A Training of Trainers (ToT) process is the main step prior the establishment of the Farmer Field Schools (FFS). Considering the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent travel and gathering restrictions, this ToT could not be conducted as traditionally planned, since the Oxfam Novib team in The Hague could no longer travel to the programme countries and join the partner organization staff. As a result, to support in-country implementation of the guide, an online course was developed for partner organization staff and master trainers that will train the FFS facilitators on a national level. This online course was held through a Google Classroom platform from 26 April to 7 May 2021.
SD=HS’s second component aims to ensure that indigenous peoples and smallholder farmers enhance their livelihoods, income and seed security through improved production of and market access to high quality seeds of diverse crops and varieties, adapted to farmers’ needs and preferences. This so called “Pillar 2” is currently being implemented in China, Guatemala, Nepal and Zimbabwe.
The Training of Trainers (ToT) is seen as the main step prior to the establishment of the Farmer Field Schools (FFS). Thirteen facilitators participated in this online course, coming from 3 different countries (Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) and different organizations (PELUM Uganda, CTDT Zambia, CTDT Zimbabwe). They were supported by master facilitators from their organizations (including Champion Farmer Seeds Cooperative) and the global team from Oxfam Novib. These facilitators subsequently organized national Training of Trainer events (in Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) that took place from 17 to 21 May 2021.
During the week of April 26, the participants started working on the first four modules of the online course, based on the first 4 modules of the FFS Guide on Seed Production and Marketing:
• Module 1: Introduction to the FFS on Farmer Seed Production and Marketing
• Module 2: Preparatory activities
• Module 3: Diagnosis and planning
• Module 4: Analysis of the seed market and crop selection
The second week of the course required participants to dive deeper into the remaining modules:
• Module 5: Introducing seed business concepts and policy issues
• Module 6: Seed production
• Module 7: End-of-season evaluation and next-season planning
The final evaluation showed that participants found the online material to be a useful addition to the FFS Guide on Seed Production and Marketing. They found the content to be interesting and generally liked the accessibility of the Classroom platform. A major challenge was the short time available for the participants to go through the materials and complete the assignments, so it was recommended to reserve more time for a course like this in future occasions. Another recommendation was to have more one-on-one contacts between facilitators and course participants, and to present the participants with hard copies of the course materials to anticipate internet connectivity issues.