4Component 4What is the best way to disseminate our videos?

Component Goals

By the time you have finished this component you will:

  • Have selected the dissemination option(s) you will use.
  • Have developed a dissemination plan.
  • Be able to prepare your staff to facilitate video.

The means through which you disseminate your videos will vary depending on your target audience and the local context. It is important to develop a dissemination process that is appropriate to the context you are working in if you want to maximize the likelihood of the videos having an impact. Otherwise, even the best videos could end up being relegated to the virtual dustbin. This component includes suggestions for different dissemination methods, including both technical and social considerations. It will help you to assess which method(s) might be most appropriate for your needs and show you how to use continuous feedback to improve your dissemination approach.

When thinking about video dissemination, the philosophical question, "If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around, does it make a sound?" comes to mind. This is because while creating quality videos is important, if they are not seen by your target audience, for all intents and purposes, they do not exist. Choosing the right method to disseminate your videos, therefore, is of utmost importance to achieving your objectives.

When we talk about dissemination, we are referring to the process through which the videos you create reach their intended audience. There are a number of different ways that you can disseminate your videos, none of which are necessarily mutually exclusive. You may find that either a singular method or a combination of methods is most appropriate for reaching your target audience.

This component assumes that you have already identified your target audience in advance. The content here will still be useful if you have not identified your audience. It is recommended, however, that you tailor your dissemination methods to your audience rather than selecting your audience based on the method you want to use. For a more in-depth analysis of different dissemination devices that can be used for agricultural extension, read the comparative landscape study led by D-Rev in 2011 on devices for agricultural extension.1

It is important to keep in mind that men have traditionally been the primary recipients of agricultural extension services in most countries. Studies have shown that, when women are provided equal access to resources, it benefits overall household productivity.2 The 56th session of the UN's Commission on the Status of Women, which was held in 2012, also highlighted the need to facilitate smallholder women farmers' access to extension services, increase the number of women extension agents, and provide training on gender equality issues to male and female extension agents.3 You will want to consider whether cultural norms restrict male-female interaction or if men tend to dominate community-level activities. This will determine whether you should hold mixed-gender video screening groups or if you will need to meet in gender-specific groups, as well as who should facilitate those groups. Implementers of USAID-funded projects should also consult the USAID Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy, which was released in March 2012.4

When selecting your audience, it is recommended to work with existing groups, such as farmer associations, cooperatives, or women's groups, rather than attempting to form your own group. This will make coordination easier, since you will be working with an established entity. If it is not possible to work with existing groups, you can establish your own screening groups in your target communities. The best way to do this is to determine where farmers already commonly congregate, such as agri-dealers or warehouses. When setting up your own group, be sure to explain to the groups you will work with exactly what your objectives are, how frequently you would like them to meet, and how long each screening will likely take.

The process of setting up independent screening groups will require additional groundwork on your part. Consider working with community leaders or farmer representatives to identify interested farmers. You may also want to use flyers and community broadcast outlets to advertise. Remember, though, that certain dissemination methods are limited in the number of people they can reach at one time given their display size. Make sure that each group you establish does not have more members than can be supported by the dissemination method you will be using. Also, it is best to enlist farmers who are interested in participating over an extended period of time. This will result in more useful data collection regarding individual farmer change. Otherwise, if farmers come and go at random intervals, it may be more difficult for you to track impact on each farmer.

1 Full versions of the reports included within this study can be accessed online at: http://d-rev.org/projects/accessforagriculture.html

2 See reports from the International Food Policy Research Institute entitled, "Women: The Key to Food Security" and from the OECD entitled, "Women's Economic Empowerment," which can be accessed online at http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/pubs/pubs/ib/ib3.pdf and http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/50/60/47561694.pdf, respectively.

3 A summary of the draft conclusions from the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women's 56th session can be found online at: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/56sess.htm

4 The full policy can be found online at: http://usaid.gov/our_work/policy_planning_and_learning/documents/GenderEqualityPolicy.pdf

What are the different dissemination methods we can use for our videos?

Once you have identified your target audience, you can determine which video dissemination method is most appropriate for your needs. This section will look at eight of the most common methods of video dissemination:

  1. Pico projectors
  2. Tablet computers
  3. Mobile phones
  4. Television and video players
  5. Computer centers or telecenters
  6. Direct distribution of VCDs/DVDs
  7. Broadcast television
  8. Websites (streaming or download)

Before deciding upon which method is best for you, you will want to determine which method or methods are most likely to reach your target audience, and whether you have the capacity (both time and money) to use that method. You can use the Dissemination Selection Worksheet at the end of this component to help you with that process. If it looks familiar, that is because it is a modified version of the ICT Option Assessment Tool in Component 2.

The following is a description of each of the eight methods and how they can be used to disseminate agriculture-related videos. Specific information on the hardware requirements and estimated costs for the first four methods listed here can be found in Component 6.

Pico Projectors

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Photo credit: AAXA

Pico projectors, which are also known as pocket or hand-held projectors, are hand-held projection devices. They generally come with internal memory and are bright enough to project 20-to-40 inch displays. Unlike standard projectors, most pico projectors have insufficient brightness for use in a normally lit room; therefore, they are best used either at night or in a room with limited ambient light. Their size and the fact that they are battery-operated makes them effective for disseminating videos to groups of 10 to 25 people in communities without convenient access to electricity.

Tablet Computers

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Tablet computers are becoming increasingly popular due to their portability, long battery life, and ease of use. They can very easily and quickly be pre-loaded with videos that can be shared with farmers. Their limited screen size, however, means that they are best used by no more than two to three farmers at a time to watch videos. This method is most effective for disseminating videos in extremely small groups either on farmer visits by field officers or when farmers visit a specific location (such as a cooperative or an input supply store). If you are planning to use it for other purposes as well, such as data collection, then a tablet could potentially be a worthwhile tool for dissemination. For example, Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers is using tablets with coffee cooperatives to assist with traceability and supply chain management. In addition to this, they are using the tablets to share training videos with farmers when they bring their beans to the co-op. More information on their approach can be found on the Sustainable Harvest website.

Alternatively, if your field officers already have laptop computers for their work, you could consider using the laptop to demonstrate videos in the same way you would use a tablet.

Mobile Phones

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By the end of 2012, it is estimated that there will be more than 700 million mobile subscribers in Africa out of a population of about one billion people.5 Although there are still farmers without mobile phones and communities without cellular signals, the growing ubiquity of mobile phones is becoming the new world reality. Moreover, a growing number of these phones are capable of receiving and playing videos. That said, the limited screen size of most video-capable phones likely to be owned by smallholder farmers means that this method is probably not currently effective for broad dissemination. If a significant number of your target beneficiaries do have video-capable phones, this method may be worth exploring for awareness campaigns and for reinforcing agronomic messages that you are already disseminating using other methods.

Television and Video Players

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Until a few years ago, a number of organizations disseminated videos by transporting televisions, video players, and gas generators to villages for local screenings. Other organizations have placed televisions and video players aboard mobile video vans that they drive from village to village. Given the cost of investing in a vehicle and ongoing fuel expenses, these options may be less cost-effective than other options, especially given the variety of small and affordable alternative dissemination devices now on the market. One option that you may want to consider is portable video players. These devices generally have screens between three and 10 inches and built-in DVD players. Some models also include USB and SD memory card inputs for playing videos.

If televisions and video players are already locally available in the community you are working in, however, they can be a cost-effective method for disseminating videos. Many newer televisions even have USB and SD memory ports, which would eliminate the need to burn DVDs or VCDs. If you do use locally available televisions, make sure that they are located somewhere that is accessible to your beneficiaries. Also be sure to check their input and output options beforehand to ensure you have the correct cables and equipment available to show your videos on them.

Computer Centers

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It is possible that the communities you plan to target have internet-connected, community-run computer centers or "telecenters." If you have access to these centers, they can make for a good dissemination point. In Ghana, for example, the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) and Wadep (a locally based NGO) established a multimedia resource center for farmers to share information on agriculture and education. Among the services offered, the center works with farmers and extension officers to develop agricultural instruction videos in a participatory way to define local good practices. The videos produced are shared with farmers directly at the center or with outreach programs in the villages. More information on this work can be found on IICD's website.

If you decide to disseminate your videos at a computer center, you will want to make sure that the set up is appropriate for your needs and that the center is accessible to your target audience during hours that are convenient for them. It is likely not cost effective to establish your own computer center solely for the purposes of disseminating videos.

Direct Distribution of VCDs/DVDs

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Some projects with limited staff on the ground have found that distributing VCDs or DVDs directly to farmers is the most effective way to disseminate videos. This can be done in several different ways. One way is to send copies directly to farmers or to farmer organizations (such as cooperatives or associations). If you send them directly to farmer organizations, you may also consider sending them a basic curriculum or workbook to guide them on how to best use these videos with farmers. Much of this material can be directly adapted from this toolkit. Another option is to sell copies of your videos in local markets. This can be coupled with economic growth activities that may be operating in the area.

Broadcast Television

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If you have access to broadcast television in the country or region where you are working, it could potentially enable you to reach a much wider audience than other methods. This option is highly dependent on the local broadcast regulatory environment and your access to local television stations. Some countries may also have local, community television stations that broadcast to a relatively small local area. It is worth exploring this option, especially if your primary audience lives within the coverage area of the community station. With the expansion of digital television in some countries, the number of available channels will increase, which could also create opportunities for disseminating videos on niche channels dedicated specifically to agricultural topics.

Of course, you would first want to make sure that your target audience has access to television and whether they would likely be watching it during the time slot you are allotted. If not, then despite its potential of reaching a wide audience, it is probably not the most appropriate option for reaching your target audience. If you do use broadcast television, you should consider building some level of interactivity into the videos, such as providing a number that farmers can call for more information or inviting farmers to participate in a mobile phone poll using an SMS short code.

Websites

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Popular video-hosting websites such as YouTube and Vimeo allow you to host your videos online for free. Given limited access to the internet in many of the communities you will be working in, this is most likely not going to be an effective primary method for dissemination. Even so, posting your videos online can be a great way to reach unintended beneficiaries who have access to the internet and to share information about your work with potential supporters and collaborators. Before posting any videos online, however, make sure that you have the consent of any farmers appearing in the videos. Also, because the internet may be foreign to some of the farmers you work with, make sure that you explain exactly what it is and that their videos will be accessible to anyone in the world.

5 BBC News, Africa's mobile phone industry 'booming' (9 Nov 2011) [Accessed online http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15659983 on 3/20/2011]

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Reinforced Messaging

Although each of these methods has been highlighted individually, it is always important to consider how you can use multiple methods to enhance learning outcomes. These secondary methods can be used to reinforce your messaging more effectively than a singular method. You should also consider non-video methods for reinforcing messages, such as SMS reminders, flyers, or community-based radio. Secondary methods that can be directly controlled by the farmers (such as mobile video, SMS, flyers, or tip sheets) may be particularly helpful as references that farmers can use while they are trying out a practice on their own in the field.

The research of Hermann Ebbinghaus and others has shown that spaced repetition of information is critical to increasing the likelihood of establishing and recalling long-term memories. If you have the capacity and resources, you might want to test the effectiveness of different secondary methods by deploying them with a random selection of farmers who have watched your videos to test whether their recall of information is higher than farmers who were only exposed to the primary method. Of course, recall alone does not translate to adoption or impact, but it is an important part of the equation.

To facilitate or not to facilitate?

It is important to consider whether or not to facilitate your disseminations. Although it may seem easier and less expensive to disseminate your videos without the use of a facilitator, you can potentially miss out on a number of very important benefits that make facilitation worth the investment. Some of the main benefits of facilitating your dissemination are:

  • Facilitators can answer farmers' questions if anything is unclear in the video or if they are interested in learning more.
  • Facilitators can provoke discussion on specific elements of the video, increasing the likelihood that farmers will think critically about what they have just watched and therefore remember it more clearly.
  • Facilitators can track attendance, information on videos shown, questions asked, and practices tried and adopted by farmers.
  • Facilitators can provide specific follow-up information and support to individual farmers after screenings.
  • Facilitators can encourage farmers to share with and learn from each other.
  • Facilitators are better suited to understand the local dynamics and how best to work across a cross-section of individuals in a community.
  • Facilitated learning has been shown to improve learning outcomes in adults.

Despite the benefits of facilitated dissemination, there are some genuine cost implications involved. There are a couple of steps you can take to reduce associated costs to the point where they will be almost negligible, especially in relation to the benefits gained:

  • You can work within existing systems or structures. For example, conduct dissemination at regularly scheduled farmer organization meetings or embed it within existing extension visits.
  • If you are unable to facilitate viewings through your staff or partners, provide guidance or training to farmer organizations on how they can facilitate their own viewings, or include discussion questions directly in your videos.

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Which video dissemination methods are most appropriate for our situation?

Now that you have finished reading about potential dissemination methods, take some time to discuss which methods are best for reaching your target audience and achieving your objectives. Like you did with the ICT Option Assessment in Component 2, gather your team and local partners together to discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and capacity needs of the different options. If you are unable to gather everyone together at the same time, consider speaking directly with farmers and local partners. This can be done either through informal conversations, or through more structured exchanges, such as focus groups or surveys.

There is no need to consider all of the eight options highlighted above. Only consider those that would be realistic methods to pursue. For example, if you already know that you cannot broadcast your videos on television, then you can ignore that option during this exercise. Once you have decided which options are worth considering, write them down in the columns at the top of the worksheet.

Make sure that you consider the following questions as part of this process:

For project staff (including local partners)

  • How and where are we currently interacting with farmers?
  • How much time does staff have available for dissemination?
  • Can dissemination activities be incorporated into other activities or systems (i.e., during regularly scheduled visits with farmers)?
  • Does staff have the technical capacity to implement each option? If not, what will it take to prepare them?
  • What are the general types of costs that will be necessary for each option? Are any of these clearly outside of our available budget?

For farmers

  • What sources currently provide most of your information?
  • Do you have access to television or mobile phones that are internet and video-capable?
  • Are you interested in watching videos to learn about agricultural practices, etc.?
  • When are you most likely to participate?
  • Of the following options [insert options you are considering], how likely do you think you are to participate in each one? Why?

Through this process, you should be able to narrow down one or two dissemination methods that seem most appropriate to your situation. Once you have decided upon the method(s) you will use, consider what your dissemination structure will be. In other words, how will videos and other information flow? It is important to determine this in advance so that everyone is clear about what the structure will be before you begin any dissemination.

The most popular structure is the hub-and-spokes model. Under this model, all videos and information are collected and housed in a main hub. This is often a district office that is central to the villages—or "spokes"— you will be working with. You would likely have at least one person working on this activity at the hub, and individual field staff responsible for one or more spokes. Although videos may be created at the village level, they are all sent to and stored at the hub by local field staff. The same is true for any data or information that is collected during the village-level disseminations. This enables you and your field staff to have access to all of the videos and information created in multiple villages (or spokes). Each hub can then feed into your central office or higher-level hubs, so that ultimately everyone has access to the same information.

Another model is a purely centralized structure whereby all videos and information are collected directly by a main office. In this case, your central office staff would be responsible for all dissemination and data collection. This model works best when you are working in a small geographic area in the immediate vicinity of your central office, or if you are disseminating through broadcast television.

A less-common model is the completely localized structure. Under this model, all content is created and collected at the village level. This is more appropriate if your primary objective is to empower local farmers to create and manage their own videos through participatory processes. Under this structure, each village is responsible for its own processes, and they may (or may not) feed all content up to your field offices. From a data-collection perspective, this can be an inefficient structure, although its benefits on local empowerment can be tangible.

Consider each of these structures in light of your overall objectives and capacity. Do not feel bound by any one particular structure. Think creatively about what will best serve your situation. It could be that another type of structure not mentioned here would be most appropriate for your purposes.

You can use the Dissemination Plan Worksheet at the end of this component to map out your overall dissemination plan, including the exact steps of your dissemination process, the timeline for each step, who will be responsible, and what, if any, materials are required. The sample dissemination plan provided on the next page can serve as a guide.

Sample Dissemination Plan

PrimaryPrimary Dissemination Method: Pico projectors

SecondarySecondary Method(s): Local bulletin boards

FrequencyFrequency: Bi-weekly, every Monday from 6-7pm

Location(s)Location(s): Angoche district, Nampula, Mozambique

Facilitation MethodFacilitation Method: Each session will be facilitated by district field officers assigned to respective village

Dissemination StructureDissemination Structure: All videos will be stored at the district office as well as on YouTube. Field officers will pre-load videos onto pico projector at the district office. All data collected from farmers during the facilitation will be submitted by the field officer to the district office manager for input into the database.

Required steps Timeline Person(s) Responsible Material Needed
Meet with farmer associations to gauge interest and availability 3/1 – 3/15 Logistics coordinator Information sheet about program
Create at least 4 videos before dissemination launch 3/1 – 3/30 Agronomy expert, district program officer Video equipment
Plan for field officer training 3/7 – 3/15 Training officer, district program officer, logistics officer N/A
Identify farmer groups for practice dissemination 3/12 – 3/15 Logistics coordinator N/A
Provide training to field officers on dissemination techniques 3/16 – 3/20 Training officer Training materials
Field officers practice dissemination 3/20 – 3/22 Training officer Evaluation forms
Establish viewing schedule with farmer associations in 6 villages 3/22 – 3/30 Logistics coordinator N/A
Conduct disseminations 4/1 – ongoing Field officers Dissemination equipment
Evaluation of dissemination approach and field officers 7/1 – 7/15 Training officer, district program officer Evaluation forms
Make improvements based on
findings of evaluation
7/15 – 7/30 Training officer,
district program officer, field officers
N/A

 

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How can we prepare our staff to facilitate video disseminations?

Now that you have planned your dissemination, you are ready to start training your staff on how to disseminate your videos directly to farmers. For the purposes of this toolkit, we will focus specifically on facilitated disseminations with farmers, since that will likely require the greatest amount of capacity development.

When selecting your facilitators, it is best to choose individuals who are already known and trusted in your target communities. These may be extension agents or field officers who are already working with your target audience, farmer organization representatives, or community leaders. If you need to hire someone solely for the purposes of dissemination and facilitation, you will want to make sure that they are able to connect with and relate to your target audience. Regardless of whom you choose to facilitate your disseminations, you will want to make sure that they are prepared. Viewers may associate an unprepared or unqualified facilitator with the accuracy of the video content, which may lead to a loss of credibility. Rightfully so, the farmer may think, "If the facilitator is this unprepared, how do I know that what they are talking about in the video is correct?"

The following are activities that you can use to help prepare your staff to be facilitators. If you are using this toolkit on your own, read these activities and try your best to work through them independently. Most of these are adaptations of activities used by Digital Green during its dissemination trainings.

Activity: Visioning

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Objective: Facilitators recognize the importance of understanding their audience's perspective.

One of the first things you should consider doing with your facilitators is a visioning exercise. Ask them to take 15 or 20 minutes either individually or in small groups to put themselves in the position of their target audience. Remind them that they should respond how they think the farmers they will be working with will respond. Guiding questions might include:

  • What are my needs?
  • What are my personal goals?
  • Where do I want to be in five to ten years?
  • What do I need to achieve those goals?
  • Why am I participating in the video screenings?
  • What do I expect to gain from participating in the video screenings?

Instruct participants to write down their answers on flipchart paper. Ask each group or individual to present their responses to the larger group. Once everyone has finished, facilitate discussion with the group by asking them:

  • What common themes did you notice from the different responses?
  • What is your role in helping the farmers to achieve their goals and meet their expectations?
  • What will that look like? What specifically will you do to facilitate this?

During the discussion, remind participants of the importance of their role in facilitating learning using the points in the box, To facilitate or not to facilitate? Most farmers will be participating because they feel that it will help them to achieve their personal goals. The role of facilitators is to make sure that each screening has value for the farmers and is relevant to their needs. Point out that it is vital for them to know their audience before any dissemination. They have the power to facilitate learning, but if they do not understand why each farmer is participating, then they will likely fail to fully engage them.

Activity: The Power of Questions, Part I

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Objective: Facilitators learn the power of open-ended questions for guiding exploratory learning.

Questions can be extremely powerful tools for engaging participants and facilitating learning, but they can also limit discussion and impede learning—whether deliberately or not. A good facilitator, therefore, needs to be a master of questioning. The purpose of this activity is to help participants to better understand the power of using open- and closed-ended questions.

An open-ended question is one that cannot be answered by a ‘yes,’ ‘no’ or specific piece of information. They are designed to encourage a meaningful response based on the respondent's own thoughts or feelings. Closed-ended questions are exactly the opposite. They are questions that call for specific responses, often without requiring any reflection.

Start by asking participants to stand in a circle. Ask if anyone in the group can define what an open-ended question is, followed by what a closed-ended question is. Is everyone in agreement? If not, facilitate discussion to explore the meaning of each term.

Once they have agreed upon a definition, the facilitator should ask for a volunteer to ask one open-ended and one closed-ended question to another participant. That participant should answer the questions and then ask one open-ended and one closed-ended question to someone else in the circle, and so on until everyone has participated.

Once everyone has participated, ask the participants how they felt when responding to each type of question. What is the value of each type of question? Describe some circumstances when you might use one over the other?

During the discussion remind the participants that it is important to use open-ended questions when facilitating discussions with farmers during dissemination. The facilitator is there as a resource, but also to encourage farmers to share their own experiences as they relate to videos shown. At the same time, closed-ended questions are also useful for wrapping up discussions or gathering specific pieces of information. It is important that a good facilitator recognize the power of each type of question and use them appropriately.

For some more practice, ask participants to think about and/or write down five pairs of open-ended and close-ended questions. For example, one pair could be "How do you feel about marriage?" and "Are you married?" Encourage them to share their questions with each other to make sure that everyone has a solid understanding of both types of questions.

Activity: The Power of Questions, Part II

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Objective: Facilitators learn the importance of responding to all questions asked.

Display an image that is unfamiliar to your participants—such as an abstract painting—and ask them to write down as many questions as they can think of in three minutes. Once they have finished, ask them to share their questions with the group. When the last person has finished, go to break without making any mention of their questions.

Come back from break. Ask participants how they felt about the exercise. Most will likely express frustration that you wasted their time without acknowledging or responding to their questions. Apologize and explain that this was meant to illustrate the importance of responding to any questions asked by participants. If they ignore a farmer's question during a video dissemination, that farmer may feel equally frustrated and be less likely to participate in the future. Let them know that it is okay to not know the answer. They should tell the questioner that they are not sure, make a note of their question, and let them know that they will try to find an answer and get back to them. Then make sure to actually follow up.

Activity: Say What?

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Objective: Facilitators learn the importance of actively listening and responding to their audience.

Actively listening to someone can be increasingly challenging these days as we have more distractions in our lives. As facilitators, however, your staff will need to be able to hone and practice this skill. If they do not appear to be listening to a participant when they ask a question or speak, they may interpret the facilitator's actions as uninterested or disrespectful.

Begin by asking participants to define active listening. Then ask how many of them use active listening in their everyday lives. Now put them to the test. Divide them into groups of two. Ask one person in each group to tell their life story to their partner. Everyone should stay in the same room so they will have to listen past the background noise. After a couple of minutes, bring everyone back together.

Ask the listeners how well they felt they were able to listen to their partner's story. Then ask the speakers to share how well they felt the listener was actually listening to them. If there is a disconnect between the answers, ask participants why they think that is so.

You can then provide them with a few helpful tips on active listening:

  1. Pay attention – Look directly at the speaker, avoid being distracted by your own thoughts or the environment.
  2. Show you are listening – Provide verbal and nonverbal cues that you are listening.
  3. Provide feedback – Paraphrase what has been said, ask clarifying questions, and summarize comments. All of these will help to confirm that you understand the speaker correctly and show the speaker that you are genuinely engaged in the conversation.

In the same groups, switch roles. The original listener should now tell their life story to their partner. The new listener should use the active listening techniques you have shared with them. Remind them not to focus too much on what those techniques are, because it could end up consuming their focus. Repeat several times in different pairs so that participants have ample time to practice.

Activity: It's All About Perspective

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Objective: Facilitators recognize the impact that experience and focal point have on shaping perspectives.

Many of us trust in the universality of our visual perception. In other words, if you gather a dozen people in a room and show them a picture of a rose, they will likely all agree that it is a rose. According to psychologist Richard Gregory, however, this is not always the case. His theory of top-down processing theorizes that our brains determine what we see based on past experience. This means that, in theory, two people can see the exact same thing but interpret it as something different. Although our perceptions are generally accurate, occasionally our brains make the wrong assumption.

Whether you believe in Gregory's theory, it is still worth mentioning the impact of divergent visual perception. This point can be illustrated through a few different optical illusions on the following page. Depending on one's point of focus, a different image will appear.

Present one of these images to the group. Ask them what they see. Divide them into groups based on what they see. If everyone sees the same thing, challenge them and say that you see the opposite image. Ask each group to try to convince the other group that they are right.

Give participants five minutes to carry out their debate. If no headway is made, inform the participants that they are actually both correct. The image changes depending on where our eyes are focused. This is important to recognize because sometimes a dozen different farmers may watch the same video and come away with different interpretations. As a facilitator, you need to recognize when this is happening so that you can guide your audience to a common perception. This may be through providing additional contextual information or by re-watching the segment in question to clarify the intention of the video. It is also important to realize that farmers may interpret what they see in the video based on their own experiences. Recognition of this will help your facilitators to explore ideas further with participating farmers. Otherwise, the participants will continue to talk past each other like the two groups which each saw a different image.

It's all about perspective image

Activity: Inclusion and Exclusion

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Objective: Facilitators recognize the importance of including all participants during disseminations.

As a facilitator, it is important to ensure that all participants are equally included during your disseminations. Despite our best intentions, it is natural to sometimes inadvertently exclude someone from a group who is different. That difference could be something as simple as being more soft-spoken or being a latecomer to the conversation.

One way to illustrate this point is to ask for a volunteer to facilitate a discussion among the group about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their place in local agriculture. In preparation beforehand, separately approach two participants without the knowledge of the other participants and ask for their help as volunteers. You should ask one participant to strongly take the opposite opinion on the issue as the majority of the group. This is to ensure that there is some dissent in the group. Ask the other participant to step out of the room at the start of the activity without saying anything to anyone, and not to return for 10 minutes. When they return, they should sit with the group but not say anything unless called upon.

Ask participants to sit in a circle and begin their discussion. Keep notes of what you observe. Does the facilitator make an effort to include all participants? How about the latecomer? If participants team up on the dissenter, does the facilitator do anything in response?

After 15 minutes of discussion, thank everyone for their participation and request to end the discussion. Ask everyone how they felt about this exercise? Did they feel like they were included in the conversation? If not, why? What might the facilitator have done differently to include them?

Point out your own observations and share with participants why it is always important for the facilitator to make sure that everyone is included. If the facilitator did a good job at including everyone, make this known as well. Remind everyone to be consciously aware of inclusion and exclusion while they are facilitating. If someone feels excluded, they may be more likely to stop attending in the future. Their lack of participation can also take away from the diversity of the discussion and the potential for collective, exploratory learning.

Activity: Learning to Use the Equipment

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Objective: Facilitators learn how to appropriately use and manage the equipment.

It is possible that the individuals you have selected to help disseminate your videos may not be familiar with the dissemination devices you have chosen to use. Even if they are familiar with the device, they may not have ever used it for video dissemination. You should provide ample opportunity for all of your facilitators to practice using the equipment, including:

  • How to turn it on/off
  • How to charge and replace the battery
  • How to set it up
  • How to load videos onto the device (if necessary)
  • How to play and navigate videos
  • How to troubleshoot issues (such as system freeze)

They will have more opportunity to use the equipment when they practice disseminating, but it is always best for them to familiarize themselves with the devices as much as possible beforehand.

Activity: Recognizing the Phases of Behavior Change

Note
Objective: Facilitators learn how to recognize and support farmers in each phase of behavior change.

Each farmer will react differently to the information in a given video. The facilitator needs to be adept at recognizing where each farmer is in the process of behavior change so that they can tailor their support appropriately.

From its experience working with farmers in India, Digital Green has identified five distinct phases of behavior change.

  • Resignation – Farmer rejects the information presented in the video and the need for change.
  • Exploration – Farmer expresses interest in the information presented and how it works.
  • Experimentation – Farmer begins to experiment with the processes shown in video.
  • Acceptance – Farmer accepts that the processes are worth adopting.
  • Adoption – Farmer adopts the processes.

After you have shared this information with your participants, divide them into five groups and assign each group a different phase. Give the groups 10 minutes to discuss and write on flipchart paper facilitator strategies for supporting farmers in the behavior change phase they have been assigned.

Once they have finished, invite each group to present their experience to the larger group. Afterwards, facilitate discussion on what has been presented. Does anyone have any other ideas besides those presented? Present the following ideas on the roles that a facilitator should play:

  • Resignation – Facilitator should listen to farmers and accept their feelings, and should try to identify the root cause of resistance to see if there is any additional information they can provide.
  • Exploration – Facilitator should work with farmer to prepare a plan to support the farmer in exploring the process.
  • Experimentation – Facilitator should be supportive and provide help as needed.
  • Acceptance – Facilitator should be supportive and provide help as needed.
  • Adoption – Facilitator should continue to be supportive and explore if farmers are willing to share their experiences with other farmers, either through a video or other means.

If any of the roles that were defined by the groups are different from the ones listed above, discuss why that might be so and come to a final decision about the role of a facilitator during each phase.

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How can our facilitators prepare to disseminate videos?

Once your facilitators have had enough time to practice the facilitation techniques provided above, you can begin to prepare them for actual dissemination. Before any dissemination, it is crucial that the facilitator has watched whatever video they will be screening and that they fully understand its learning objectives and core message. Selecting the right video is also extremely important. Whenever possible, you should only select videos that are relevant to the audience's skill set, circumstances, interest, and planting season. For instance, if your farmers do not grow wheat, a video on wheat is probably not going to be of value to them, unless they have expressed interest in growing wheat beforehand. Also, if it is currently the planting season but you play a video on harvesting, it might not be the most-timely choice. Consider something related to planting instead.

It is also important for the facilitator to anticipate what questions farmers might ask about the video so that they are prepared with answers. One way of doing this is by simply listing all of the questions the facilitator (and any available colleagues) can think of and then ranking them based on their probability and importance. You can use the Question & Answer Preparation Worksheet to facilitate this process. Going through this process will help to ensure that facilitators are as prepared as possible in advance of each dissemination.

You are also encouraged to develop a checklist of the steps that your facilitators will need to complete before each facilitation. This will ensure that they are well prepared and help to minimize difficulties. The specifics of your checklist will depend on your dissemination process, but it may look something like this:

  • Confirm screening time and location with group.
  • Watch video to prepare.
  • Prepare answers to potential questions.
  • Check equipment and accessories.
  • Prepare any documentation you need.
  • Pack up all equipment, accessories, and documentation.

You should also prepare your facilitators for what the general structure of facilitated dissemination will be like. This will vary based on your own approach, but it will roughly be structured as follows:

  1. Facilitator welcomes farmers.
  2. Facilitator introduces the video to be played and explains why it was selected.
  3. Facilitator plays video (pausing if necessary to answer questions).
  4. Once video is complete, facilitator leads discussion with farmers.
  5. Before finishing discussion, facilitator summarizes main points of video and discussion.
  6. Facilitator records attendance and any other information being tracked.
  7. Facilitator thanks participants and confirms next video screening time and location.

Each screening may take up to an hour for each 10-minute video after all of the other steps are taken into consideration. It is important for the facilitator to inform the group of the total amount of time needed in advance so that there are no misunderstandings about what is expected.

Once you have reviewed all of this with your facilitators-in-training, they are ready to begin practicing dissemination. Make sure that each facilitator has an opportunity to practice and receive feedback from their colleagues before they are assigned to begin live dissemination. Practice dissemination can be done in two ways: in front of their colleagues or in front of a group of volunteer farmers who will not be participating in ongoing dissemination. It is recommended that you first provide opportunities for practice in front of colleagues before moving onto practicing with farmers.

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How can we encourage the continuous growth and
improvement of our facilitators?

From the time you begin practicing dissemination, you should build in a feedback loop to encourage improvement. The best way to do this is to establish criteria for effective dissemination together with your team before practice starts, so that everyone understands how they will be rated. This will help them to perform their tasks in accordance with clear expectations and also enable you to provide them with constructive feedback based on those criteria.

A modified version of an evaluation form that is used by Digital Green, called the Dissemination Observation Form, is provided at the end of this component. Whatever you decide to use should be based on your own objectives, but this will give you an idea of how another organization is evaluating its facilitators. For example, rather than a grading system, you may want evaluators to write their comments and observations on the form, or perhaps you prefer a combination of grades and comments.

During the training phase, you should have all facilitators-in-training complete your evaluation form each time one of their colleagues is practicing disseminating a video. Once they have completed their dissemination, solicit feedback from the group on what they liked and what they thought could be improved. This process of continuous feedback during the training stage will enable your facilitators-in-training to internalize what is expected from them and how they can achieve those expectations.

You may also want to consider soliciting feedback fromfarmers who participate at practice dissemination screenings. This can be done using the same evaluation form, an abbreviated version, or through a facilitated discussion. If facilitating a discussion, it is best to include other facilitators-in-training as well so that farmers see that providing feedback is a natural part of the process and that they will not be judged by what they say. This feedback from farmers can be invaluable in helping your facilitators-in-training to adequately adjust their approach to meet the needs of a typical audience.

You should also encourage each facilitator to complete their own self-evaluation form after each dissemination they facilitate, both during training and as part of the actual dissemination activity. This will enable them to measure their own progress and continue to strive for self-improvement. This does not need to be something that they submit or share with their peers or supervisor.

Once you have begun actual dissemination, it is helpful to periodically ask facilitators and other project staff to attend their colleagues' disseminations to provide feedback. This will enable facilitators to learn from each other and further improve their own techniques. Scheduling for this should be built into your dissemination plan. It is important that facilitators understand that this exercise is not intended to catch them doing anything wrong, but rather a structured and continuous activity focused on improvement. You should also consider occasionally soliciting feedback from farmers about the dissemination techniques used by your facilitators. This will show that you value their input and will also help your facilitators to adapt their techniques to better suit the needs of their audience. More details on creating a farmer feedback loop can be found in Component 5.

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Success

Critical Success Factors

  • Audience is clearly defined.
  • Appropriate method for engaging your audience is selected.
  • Staff are well-prepared and receive ongoing feedback.
  • Disseminations are facilitated.
  • Messaging is reinforced through other media.

Worksheets

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