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ASHC communications strategy published

ASHC has developed a communications strategy to help guide the project as it moves into its publishing and dissemination phase. The ASHC Communication strategy was developed in-house by the project team, but with considerable input from the technical advisory group in May 2012.

Key messages
The key messages the ASHC project will communicate are the answers to these questions:

What is ISFM?
Why is soil important?
What practical methods can be used to improve soil fertility?
What are the benefits of using these approaches?
Which approaches could be used in my country, my farm, for my crop?
What are the potential costs and benefits of using these approaches? And what does a farmer or extension agent need to know to estimate the costs versus benefits for a particular situation?
What examples are there of where ISFM approaches have been successful?

Project manager, George Oduor, said:
“As the project was conceived we concentrated our communications efforts on developing materials for others. However, for ASHC to get the level of influence in policy or to see integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) processes applied more often in the field, we needed a more robust communications approach ourselves.

We have changed the staffing structure of the organization and created two posts instead of one. These staff members spend a great deal of their time working with partners to improve their dissemination materials. But the extra capacity brought to this team will mean that they can work on promoting ISFM more widely and to some extent the achievements and lessons from ASHC.”

Target audiences for the communications strategy

Government/civil service: Policy makers – members of parliament, senators, governors, heads of departments and other senior officials in Ministries of Agriculture and Ministry of Finance, National Extension Services, National Agricultural Research Institutes including: KARI, SARI, Ari-Uyole, ARI-Maruku, IIAM, ZARI, NARO Smallholders
Smallholder farmers: (indirectly through the production of extension materials in conjunction with and used by partners)
Education: Tutors and university departments
Funders: Funders of ISFM and soil health programmes – especially Bill & Melinda Gates and AGRA
Private sector: Fertilizer companies, seed companies and other agricultural input wholesalers and manufacturing Agro-input dealers
Media: Media (a channel for raising awareness)