Farmers’ Field and Business Schools (FFBS) - CARE
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Farmers’ Field and Business Schools (FFBS)

The Farmers’ Field and Business Schools are a product of the CARE Pathways program and focus on a learning-by-doing approach, putting farmers at the heart of learning and decision-making around new agricultural techniques.

So far, working with FFBS has led to 65% to 75% adoption of improved agricultural techniques among the 50,000 women who are part of the Pathways program.

The strength of the model is that it integrates multiple components – including sustainable agriculture practices, market engagement, gender and equity, food and nutrition security, group empowerment, and monitoring and evaluation – to build the knowledge, skills, and practices of women farmers. Integration also strengthens results across the spectrum of food and nutrition security work.

Communities told us that for them, the pieces of the training are so integrated that they are like a bicycle: Take away any piece, and it won’t work for them.

Some key points about the toolkit are:

  • The training cycle follows the seasonal cycle (before, during, and after), ensuring that learning and other activities are done in real time without requiring extra commitments from already time-constrained women farmers.
  • It builds on existing groups such as VSLAs, producer groups, and self-help groups that already have established social capital and governance mechanisms, and it focuses on the added value of the other Pathways components.
  • It is based on adult learning principles that offer practical lessons through participatory approaches. Farmers can then translate this learning and adapt it into their own fields, creating ownership and sustainability of adoption.
  • Monitoring and evaluation are built into the FFBS, enabling farmers to track progress, costs, and profit and loss and to use this information to make decisions based on their specific circumstances.

Download the Innovation Brief, or take a look at our tools on · Facilitation Skills · Agriculture · Marketing · Gender · Nutrition · Monitoring and Evaluation

You can learn more about how we came up with FFBS and its unique features here. Or read the award-winning case study on the work with gender equality and measuring outcomes on USAID’s Learning Lab.

Resources

FFBS Innovation Brief

This 4 page document highlights the approach and evidence behind CARE's Farmers Field and Business School.

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FFBS: A Pathways Programming Approach

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented in Ghana, Malawi, Bangladesh, India, Mali, and Tanzania, Pathways is designed to improve the food security and livelihood resilience of poor smallholder women farmers and their families.

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FFBS Facilitation Tools

This tool helps build practical skills and helps FFBS facilitators feel informed and confident about their role and ability to facilitate a participatory learning session

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FFBS Agricultural Tools

This session provides an overview of scope and format of FFBS activities to be completed for the agricultural season. This will serve as a basis for incorporating modules for other Pathways components (markets, nutrition, gender, and group empowerment) in the farmer workgroup meetings.

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FFBS Marketing Tools

This tool is to introduce the marketing of farmers produce and to come up with a common marketing vision for the group. The idea is to set the scene for farmer engagement with different market actors.

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FFBS Gender Tools

This tool covers how to introduce spouses to the program and be sure that they understand the program and how they will be encouraged to be involved and to support their spouses.

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FFBS Nutrition Tools

This tool can be adapted for any specific problem that arises from undernutrition. Undernutrition is a multifaceted condition, with a variety of factors that surround agriculture, women’s empowerment, and access to food.

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FFBS Monitoring Tools

This exercise helps farmers of a producer group to discuss which practices they are adopting and the benefits they may be experiencing from such new adoptions.

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Developing Country-Specific Gender Monitoring Indicators for Men and Women

An award-winning case study on our work with gender equality and measuring outcomes.

Read the report on USAID Learning Lab