68-5 Building Capacity of the Iraq Extension System: An End-of-Project Evaluation of the 2007-2011 Iraq Agricultural Extension Revitalization Project.

See more from this Division: ASA Section: Education & Extension
See more from this Session: Applied Agronomic Research and Extension: II
Monday, October 22, 2012: 2:10 PM
Duke Energy Convention Center, Room 251, Level 2
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Kevin Murphy1, Katherine Whitney2, Roland Smith3, Susan Waage4, Michael McGirr4, Edwin Price2, James Hill5, Jay Lillywhite6, Jagath Kaluarachchi7, Louise Ferguson5 and Christopher Pannkuk8, (1)Washington State University, Pullman, WA
(2)Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
(3)Texas Agrilife Extension Service, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
(4)USDA/FAS, Washington, DC
(5)Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA
(6)Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM
(7)College of Engineering, Utah State University, Logan, UT
(8)International Research and Agricultural Development, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
The Iraq Agricultural Extension Revitalization (IAER) Project, led by Texas A&M and a consortium of land-grant universities including Utah State University, University of California at Davis, New Mexico State University and Washington State University, was initiated in 2007 to assist in the strengthening of the Iraqi extension system to facilitate Iraqi rural economic development.   Funded by the Department of State (DOS), IAER was a partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture/Foreign Agriculture Service (USDA/FAS) and United States Department of Agriculture/National Institute for Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA). One of the primary components of this project included multiple, in-depth science-based agricultural trainings of Iraqi extension personnel from 2007 to 2011.  A total of 44 trainings directly reached over 720 Iraqi Extension and university personnel.  In addition to trainings in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, each participating US University hosted 12 Iraqi Extension professionals during six-week training sessions that emphasized hands-on experiences, field days and farm tours, in-person seminars and face-to-face discussions. The impact of these trainings was measured through pre- and post-training tests, open-ended questionnaires, an “intention to adopt” survey, customer satisfaction surveys and independent end-of-project interviews.  Ninety-seven percent of extension specialists surveyed reported learning new knowledge during IAER trainings and 92% reported that they used this knowledge to the benefit of their client farmers.  There was a 7 and 13% increase in the number of Extension professionals who reported they have begun working with women and youth, respectively, after attending an IAER training event.  Important lessons learned from this project include the need to: 1) involve Iraqi university professors as trainers; 2) improve communication between IAER and the Iraqi Ministry of Agriculture; and, 3) develop relationships with, and secure input from, lower-level Ministry offices.  Specific recommendations for future projects of a similar nature include the need to: 1) refocus the objectives of the program to reflect a needs-based, bottom-up approach with extensive feedback from producers or lower-level Extension agents; 2) to improve programming for women and youth; 3) improve communication between Ministry of Agriculture and other ministries associated with agriculture; 4) better communication and involvement of higher education institutions in agricultural development; and 5) provide resources for Extension workers to initiate, develop and carry out farmer field demonstrations.
See more from this Division: ASA Section: Education & Extension
See more from this Session: Applied Agronomic Research and Extension: II