Course Details - Farmer Agency : a Practical Approach for Farmer-Inclusive Food System Transformation

From dependency to farmer agency

Farmers are often seen as dependent, poor people, who, as ‘target groups’ or ‘beneficiaries’  need to be helped out of their current situation.  Government, company and donor efforts to listen to, and learn from farmers are rather limited. As a result, farmers are still only partially involved in the design and implementation of food system development programmes, even though they are the central players. Farmers deserve better! Farming is business and farms are (small) enterprises.  Family farms constitute the majority of the world’s small and medium enterprises (SME’s) and make up the largest part of the private sector. There are no reasons for not considering farmers as entrepreneurs. That’s what the course is all about: Farmer Agency for Rural Economies (FARE).  Curious to know more about the backgrounds and the fundamental principles of the FARE approach ? Go to extra course information: From dependency to farmer agency.

Practical and complementary analyses for action

The FARE cycle, guide and toolbox offer an action-oriented approach which helps making the inevitably complex food system approach more actionable. With easy-to-use tools, the FARE design process leads to:

  1. in-depth analyses with a high level of farmer involvement;
  2. the identification of challenges, opportunities and options for action and;
  3. well-structured action planning according to complementary intervention areas, with special attention to multi-stakeholder collaboration.

Participants in a FARE training course develop an action plan for their own FARE case, as well as a personal action plan, which concentrates on the application of the tools in their own working situation.

The course thus leads to practical results for you. To learn more about the FARE cycle, complementary intervention areas and action planning for farmer-inclusive food systems, go to: Analyses for action

New insights, capacities and tools

The course is structured according to seven blocks:

  1. Introductions and start-up;
  2. Farmers’ realities and conditions;
  3. Organisation and collective action of farmers;
  4. Agricultural production and family farm management;
  5. Value creation and market access;
  6. Team play for sustainable and inclusive agrifood system transformation;
  7. Strategic and operational planning

To learn more about these seven blocks and detailed learning objectives and content, go to: FARE guide and toolbox

Course programme

The course starts in August 2022 with preparatory exercises and two sessions for technical and social on-boarding. The course formally starts in September with the introduction of the FARE approach, which combines attention to farmer agency with systems thinking, and the presentation of the practical cases of the participants, which will be their reference during the learning process. Participants learn and apply multiple analytical perspectives and tools, ranging from profiling of individual farmers and their households to the analysis of complex agri-food systems, while giving due attention for the organisation of farmers and their collective action, agricultural production and farm management, value chains and farmers’ value addition and market linkages, agri-finance, policy environment, ICT and multi-stakeholder collaboration. 

The ‘Farmer Agency’ course is interactive and action-oriented. Participants have the opportunity to learn from the international experience of the trainers and to learn from each other. The variety of training methods (pre-course assignments, lectures and discussion, videos, group work, case studies, tool introductions and exercises, brainstorming sessions) accommodate different learning styles and secure the exchange of knowledge and experiences. 

For detailed information about the flipped classroom approach, the training materials, the course certificate requirements and the detailed course programme, check out the extra course information: Course organisation and programme.

This course is taught in a blended format: partially online and partially in person in an OKP country

Our courses are currently taught blended and follow this format:

  • Online pre-course assignments for you to get to know WCDI and for us to get to know your work environment and your expectations about the course;
      • Interactive plenary sessions where we share content, review assignments and facilitate exchanging experiences. During those interactive sessions we work with a number of online tools like Google Jamboard, Mural and Mentimeter. A part in online sessions and a part in person;
  • Group work either online or offline where you with other participants address a specific question or do an assignment. Results of these assignments are also shared and discussed during online sessions;
      • Individual assignments where you will read literature, watch videos, and do exercises on your own. These assignments are an essential part of the learning and most of them count for getting the certificate. They are meant to introduce or deepen knowledge and make the link between theory and your own situation. These assignments are reviewed either by peers or facilitators.

In some, but not all courses we go on virtual field visits – showing you ‘live’ situations in the field, or with companies or organisations that we collaborate with. We offer coaching trajectories where we support you one-on-one or in small groups to review your individual learning paths in the course and help with any basic questions you may have.

Online platforms: Zoom and TalentLMS

Internet connection is important for the completion of the course. Not sure about the connection in your area? Send an e-mail about your situation.

We use Zoom as a facilitating platform for all our online courses. Our courses take place in general over a 6-8 week period to make the workload and time you spend online manageable.

Our online learning system is TalentLMS. Everything you need — our course programme, chatrooms, assignments, background information are in this system. TalentLMS is easy to operate, can also be accessed by your phone and has an on-and offline functionality. We even organise a technical check-in before the course starts, to test your facilities and get familiar with the tools.

Course planning and certificates

The course workload is approximately 16-20 hours a week (2-2.5 workdays).

The exact programme of your course will be available 2-3 weeks before the start of the course. If you’ve successfully completed your course we send you a digital certificate.

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