Gender and Farmer Field Schools in Agricultural Production Systems in West Africa

By Julia Bello-Bravo, Francisco Seufferheld and Tolulope A. Agunbiade.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Farmer field schools (FFS) practice a participatory training approach to adult education of third world farmers. The FFS train and empower farmers in the experimental and decision-making processes of developing and applying new agricultural production strategies. Although FFS programs have been increasingly used as a mechanism to teach up-to-date agricultural methods to subsistence farmers in West African countries, the participation of women in these schools has thus far lagged behind male involvement in them. We explore the major social impediments to female participation in FFS in selected West African groups and discuss avenues for increasing female interest and integration into the FFS in this region.

Keywords: Gender, Women, Farmer Field Schools, Extension, Agriculture, West Africa

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.13-24. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 958.462KB).

Dr. Julia Bello-Bravo

Field Extension Specialist, Hispanic Programming, Extension, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, USA

Dr. Bello is part of an international team of educators and scientists focused on developing novel extension strategies for developing nations. Dr. Bello’s current work focuses on issues in Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Mali as they relate to specialty crops. She works on how to increase inclusiveness of under-represented people in educational networks and systems. She is also actively engaged in the development of (i) 3-D animations for the use on cell phones for explaining practically important scientific concepts to low literate learners in developing nations and (ii) in a system to share such materials internationally through an online peer-reviewed process.

Francisco Seufferheld

Extension Staff, Extension, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA

Tolulope A. Agunbiade

Doctoral Student, Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA