read more articles on this topic on Agrilinks. Also, make sure to subscribe to receive a daily digest in your inbox, for one week only!