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LFSP beneficiaries share their experiences through Learning Project videos

Group of farmers

The Livelihoods and Food Security Programme (LFSP) has transcended an important milestone by releasing a series of beneficiary-produced videos through the Learning Project. The name, Learning Project, is self-consciously taken from the BBC Radio 4 programme called the Listening Project, which records conversations between people on any subject and plays back an edited version over the radio several times a week.

Although not exactly tailored to this latter specification, the LFSP’s Learning Project videos provide a first hand narrative of the programme’s beneficiary experiences –undiluted and uncut from beginning to the end. This aspect makes them unique in their formatting content.

An innovative approach to Monitoring, Reporting and Evaluation

The approach is experimental and innovative and is, in our view, appropriate as an additional component of the Monitoring, Reporting and Evaluation (MR&E) of the LFSP. The Learning Project’s  approach is based on the notion that “it’s surprising what you hear when you listen.” The aim is to enhance existing evaluation activities of LFSP.

Very often, evaluating a development project’s impact is reported by second and third parties, but the Learning Project harnesses the undiluted power of self-reporting that is not very common. In addition, the beneficiaries conduct the filming of themselves carrying out their daily activities in the natural context of the LFSP programming and expressing their experiences with the programme.

Where can we obtain the videos?

The videos will be shared as and when formatting is completed. More information shall be provided on this page. Below are links to 4 of the released videos:

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Sugar bean production factsheet

Sugar bean is one of the value chains promoted by the LFSP because they are a valuable source of protein, enhance the quality of the soil through nitrogen fixation and have a good commercial value for farmers.

The LFSP’s APN component has developed a sugar bean production factsheet to guide farmers and extension staff to grow the crop.

Access the sugar bean production factsheet, here.

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Shona post harvest guide, available

Post-harvest losses usually occur after harvesting. It usually starts first from the field after harvest, in the harvesting process, in storage, during transportation and in the markets.

Several losses are known to occur because of poor facilities, lack of know-how, poor management, market dysfunction or simply the carelessness of farmers.

The LFSP is supporting several value chains across its Agricultural Productivity and Nutrition (APN) and Markets Development (MD) components. All these value chains are prone to prost harvest losses incurred mainly by the producer-the farmer. The APN component has therefore developed a Shona post-harvest handling guide to educate the farmer on the importance of avoiding produce losses in order to maximize benefits from their hard earned produce.

Access the post-harvest training manual, here.

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Sorghum production guide

Sorghum is a traditionally important crop in Zimbabwe that can be grown in marginal areas where maize my not thrive. Sorghum is more nutritious than maize and is rich in carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. It contains dietary fibre and has higher protein, calcium and iron content.

In Zimbabwe sorghum is an important cereal crop ranked second after maize. It is indigenous to Africa and is adapted to Africa’s climate. It is drought resistant and able to withstand periods of water- logging. It is one of the few viable food grain for most food insecure areas and can be produced successfully in low rainfall areas in Zimbabwe including natural region IV which receives 450-650 mm of rainfall annually.

Production of the main staple maize continues to dominate in these semi-arid areas of Zimbabwe where sorghum production would be more appropriate. This makes it pertinent that sorghum production is actively promoted in such marginal areas, especially given the adversities presented by climate change. However, growing sorghum is not without its challenges as many farmers do not have guides on how it is done. To address this challenge, the LFSP’s APN component has designed a sorghum guide especially for demonstration farmers and extension workers to use.

Access the sorghum production training manual, here.

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Shona guide on how to avoid Aflatoxin, now available

Aflatoxin is a type of mold that is considered a human carcinogen. It’s found in certain commonly eaten foods including groundnuts and maize, and is most harmful to these foods in Zimbabwe.

In Zimbabwe many farming communities pile the remains of harvested grain plants to decompose in areas with high moisture and high temperatures. This promotes aflatoxin mould growth whose spores are easily transferred by wind to healthy plants still in the field or under storage nearby.

The LFSP is promoting several value chains which are susceptible to the aflatoxin threat including mung beans, cowpeas, sorghum and millet. All farming communities in Zimbabwe also grow the maize staple which is at risk to this mold.

The LFSP’s APN component has created a Shona dialect guide for farmers and extension staff on how to avoid aflatoxin.

Access the “Avoid Aflatoxin Guide”, Here.

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LFSP-APN develops production guide for small grains

Small grains are useful economic and food crop especially for communities living in agro-ecological zones III, IV and V in Zimbabwe because they are tolerant to semi-drought conditions. Their significance in these areas is more critical now given the challenges presented by climate change. The LFSP’s Agricultural Productivity and Nutrition (APN) Component has produced a quick production guide for 3 drought tolerant small grain crops, namely sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet.

The production guide is meant to provide field based agricultural extension personnel and farmers with quick reference material to guide them in the promotion of small grain production.

Download the production guide for small grains here.