FIT-22: Technical Report. By Técnicos, for Farmers. Helping PITAs to offer technologies
FIT-22 is one of at least six 'FIT projects' (to promote technical innovation), funded by DFID-UK, in the Bolivian Ministry of Campesino Affairs and Agriculture.
Four courses, each 5 days long, were held at four sites in Bolivia during October-November 2005. Each site was at a different altitude, from 300 meters above sea level to nearly 4,000 meters, which helps to explain the wide range of tropical, temperate and high altitude crops that the project was involved with. The course, Helping PITAs to Offer Technologies, helped extension agents in PITAs (applied technology innovation projects) to organize and present new ideas to smallholders. During the course, each extension agent wrote a fact sheet, for farmers, on a specific technology.
This report describes how técnicos were taught to outline an extension message, in a simple, robust method called the 'snowman' (Chapter 1). It discusses tips for good writing, photography and layout and how these were taught to the extensionists (Chapters 2, 3 and 4). The only way to know if the audience appreciates and understands written material is to watch them read it, and to ask them to tell you about it. This type of validation is called 'farmer peer review'; farmers reviewed all of the técnicos' fact sheets (Chapter 5). Four narratives were written, describing some of the experiences: encouraging técnicos to 'Go Public' in a crowded market (Annex 5); how to solve a mystery for farmers while telling them about a problem they do not even know they have (Annex 6); asking a sugar-cane grower to 'peer review' the work (Annex 7); and about writing a fact sheet in Quechua (Annex 8), which some of the técnicos did not even think was possible.