Dr Deola Naibakelao
Managing Director, SAFE.
SAFE's guiding philosophy: African tertiary educational institutions can offer responsive trainings to support agric. and rural dev't.
The main pillars of the SAFE initiative are lifelong learning, demand-driven curricula, experiential learning & rural leadership dev't.
The SAFE programs are demand-driven based on identified needs and designed to run as partnerships by employers and universities.
SAFE is involved in strengthening the capacity of agricultural training inistituions to play a pivotal role in rural development.
SAFE is the brainchild of the late Norman. E. Borlaug, the late Ryochi Sasakawa and former US President, Jimmy Carter.Read more
Editor-in-Chief, African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND), Kenya
Senior Research Fellow, Area Studies Center Institute of Developing Economies, Japan
Executive Director - Management, Sasakasa Africa Association and Sasakawa Fund for Extension Education, Japan
Director, Centre for Applied Studies in International Negotiations President,Network for Governance, Enterprenurship & Dev't. Switzerland
The SAFE Alumni Associations are established with the objective of putting the mid-career graduates under one umbrella for the purpose of sharing experiences, contributing to the improvement of agricultural extension in the target countries and consequently the development of agriculture at national level.Read more.
There is a growing realization that smallholder farmers do not maximize their full potential if their efforts stop at primary production. The smallholder farmers must go beyond production and add value at more points along the value chain. But traditional extension service providers currently focus on production agriculture. They are not sufficiently trained to provide advice beyond production. Hence, there is a need to develop new curricula and revise the current ones to cover the entire value chain agriculture.
This implies for the need for universities and colleges of agriculture in Africa to review existing curricula, develop demand-driven programs, and acquire modern training materials to help them equip extension students and field staff with vital skills and knowledge to cope with current issues in agriculture. The curricula in universities and colleges must be responsive to emerging needs of African farmers along the whole agricultural value chain to ensure that coping with the realities faced by smallholder farmers remain at the center of rural development efforts.
SAFE embraces the idea of educational programs and university and college curricula being demand driven, that they reflect the current and emerging needs of farmers covering the entire agricultural value chain, and therefore of the extension agents who serve them. SAFE training must be relevant, timely and highly focused on meeting the needs of clients. SAFE and its partner institutions have decided to revise and develop the curricula along the entire value chain agriculture in order to respond to farmers’ needs and thus positively impact their livelihoods.
Accordingly, one of the operational objectives of SAFE is creating an enabling environment to develop and make operational a comprehensive initiative for identifying all relevant stakeholders and working with them to understand and internalize the need for continuously assessing and upgrading the skills and knowledge of extension staff. Steps have already been taken in this respect. SAFE, together with all stakeholders and universities, has stematically reviewed and revised the agricultural extension curricula of participating training institutions to ensure relevance over time.
The new value chain-oriented curriculum has been launched at all universities running the mid-career program. While the old curriculum was production-focused, the revised curriculum has a strong component of value addition (which includes small-scale processing, safety and quality assurance, packaging, storage, marketing, etc)
|Content of the SAFE Program Curricula|
Curricula promoted under the SAFE model are based essentially on farmers` needs and they are always preceded by a systematic need analysis covering the entire value chain agriculture. The programs being promoted by SAFE are unique in several aspects. They are demand-driven and based on identified needs. The curricula are streamlined to focus on the needs identified and therefore take shorter to complete. The programs are designed to improve competence at work.
Perhaps the most important characteristic is their practical-oriented nature. The programs provide practical, hands-on laboratories, problem-focused courses and field-based enterprises. Experiential learning (learning by doing) is at the foundation of the programs. As part of their training, the students together with their employers, farmers and researchers, develop ‘supervised enterprise project’ proposals relevant to their job as extensionists that they go back and implement in their work places. The students implement the projects under direct supervision of the university and their employers who own the programs. At the same time, the projects also provide unique and rare opportunities for academic staff to assess the relevance and effectiveness of their teaching and to identify other opportunities for learning from real life situations. The projects, also commonly known as Supervised Extension Projects (SEPs), provide a forum for bringing together the students, employers, farmers and the education institutions.
Secondly, teaching and learning is a sharing of a mixture of theoretical and practical experience between teaching staff and the students. Instruction is structured to take full advantage of the two-way exchange of experiences. Students learn with their jobs in mind and always try to see where the new knowledge fits in their professional career. The programs buttress the practical experience of agricultural extension professionals to enable them to deal with the challenges of agricultural development in their respective countries.
Major Steps Involved in the SAFE Curriculum Development and Reform Process
The SAFE curriculum revitalization initiative involves seven essential steps in the process of curriculum transformation that are discussed below. The framework is not a blueprint, but a flexible guide to help universities and colleges in Africa that are in the process of developing their agricultural education curricula or reforming existing ones.
1. Informal dialogue among key stakeholders.
2. Clarifying common vision and mission.
3. Formal training needs assessment.
4. Workshop(s) for stakeholders.
5. Development of a responsive curriculum or reform of existing one.
6. Provision of back-up teaching/learning support services in the first few years of program implementation.
7. Establishing and forging strong networks among SAFE institutions and agencies to increase the stakeholders’ awareness of the need of continuously assessing knowledge and skill training needs of their advisory staff and market the program as means of filling gaps.
Click here to read more details about the major steps in curriculum development process.
The revised Curricula of Mid-career Training Programs
|Will be downloaded soon. Stay tuned!|
- University of Cape Coast,
- Haramaya University,
- Makerere University,
- Sokoine University,
- Kwadaso Agricultural
- Ahmadu Bello University,
- Rural Polytechnic Inistitute
for Training and Applied
Research (IPR/IFRA), Mali.
- University of Abomey
- University of Bobo
- University of Lilongwe,
- Hawasa University,
- Samanko Agricultural
- Bayero University,
- Adamawa State University,
- Bahir Dar University,
- University of Illorin,
- Mekele University,
- Jimma University,
- Wollo University,
- University of Segou,
- Usmanu Danfodiyo,
- Semera University,
- Arba Minch University,
- Jigjiga Univ.,
The 20th anniversary of the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE) was celebrated in Ghana (November 6-7, 2013). It was marked by a major symposium.