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The Empowerment Route to Well-being: An Analysis of Farmer Field Schools in East Africa


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  • Friis-Hansen, Esbern
  • Duveskog, Deborah
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    The study explores empowerment and well-being related outcomes of Farmer Field Schools (FFS), an extension approach that has gained popularity with agriculture development programs in many African countries. This is done by examining the empirical relationships between FFS participation and increased well-being; as well as FFS participation and empowerment; and finally between empowerment and enhanced well-being. Data analysis from the two thousand household questionnaires show a relationship between these aspects, despite contextual differences in the three countries studied. It is thereby argued that there could be scope to talk about an empowerment route to well-being. The paper further suggests that the most significant impact of FFS could be viewed in terms of building the capacity of local people to make choices and make decisions that ultimately lead to increased uptake of agricultural innovations, access to services, and market access as well as collective action. A major conclusion of the study is that agricultural development programs should focus more on processes of empowering farmers as opposed to technical solutions that characterize most programs, in order to create an appropriate mix of technological and social advancement for a development process that is sustainable in nature.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

    Volume (Year): 40 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 414-427

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:40:y:2012:i:2:p:414-427

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    Keywords: Farmer Field Schools; empowerment; poverty; well-being; East Africa; agricultural extension;


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    1. Deepa Narayan, 2005. "Measuring Empowerment : Cross Disciplinary Perspectives," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7441, October.
    2. Van den Berg, Henk & Jiggins, Janice, 2007. "Investing in Farmers--The Impacts of Farmer Field Schools in Relation to Integrated Pest Management," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 663-686, April.
    3. Anderson, Jock R. & Feder, Gershon & Ganguly, Sushma, 2006. "The rise and fall of training and visit extension : an Asian mini-drama with an African epilogue," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3928, The World Bank.
    4. Umali-Deininger, Dina, 1997. "Public and Private Agricultural Extension: Partners or Rivals?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 12(2), pages 203-24, August.
    5. Davis, K. & Nkonya, E. & Kato, E. & Mekonnen, D.A. & Odendo, M. & Miiro, R. & Nkuba, J., 2012. "Impact of Farmer Field Schools on Agricultural Productivity and Poverty in East Africa," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 402-413.
    6. Alsop, Ruth & Heinsohn, Nina, 2005. "Measuring empowerment in practice: structuring analysis and framing indicators," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3510, The World Bank.
    7. Kristjanson, P. & Place, F. & Franzel, S. & Thornton, P. K., 2002. "Assessing research impact on poverty: the importance of farmers' perspectives," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 73-92, April.
    8. Deepa Narayan & Robert Chambers & Meera K. Shah & Patti Petesch, 2000. "Voices of the Poor : Crying Out for Change," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13848, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Shames, Seth & Bernier, Quinn & Masiga, Moses, 2013. "Development of a participatory action research approach for four agricultural carbon projects in east Africa:," CAPRi working papers, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 113, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Tambo, Justice A. & Wünscher, Tobias, 2014. "Building farmers’ capacity for innovation generation: what are the determining factors?," 88th Annual Conference, April 9-11, 2014, AgroParisTech, Paris, France, Agricultural Economics Society 170351, Agricultural Economics Society.
    3. B. Bala & S. Majumder & S. Altaf Hossain & M. Haque & M. Hossain, 2013. "Exploring development strategies of agricultural systems of Hill Tracts of Chittagong in Bangladesh," Environment, Development and Sustainability, Springer, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 949-966, August.
    4. Humphries, Sally & Classen, Lauren & Jiménez, José & Sierra, Fredy & Gallardo, Omar & Gómez, Marvin, 2012. "Opening Cracks for the Transgression of Social Boundaries: An Evaluation of the Gender Impacts of Farmer Research Teams in Honduras," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 2078-2095.


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