October 1, 2021. Traditional extension work, where the extensionist transferred knowledge to the livestock producer so that he/she could adopt new technologies in his/her productive units, in most cases, did not have the expected effect, since the producer was not involved in identifying problems, selecting and testing technological options, as well as evaluating possible solutions.
Given the above scenario, and aware of the need to generate a change in the way of doing extension with livestock producers, the Biodiversity and Sustainable Agro-silvo-pastoral Livestock Landscapes project, known as BioPaSOS, decided to implement the Field Schools methodological approach (ECA/Field Schools) as the main tool in the capacity building processes of producer families, technicians and institutions linked to the project, which is implemented in intervention territories located in the states of Jalisco, Chiapas and Campeche, in Mexico.
In this regard, BioPaSOS recently published the book Methodological Guidelines for the Facilitation of Learning Sessions in Field Schools, which presents 18 methodological guidelines developed by technicians and project partners to support the facilitation of group learning sessions in the context of FFS.
A transcendental aspect of the FFS is that the producers, collectively with the facilitator, identify the problems affecting their production system, discuss potential causes and propose solutions to address these problems. Based on the group analysis of the information, they define a series of topics on which they would like to strengthen their capacities; in other words, a learning curriculum is defined on the basis of these topics.
Based on this curriculum, the learning sessions are scheduled, in which the producers enrolled in the ECA participate. In each session, a topic is developed, for which it is desirable that the facilitator has a session program and a methodological guide "script" on the specific topic to be addressed that day.
The Livestock FFS methodology was developed and adapted in 2001 by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Its purpose is to strengthen the capacity of farming families and local communities to analyze their production systems, identify key constraints and test possible solutions.
"By adding their own knowledge to existing information, producers are able to identify and adopt the practices and technologies that best fit their production system and their needs, which contributes to increased productivity, profitability and adaptability to changing conditions," said Francisco Casasola, researcher at the Livestock and Environmental Management Unit of CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) and compiler of the publication.
If you are interested in reviewing and downloading this publication you can do so through the following link: http://repositorio.bibliotecaorton.catie.ac.cr/handle/11554/11359.
Project BioPaSOS is implemented by CATIE, with the support of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), in coordination with the National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRICULTURA), with funding from the International Climate Initiative (IKI) and together with multiple local partners in their territories of intervention.
Technical Coordinator BioPaSOS Project
Livestock and Environmental Management Unit - GAMMA
Karla Salazar Leiva
Information Technology and Communication