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Continuation and spread The RIPAT interventions are operated in close collaboration with local government authorities, village leaders, and government extension officers, with the aim that the groups can continue to operate on a self-sustaining basis if they so wish after the conclusion of the project, and that the farming technologies introduced should spread to the wider community.

Presentation oF riPat The spread of the improved methods from project participants to their peers in the villages largely relies on spontaneous farmer-to-farmer communication. If it works, it spreads! In addition, farmers’ field days are arranged once a year in each village to mark successes and demonstrate what has been learned, and to allow the entire community to see the progress in the group fields and on the land of individual farmers. RIPAT participants are proclaimed by the village government to be village ‘development ambassadors’, and they are required by the village government and RECODA to teach three fellow villagers what they have learned in the RIPAT project in order to promote the spread of knowledge and technologies.

The ‘training of trainers’ method is an integral part of the RIPAT approach. In RIPAT, the trained trainers are called ‘super-farmers’ (or ‘lead farmers’). They are selected by the groups themselves from among the best farmers to teach others the new methods.

Each group has super-farmers in various disciplines, according to the basket of options adopted by the group – for example, one person becomes a super-farmer in banana cultivation, another in goat or sheep husbandry, another in conservation agriculture.

The super-farmers receive special training at the RECODA Academy (see Chapter 11 for further information), and they are expected to serve both their own groups and the wider community as paraprofessional consultants. In addition, the RIPAT approach includes close coordination and cooperation with local extension officers, who participate in the weekly or fortnightly group training sessions as much as possible. The local extension officers receive further training by RECODA on how to start up new groups in other villages in collaboration with the super-farmers. This training has largely been co-funded by the districts involved.

2.4 RIPAT implementation to date To date, RIPAT has been implemented through four projects. These have involved the establishment of 68 groups in 34 villages in Arumeru, Karatu, and Korogwe districts. The four RIPAT projects have targeted different farming systems and agro-ecological zones in northern Tanzania, and have covered communities that have a range of cultural, social, and economic characteristics (see Table 2.1). These variations, combined with the basic trial-and-error implementation approach, have required adaptations to be made – but the core elements and the strategy have remained the same. The main features of the implementation process for each of the projects are described and discussed below.

RIPAT 1 May 2006–December 2009 (three-and-a-half years). Located in Arumeru District, Arusha Region, on the windward side of Mount Meru, in the border area between the middle zone and the lowlands.

It was largely through this project that the RIPAT concept was developed. Several agricultural technologies and improved methods were tried out in the RIPAT 1 project, but some were then abandoned. For example, the use of artificial insemination for introducing an improved breed of cattle was included only in the RIPAT 1 project; although this technique offers great potential, and despite some encouraging results, it was found to be too expensive and complicated, and the provision of semen at the appropriate time was found to present too great a logistical challenge in the rural areas.

20 Farmers’ ChoiCe microfinance model was included in the basket of options offered to the groups; this has turned out to be very popular among the group members.

RIPAT 2 September 2008–July 2012 (four years). Located in Arumeru District, Arusha Region, on the leeward side of Mount Meru.

The context for RIPAT 2 proved to be much more challenging than that for RIPAT 1. Many of the members of the RIPAT 2 groups are semi-nomadic people from the WaArusha and WaMaasai tribes. Their farming system is in a state of transition. Illiteracy levels are very high, and strong cultural traditions made it difficult to sensitize communities to the advantages of new ideas and agricultural technologies. These factors inhibited the rapid adoption of the technologies promoted through the project. A further problem was that RIPAT 2 (like RIPAT 1) was affected by the existence of a donor dependency syndrome in the targeted areas, created over the years by the activities of other NGOs. The climate in the RIPAT 2 area is drier than that in the RIPAT 1 area, and there are no possibilities for supplementary irrigation. The soil is subject to erosion and is depleted of nutrients. The rainy season is short, and during the long dry season there is limited moisture and a lot of wind, conditions that are particularly unsuitable for banana cultivation. However, the RIPAT 2 area is endowed with valleys that channel a lot of run-off water during the rainy seasons, and this water can be harvested. Although not all groups were able to tap this potential, some groups and farmers learned to master the technique and succeeded in establishing good banana plantations. Because the very serious 2009 drought resulted in the death of up to half the cattle in villages in the area, the project moved away from the use of ox-drawn tilling implements for conservation agriculture (rippers) and replaced them with the Zambian hand hoes (chaka hoes) for land preparation. Farmers who could not cultivate banana frequently opted for husbandry of the improved breeds of milking goat, sheep, and poultry, and for conservation agriculture using Zambian chaka hoes.

The project period was extended by one year as a result of the drought.

RIPAT 3September 2008–July 2012 (four years). Located in Karatu District, Arusha Region.

The RIPAT 3 implementation period in the mountainous and incised valleys of Karatu was also extended to four years, because of widespread drought in two of the implementation years. In normal years around half of the targeted villages (those at the higher altitudes) receive relatively good rainfall that allows for the cultivation of a variety of crops, including the improved banana varieties introduced through the project. The lack of access to irrigation in the RIPAT 3 area required that the project concentrated largely on water conservation methods and the cultivation of a range of drought-resistant crops.

In the drier areas, banana can be cultivated only in selected locations that are sheltered from the wind and where the harvesting of run-off rainwater is possible. In addition to improved poultry and milking goats, pigs were included in the RIPAT 3 basket of options at the request of the participants. The pig component turned out to be very much appreciated among the groups – particularly because the large number of piglets in a litter reduced the time for completing the group solidarity chain.

Presentation oF riPat RIPAT 4 January 2010–December 2012 (three years). Located in Korogwe District, Tanga Region.

Low-altitude coastal climate conditions.

As a result of learning from the previous projects, the RIPAT 4 implementation is perhaps the most developed of the RIPAT series. The RIPAT 4 area has relatively good rainfall and great potential for agricultural development. Only a few villages have irrigation channels, but the high water table in many villages offers opportunities for supplementary irrigation in the banana and vegetable fields using treadle pumps – a technology included in the basket of options in the RIPAT 4 project. These advantageous conditions have led to the rapid adoption of the RIPAT options.

2.5 Conclusion RIPAT has been implemented in a series of four projects in a variety of socio-economic, farming, and biophysical environments, with the overall aim of alleviating poverty and increasing food security among rural farming families. Over time, many lessons have been learned and concepts fine-tuned relating to how innovations can be adapted and spread to bring about the desired impact. The following are the main points that are

considered the key distinguishing features of RIPAT:

• full and real ownership of the project by the participants and community leaders;

• assistance provided on the basis of ‘help to self-help’, so that donor dependency is eliminated and the improvements created in the project are diffused and become self-sustaining;

• provision of a basket of options so that farmers decide what is most appropriate for them and adjust the technologies to local conditions;

• good collaboration and coordination with government authorities at all levels;

• effective, in-built mechanisms for ensuring that technologies introduced to the target groups spread to the wider community;

• work in groups – not only for cost-effective training but to promote a sense of togetherness and cooperation that will help to sustain the work of the project; and

• effective training in group organization and leadership.

Julius Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania, said: ‘People cannot be developed – they can only develop themselves.’ This view has formed the basic working premise for the RIPAT project – the belief that lasting and sustainable change only comes if the participants take full responsibility for their own development.


1. The technology gap is the gap between the farm production that is achieved with the agricultural technologies currently being used by farmers and the production that could be achieved by the same farmers if they had access to better but currently unavailable technologies and had the capacity to adjust them to local conditions.

The gap is caused both by lack of awareness of the techniques and training in their use and by lack of access to equipment and agricultural inputs for implementing better technologies.

22 Farmers’ ChoiCe

2. Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) are member-owned microfinance institutions. Most SACCOs are rurally based and have fewer than 1,000 members, but some can be huge institutions with several branches.

References Anderson, J.R., Feder, G. and Ganguly, S. (2006) The Rise and Fall of Training and Visit Extension: An Asian Mini-drama with an African Epilogue, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 3928, World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Braun, A. and Duveskog, D. (2008) The Farmer Field School Approach – History, Global Assessment and Success Stories, background paper for the IFAD Rural Poverty Report 2010, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Rome.

Braun, A., Jiggins, J., Röling, N., van den Berg, H. and Snijders, P. (2006) A Global Survey and Review of Farmer Field School Experiences, International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi.

Gallagher, K. (2003) ‘Fundamental elements of a Farmer Field School’, LEISA Magazine 2003(3).

Gallagher, K., Braun, A. and Duveskog, D. (2006) ‘Demystifying Farmer Field School concepts’, response to Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education paper by K. Davis, 15(3). Available from: www.share4dev.info/ffsnet/documents/3200.pdf [accessed 18 July 2012].

Gautam, M. (2000) Agricultural Extension: The Kenya Experience: An Impact Evaluation, World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Okoth, J.R., Nalyongo, W. and Bonte, A. (2010) Facilitators’ Guide for Running a Farmer Field School: An Adaptation to a Post Emergency Recovery Programme. FAO Uganda, Kampala.

Rockwool Foundation and RECODA (2012) ‘RIPAT manual’, Rockwool Foundation, Copenhagen, and RECODA, Arusha. Available from: www.rockwoolfonden.dk CHAPTER 3 Evaluation methods Steffen Jöhncke, Department of Anthropology at University of Copenhagen, and Ulrik Lund-Sørensen, Rockwool Foundation Research Unit 24 Farmers’ ChoiCe

The analysis and evaluation of the RIPAT intervention consists of three separate studies:

one determining the impact of the project intervention; one evaluating the implementation process and institutional sustainability; and one analysing the context and the adoption of project approaches and technologies in the local community. The aim of each study determined its evaluation methodology, and each methodology is described in this chapter. They range from highly structured quantitative analyses to explorative ethnographic qualitative approaches. The aim is for this combination of evaluation approaches to serve to verify each study’s findings and bring additional insights to the separate analyses.

3.1 Introduction

The investigation of the RIPAT intervention is made up of three separate studies:

1) a study that determines the impact of the project intervention – the impact study;

2) a study that evaluates the implementation process and points to lessons learned – the implementation study; and 3) a study that looks at the context and adoption of project approaches and technologies in the local community – the context and adoption study.

The following research questions were investigated by the three studies:

The impact study investigated such questions as the adoption rate of RIPAT • technologies and to what extent the RIPAT intervention has affected the level of food security and poverty among the participating households.

• The implementation study focused on questions relating to the relevance of the intervention for the target group; sustainability of the technology and institutional outcomes; and the effectiveness and efficiency of the RIPAT concept for reducing rural poverty.

The context and adoption study was guided by questions such as: to what • extent have the promoted social and agricultural technologies been adopted by participating and non-participating farmers? What characterizes the farmers who adopt the RIPAT technologies? What characterizes the RIPAT farmers who have been most effective in spreading the new technologies? What role have the farmer groups played in the adoption of the social and agricultural technologies? And what has been the impact of RIPAT on household dynamics and gender politics?

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