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ASHC gets green light to develop phase 2

The Africa Soil Health Consortium (ASHC) is delighted to announce that it has been awarded bridging funding to support the development of a second phase of ASHC.

James Watiti from ASHC explains: “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has invited CABI to develop a second phase of ASHC. To enable this to happen ASHC has an interim funding package to April 2015.

The ideas for phase 2 are very exciting and will involve us working on a number of communications experiments happening in up to 5 Gates priority countries.

In ASHC phase 2 we will be looking to work more intensively probably with a smaller number of lead partners. We are also focusing on more limited geographies.

Specifically we will be looking for partners and we are looking to be involved in the whole iterative process of making and improving communications materials to make them highly effective.

ASHC phase 1 developed large numbers of exemplar materials – but where we worked best was as part of an ongoing relationship – we are looking to build on this experience”

During the scoping phase, which runs from now until January 2015 the ASHC team will be working to identify partners. From January to April the focus will be on developing a detailed work plan and agreeing the funding agreement with Gates,

ASHC will be offering considerable support in the development and testing of communication products before and after they go to scale. ASHC will also assist with the suitable monitoring and learning approaches including getting the learning into the public domain. We will be really well place to help facilitate comparative studies between different approaches. ASHC will also document and publish learning outcomes in specific targeted reports looking at the information needs of different stakeholder audiences.

ASHC is particularly interested in a looking at the role of communications in supporting intermediaries such as agro-dealers, farmers groups and farmers centre’s as well as more traditional models of extension. The impact of using young people as a conduit for information into farming households is also of considerable interest as people look at gender in a more inclusive way.

ASHC seeks partners for phase 2

ASHC wants to work with partners in Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia. Ideal partners are those with a budget and a mandate to disseminate ISFM information and knowledge products to farming households. Specifically they will be organisations that support farmers to adopt and adapt ISFM techniques with the potential to increase productivity and household level food-security/income.

ASHC is looking for organisations that are:

Are taking ISFM and related messages to significant scale either through a particular approach or a multifaceted communications campaign

Have funds to disseminate ISFM development communications – but would like ASHC funds and expertise on all aspects of material development (scoping need, designing materials, testing and reviewing at field level and production of master copies for reproduction, publication or broadcast

Are interested in changing attitudes and behaviours around ISFM with a view to demonstrable impact at scale by 2019

Target crops for this project are: Maize, sorghum, millet, banana/plantain, rice, wheat, yam, cassava, sweet potato, cowpea, common bean, groundnut.

Anyone interested in finding out more about phase 2 of ASHC should contact James Watiti at ASHC –