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Community Contribution

Leveraging Continuous Learning to Improve Locally Tailored Solutions for the Management of Fall Armyworm

Danielle Niedermaier, Moustapha Gaye

The Feed the Future Management of Fall Armyworm (MFAW) in Maize for Smallholder Farmers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Activity is a seven-year project that increases maize yield among small-scale maize producers by reducing yield losses using integrated pest management (IPM) for fall armyworm (FAW) control and good agricultural practices (GAP).

Venture37 is promoting group-based adult learning through Farmer Field Schools (FFS) to apply new techniques to combat FAW and increase maize yields. MFAW’s midterm evaluation found that FFS have been an effective mechanism for dissemination of techniques for FAW prevention and have increased maize yields and reduced FAW damage. However, the project operates over an area roughly the size of Western Europe and was facing considerable challenges in ensuring oversight of dispersed FFS by limited regionally based project staff. This hindered MFAW’s ability to support existing FFS and scale them up to additional communities. 

Venture37 has leveraged the culture of learning we cultivated with the project and utilized Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) practices to determine a way forward. Through key adaptations such as investment in field staff in all project provinces, identification and training of community facilitators, clustering of FFS, and use of radio and video extension, Venture37 has diversified its approach in favor of one that is more locally driven, impactful, and sustainable. This is enabling the project to increase impact and promote sustainability beyond the life of the project. 

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