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Bean Thinking …

Dannie Romney writes the first Legume Alliance Blog entry: I am excited to share that for the 2015 planting-season, 10 organizations are harnessing their collective energies and knowledge to implement a scale-up campaign. We are calling the campaign Bean thinking… and we are calling the group of partners working on it the Tanzania Legume Alliance.

The partners, mostly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or AGRA, have come together to pilot a new model for collaborative working. We envisage this will lead to sustainable change in farming practice in smallholder farming families.

The campaign will support farmers to maximize the returns of common beans as a food and cash crop and to contribute to the long-term improvement of their soil.

Gender research has shown that the communication approaches chosen will have a big impact on how different gender groups can access the information. This is compounded in rural areas with differences in literacy – with older women statistically least likely to be literate.
The Legume Alliance has come up with a simple hypothesis. By targeting smallholder farming families at multiple entry points, with media that appeals to, or reaches younger and older people, men and women, literate and not, we stand the best chance of creating a shared understanding across the generations of new agricultural technologies. With better information on new varieties and how to grow beans economically, farming families will be more likely to adopt new varieties and practices

As this is a pilot campaign ASHC will be placing an emphasis on ensuring that the lessons are captured and shared within and outside of the alliance membership and funders.

This blog will share with you how different elements of the campaign are shaping up and bring you views of partners and farmers. I hope we can learn lessons about working jointly to develop and deliver a campaign – with multiple media approaches being rolled out simultaneously and how to make a real different to smallholder farmers across Tanzania and beyond. The blog is also part of ASHCs contribution to International Year of Soil.