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ISFM materials library being put to work…

10 May 2016: When you visit the ASHC website ISFM materials library you are asked to share how you plan to use the materials.  It is not a requirement to leave this information – but those that do really help us to review and reflecton how we present the library. Here are some of the users comments that have been recorded over the past 18 months:

Students and teachers

Students and teachers from, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan in Africa and Netherlands and India have left comments relating to both assignments and their roles in delivering best practice to farmers.

Supporting studies and assignments:

  • “Reading to understand more about soils in Africa”
  • “I downloaded this document in order to use the information for writing my thesis.”
  • “I am looking for reference material to develop my PhD proposal in agricultural communication. Area of emphasis is communication and adoption of organic soil fertility improvement technologies.”
  • “I am a lecturer at university of Rwanda and I need this document as a teaching material for a course of soil productivity and management.”

Applying to students work with farmers:

  • “To understand and work with smallholders of Ethiopia”
  • “I am working with rural communication service report, and use this material to fill the factsheet.”

Farming families  

Farming families from Kenya,Tanzania and Nigeria commented:

  • “I’m like to help improve my mother farm in which she has inter-cropped coffee with bananas.”
  • “I want to improve my yield on maize per hectare
  • “I am looking into getting into farming in Morogoro, Tanzania, and soyabean is one of the crops am seriously considering. Am thus carrying out necessary research pre-decision making.

NGO and extension services

NGOs and extension services from East Africa, Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania and India noted that they used the materials as follows:

  • Training of project field officers
  • For reference during undertaking intervention for improving the livelihood of smallholders
  • For guiding volunteers
  • To educate farming and extension faculty.

Research scientists

Research scientists from Ethiopia, Ghana and Rwanda in Africa and also from Philippines and USA, noted the following uses:

  • (to)  “Learn about soil health in Africa and a reference for proposals”
  • “For research studies on cassava phytoplasma diseases”
  • “To enable my research/ research work”
  • “I want to share with the team research manual on common beans with application of different fertilizers aimed at increasing yield. I am trying to assess foliar fertilizer over basal fertiliser. I want also get advantage about essential data to be collected on common beans.”
  • “I am a plant protection specialist. As you know plant protection problems are magnificent problems of production, processing and post harvesting developing countries. References and communications with people in the same areas of specialization is important to start to handle and overcome the problems”

ASHC senior communications manager, James Watiti, commented: ‘We are seeing that materials in the ISFM library are being used as we had anticipated. The stated uses include supporting research and studies, resource development, fundraising and for farm-level advice. These are the exact range of uses we had hoped to see. We now need to work to increase the number of people accessing the ISFM materials library. Clearly the more comprehensive the resource is, the more attractive it will be.”

There are currently 382 resources on the website, drawn from 42 countries, covering 26 crops in a wide range of formats. All are free to download.

The ISFM materials library will grow significantly over the next 3 years, in particular we plan to add more print, text messages and radio scripts.

Anyone with ideas on how to improve the ISFM materials library should contact: James Watiti ASHC is also happy to post materials developed by any organisation which is promoting any aspect of soil health.