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  • Writer's pictureThelma Anike

Amplio to Promote Inclusive Agriculture Extension Services in Northern Ghana

Updated: Dec 20, 2023


Market vendor, Ghana - © Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images/Images of Empowerment


Amplio Ghana Chosen as ACDI/VOCA Sub-Grantee for USAID-Funded Feed the Future Ghana Market Systems and Resilience Activity (MSR)


Amplio is proud to announce its selection as a sub-grantee for the Feed the Future Ghana Market Systems and Resilience Activity (MSR), a five-year, $39.5M initiative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Implemented by ACDI/VOCA, the project aims to create more competitive and resilient markets, propelling inclusive agriculture-led economic growth in northern Ghana.


Amplio Ghana will play a pivotal role in the project by deploying our Talking Book technology. This battery-powered audio device is specifically designed for users with low literacy, providing a unique solution to bridge educational gaps between extension agents and smallholder farmers, targeting women and youth in nine districts across the Northern, North East, and Upper West regions.


Amplio brings to this activity award-winning experience in responsible technology and community outreach, an understanding of social and behavior change communication (SBCC), and a commitment to inclusive digital development.


Inclusive Training for Women and Youth


Agricultural extension agents in Ghana deliver vital training and education to smallholder farmers. But, they face challenges in enhancing farm productivity and alleviating rural poverty and food insecurity. These obstacles include a shortage of extension agents, inadequate services for women smallholder farmers, low literacy rates (31.3%) among farmers, limited transportation, and a lack of effective technology for extending training to farmers in remote areas. Women farmers also face more barriers due to a male dominated extension system and gender disparity in the percentage of ownership and use of mobile phones.


As an implementing partner, Amplio assumes a pivotal role in enhancing the capabilities of extension agents. This includes delivering training through the Amplio Talking Book and cultivating group learning dynamics among smallholder farmers. The strategic distribution of Talking Book devices to 300 farmers' groups is tailored to meet the educational needs of women and youth in remote communities. This initiative aims to overcome challenges such as low literacy levels and entrenched gender norms, aiming to facilitate broader access to knowledge for underserved populations.


Bridging the Knowledge Gap in Farmer Education


Amplio is dedicated to narrowing the gender gap in farmer education through its inclusive digital solution. For MSR, the Talking Book will serve as a tool for extension agents to deliver consistent and accurate information, promoting increased adoption of new knowledge, practices, and services among smallholder farmers, especially women and youth. Even after an agent departs from a community, farmers can continue to access lessons on the Talking Book to enhance their learning and retention.


Alhassan Danaa Fuseini, Amplio’s field officer for the MSR activity, emphasized the importance of this approach: “By offering an equitable and neutral tool, we can help reach and share knowledge with women and other marginalized groups in agriculture, reversing the imbalances created by a male-dominated extension system.”


Strengthening Agricultural Knowledge


Amplio conducted a thorough assessment across nine districts and has joined forces with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to develop comprehensive audio content for the Talking Books. Content will cover agricultural practices, addressing topics such as optimal land and seed selection, as well as effective pest and disease control for maximizing crop yield and postharvest management. The value chains covered within the Ghana MSR activity include maize, shea, bambara beans, soybean, cowpea, groundnut, fruits and vegetables, mango, and moringa.


For the MSR activity, Amplio will produce the audio content in three local languages: Dagaare, Dagbani, and Mampruli.


Beyond simply listening to Talking Book messages, farmers have the capability to directly record their questions and comments on the devices. This feedback, coupled with Talking Book usage data, will provide invaluable insights into community issues and needs, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges and requirements at the grassroots level. Amplio will use these insights to update and improve Talking Book content throughout the project.


Anticipated Impact on Smallholder Farmers


Amplio's activities within the Ghana MSR initiative will span across nine districts: Sagnarigu, Nanton, Karaga, Mion, Yendi, East Mamprusi, Nadowli-Kaleo, Daffiama-Bussie-Issa, and Wa East. The project aims to directly engage 7,500 smallholder farmers through Talking Book training, with an estimated 52,500 indirect beneficiaries.


Simon Tang, Amplio’s program manager for the project, expressed excitement about the collaboration: “ACDI/VOCA selected Amplio for its innovative approach to social and behavioral change through technology. The decision to leverage Talking Books aligns with MSR’s goal to tackle challenges faced by farmers and promote the adoption of improved agricultural practices. We are delighted to partner with ACDI/VOCA to drive positive change at the grassroots level, contributing to sustainable agriculture and economic development in northern Ghana.”


For inquiries, please reach out to Simon Tang, Senior Partnerships and Business Development Officer, at simon@amplio.org.


 

Feed the Future Ghana Market Systems and Resilience Activity (MSR)


Led by ACDI/VOCA, the Ghana Market Systems and Resilience Activity (MSR) is a five-year, $35.9M follow-on project to USAID/Ghana ADVANCE II. MSR will leverage over a decade of experience linking smallholders to markets, inputs, and services in Ghana,

with funding from USAID’s Ghana Mission under the Feed the Future initiative.


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