Teach by showing and learn by doing: Insights from a development agent in Ethiopia


Tejo Teneshu, 25 years of age, is a development agent  and a mother of two who lives in Edo Balo Kebele, Gedeb Hasasa Woreda, Ethiopia. As a development agent, Tejo is a government employee working closely with farmers and the community in support of the agricultural system.  In the Edo Balo Farmers Training Center, where Tejo works, three development agents  are assigned to support 410 farmers.

“We used to go door to door to teach farmers. but now the farmers not only hear from us but see the process and outcome in their own eyes.” With the new approach, the development agents’ role has evolved. “Our role has changed to more of a mediator,” says Tejo. According to her, Digital Green’s video extension approach recognizes the logistical and resource challenges faced by development agents in disseminating information about improved agricultural practices through individual interaction and enhances the knowledge of smallholder farmers, particularly women.

Tejo concludes with her idea of how she work with farmers:  “Go to the farmers, live among the farmers, learn from the farmers, plan with the farmers, start from what the farmers know, build on what the farmers have, teach by showing and learn by doing.’’ For dedicated development agents like Tejo, the video extension approach is one tool they can use to improve how they build on the farmers’ existing knowledge and work with them to improve their livelihoods.

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