Six ways to improve your volunteer farmer trainers program for more effective advisory services
This policy brief covers the lessons from research conducted in five countries: Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Cameroon and Malawi. To improve the effectiveness and reach of volunteer farmer trainers (VFTs) one should seek to:1. Select volunteer farmer trainers using a participatory process involving community leaders and extension staff.2. Select VFTs on the basis of interest and skills in communicating information, and not just farming expertise.3. Recruit more female farmer trainers to improve women’s access to information.4. Find out what motivates the VFTs and apply low-cost methods to motivate them.5. Train VFTs on the importance of matching technological options to different farmers’ needs, resources and circumstances.6. Link VFTs to a local community extension program and government extension services for technical backstopping and sustainability.