“Regional Technical Workshop for West Africa condcuted in Ghana


The West Africa Networking Workshop was organized in Accra (Ghana) on June 27 and 28, 2016. More than seventy participants were drawn from the Universities and Ministries of Agriculture from Nigeria, Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Ethiopia.


Workshop theme


Rethinking the Role of Stakeholders for the Sustainability of SAFE Programs


Background to the workshop


Emerging issues such as food security, market development, climate change, general agricultural and rural development in sub-Saharan Africa brings to the fore the need for agricultural advisory services to have qualified and trained human resources to address the issues. SAFE programs continue to be relevant with the need to support agricultural advisory services to address the issues. Recent changes in political, socio-economic conditions and policies such as dwindling financial resources, decentralization and privatization of extension services in many African countries are affecting the effective implementation of SAFE programs and their overall sustainability.


Apparently, for some of the programs it seems as if the universities and mid-career students are not receiving the required support from all the stakeholders resulting in training institutions levying students to run the programs especially the SEPs. There is reduced interest or fatigue of some programs including those weaned and those yet to be weaned off SAFE start up support. Decentralization in countries is shifting ownership and training of extension staff from the Ministry of Agriculture to Local government and District level services. Alumni groups/associations that should assist programs are yet to be mainstreamed formally to support program activities. More than ever before, there is the urgent need to critically look at the current role of SAFE stakeholders vis-a-vis the sustainability of the programs. The effective implementation of SAFE programs and their overall sustainability hinges on the partnership with stakeholders who have played various roles over the years.


The analysis of issues pertaining to the role of stakeholders will be helpful in understanding perspectives, create appropriate solutions as well as build plans and actions that will gain greater acceptance for ownership and sustainability of the programs. It was within this vain that West Africa Regional SAFE stakeholder workshop was held.


Purpose of the workshop


The purpose of the workshop is to provide a platform for stakeholders of SAFE programs to reconsider their roles and re-strategize for ownership and sustainability of SAFE programs.


Specific objectives


The specific objectives are to:

1. Discuss the roles of key stakeholders in SAFE programs.

2. Analyze possible partnerships and synergies between the key stakeholders in sustaining SAFE programs.

3. Examine ways to mainstream the activities of Alumni, Local Governments, District Assemblies, and private sector groups into the SAFE programs.

4. Discuss ways to improve the sustainability of program in the face of current changes (decentralization and privatization) in agricultural extension delivery.


The workshop will answer the following key questions:


Who are the major/existing stakeholders and are there new ones?; What are the major roles of the stakeholders?; Are the stakeholders able to play the various roles effectively?; What are the new roles that stakeholders need to play in view of the recent changes in the political and socio-economic conditions in many African countries?; What strategies can stakeholders put in place to ensure effective implementation of their roles?; What are the threats to the sustainability and relevance of SAFE programs?; and What are possible partnerships and synergies that should exist between the key stakeholders in sustaining SAFE program.


Expected outputs of the workshop


 Major stakeholders in SAFE program redefined.

 The roles of stakeholders are ascertained.

 New roles of stakeholders defined in line with the recent changes in socio economic and political era.

 Strategies that stakeholders put in place to ensure effective implementation of their roles well defined.

 Threats to the sustainability and relevance of SAFE programs discussed.

 Possible partnerships and synergies that should exist between key stakeholders in sustaining SAFE programs rekindled.


Stakeholders and their roles


 The workshop identified the existing key stakeholders as Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, the Universities, Colleges and Training centres, Students, Farmers, Frontline extension workers, Cooperative agency, Non-governmental organizations, private sectors, Research institutes, Alumni associations, Other Universities, Media, Federal Ministry and Agribusiness Personnel and SAFE.

 The new stakeholders are Agro-processing Companies, Private Universities, Ministry of Local Government approval for study leave, financial institutions; agricultural input dealers, donors and development agencies, specialized government programs outside extension, FBOs and women's associations.

 The existing roles of the stakeholders are program evaluation, funding, staff training, employment of graduates after graduation, supervision, curriculum development and implementation, strengthening of linkages and provision of resources (personnel and space).

 The news expected to be performed include the use of students and Alumni as PROs for SAFE programs, signing of new MOUs especially with the new stakeholders, Networking and lobbying and advocacy, promotion of students after graduation, initiation of reward systems to motivate the students during training, development of income generation activities to sustain the program, funding the program and mainstreaming the SAFE into the government activities and development of follow-ups strategies to keep tenets of SAFE programs.


The workshop deliberations on challenges of sustaining the SAFE program were around the following key issues


 The main threat to sustainability of SAFE program is funding. The limited fund is making it difficult for universities and students to maintain quality and tenets of the program.

 The general enrolment of students and especially female candidates into the programs is dwindling. Competition from similar programs for potential candidates, inability of employers to immediately upgrade graduates after graduation and ageing potential mid-career students are affecting enrolment.

 The decentralization of extension advisory services is a threat to the existing delivery. The power of Ministries of agriculture and related agencies that seemed to own the programs is shifting to the Local Government authorities. Related to this undetermined commitment of the Ministry of Local Government to release and sponsor students is a threat to enrolment of candidates.

 There is low awareness and publicity of SAFE programs to the new employers for students, other Faculties and potential sponsors.

 There is poor maintenance and control of the Technology Village (the equipment and infrastructure).

 The inadequate communication among stakeholders. Avenues created for networking are not working due to waning commitment of stakeholders.

 There is poor recognition of Diploma program especially in the Francophone countries. Candidates with requirements to enrolments can directly enrol in B.Sc. programs of private universities in some countries.


The workshop agreed to use the following strategies to sustain the program


 Take advantage of Vice Chancellors forum and others to mainstream the SAFE programme in the university programme to create ensure ownership by the university.

 Strengthening National forum whereby universities and stallholders meet and exchange interest. Stakeholder meetings to address involving MoFA and the ministry of local government and the SAFE Institutions.

 Review entry requirements and consider non mid-career potential students into the programmes.

 To make use of new media such as social media and the SAFE website to improve communication among stakeholders.

 Strengthening the Alumni Associations and solicit funds for them to actively promote the SAFE programmes.

 Tie or link SAFE programme especially SEPs with government Agricultural Development Strategies and programmes (n-power Agro program).

 Develop proposals to solicit sponsorship from other donors with similar interest.

 Forge and strengthen linkages of in-country SAFE program activities to share learning experiences and fight a common cause.


Going forward, the workshop suggested to SAA and SAFE to support the development of the following new synergies.


 Joint meetings with stakeholders to plan and share commitments.

 Strengthen the Alumni Associations to foster partnerships with the other stakeholders.

 Promote development of journals and Newsletter to share experiences of SAFE programmes, student and staffs, scale up and out promising practices.

 SAA and SAFE need work together with synergy directed at programmes in the countries. Perhaps heads of SAFE institutions should sit in each other’s meeting to know what is happening and collectively take decisions.


Furthermore, SAFE should:


 Develop road map for implementation of workshop objectives. Devise a report format and ensure that colleges and universities report on progress.

 Create website for each institution under SAFE within the SAFE enclave to provide information about developments and share in the information.

 Consider the journal for promotion of SEPs .

 Promote in country SAFE programme interaction to address some of the issues.

 Create list serve to continuously promote share information.

 Encourage joint proposal writing among countries to source for funding to support SEPs.

 Support the commercialization of technology villages.





Voices from the Field

  • Empowering Groups with Special Needs in Ethiopia. More
  • SAFE program helping communities engage in value-chain oriented, improved agricultural practices. More
  • “SAFE`s part in my life has been immense”, Coulibaly K. Mallé. More
  • “No better time than now to thank SAFE”, Mesele Yilma, More
  • “When knowledge empowers you, challenges are not problems”, Patience Kantomah, SAFE mid-career student at Bayero University, Nigeria.More
  • "My dream to educate my children has come true", George Mutebe, Uganda.
  • “My thanks are enormous for Sasakawa`s intervention”, Misaye Mitiku, Ethiopia. More
  • “The reason why our cooperative is a primary model cooperative is because of Sasakawa`s intervention”, Tike Fekade, Ethiopia. More
  • “We realized crop failure is farmers’ failure”, Muhammmad Yaro, Nigeria. More

Vision 2020

Effective extension delivery systems in Sub-Saharan Africa that are based on farmer needs and demands along the entire agricultural value chain, with a special focus on smallholder farmers, most of whom are women.


SAFE Mission

Strengthening agricultural education institutions in sub-Saharan Africa to provide demand driven, value chain oriented, training for mid-career agricultural advisory workers.


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