Internship SNV Uganda. Uptake of diary farm monitoring tool

The Inclusive Dairy Enterprise (TIDE) aims at strengthening the dairy sector in the South Western region of Uganda in terms of more and better quality milk and dairy production. It is expected that this will contribute to dairy farm household income among small and medium sized dairy farms and to employment creation in a stronger services sector, especially among youth. Furthermore, by stimulating consumption of nutritious food, including good quality milk from the region, the programme aims to contribute to improved dietary diversity among women of reproductive age and infants from dairy farm households and school-going children. In turn these impacts are expected to stimulate further growth of the local dairy farming sector.

Dairy farming practices

The TIDE dairy project in Uganda aims among other things to improve the farm productivity of Uganda’s dairy producers. For this purpose, we need to get a good understanding of the diversity of the in-farm practices and insights into how these affect farm productivity. Firstly, we need to assess current practices and monitor changes in them over a longer period of time and evaluate the project’s contribution to these. Second, we try to help both the project’s team and the farmers involved to co-construct relevant strategies to tackle the challenges of the dairy productivity in the areas where TIDE operates. 

For these purposes, we monitor a sample of 90 farms targeted by the project in the South West region of Uganda. This farm assessments will last till June 2019. Data are being collected every two months by local enumerators on herd performance, feed rations, and herd management via on-farm measurements and interviews with farmers. Part of the data is entered in a herd recording app, designed by the TIDE project for farmers. Besides supporting strategic decision-making by the TIDE team, the farm assessment data should also be useful for the farmers whose farms are being assessed. 

The innovation analyst

The innovation analyst has a communication/cognitive/innovation sciences background and will focus on the challenges associated with the use of the farm assessment app in the Uganda’s farm context. As a innovation analyst you will analyse the process of innovation (utilisation of the app and data) and will be less focused on the technical content of the data. Key questions you will address include for instance: Who is using the app and who is not, why? What functionalities are used more than others and why could that be? What data (reports) is actually being used by farmers? What aspects of the data, the app, the farmer, and the environment may play a role in this and how? What are the implications of these insights for the design of the app, the kind of data and data reports? How to ensure the regular and accurate data supply? How to create an attractive and adaptive tool and reporting system that would stimulate the use of the app in practice? How to motivate farmers to actually use the app as a decision support tool allowing them to adjust their practices but also to adjust the tool according to their needs? Who should and could be the users of the app (employee, young, farm owner, farm spouse)? How to ensure the sustainability of such a tool at the end of the TIDE project? 

What will you need to do

  • Familiarise yourself with Uganda dairy sector and the TIDE programme. This means reviewing documentation, speaking to staff and partners, perhaps interviewing various stakeholders, observing and so on;
  • Get a thorough understanding of the farming and practices data that TIDE collects. Understand why what type of data is being collected, how the data collection efforts complement each other, and if and how data is used and why;
  • Observe the data collection process and report on this;
  • Analyse data from the farm assessments (predominantly productivity, feed rations, feed costs);
  • Write easy to understand report on the data analysis;
  • Assist the farmers in using the data and developing recommendations on improvements such as for instance feed ration, manure management etc.;

What knowledge, skills and experience do you need to have?

  • Thorough knowledge of behavioural change theories concerning the uptake of innovations in agriculture and information technology
  • Good knowledge of communication strategies
  • Good understanding of information technology / apps
  • Experience with in-depth interviews and observation methods
  • Very good verbal and written communication in English
  • Experience with data collection in the field—preferably in developing countries—is considered a strong advantage.