Digital Green: Indian Idol for Farmers

This Entry has been submitted.

Digital Green: Indian Idol for Farmers

India
a
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Scaling
Budget: 
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Digital Green works towards improving food security and alleviating rural poverty. It does this by producing and disseminating videos by farmers, for farmers, and of farmers on locally relevant agricultural information. Its communication model blends technology and social organization to bring about behavior change, which empowers individuals to sustainably increase their productivities and incomes.

Digital Green works with public, private, and civil society organizations that are already working with farmers to maximize their impact. The Digital Green model has been found to be 10 times more cost-effective and 7 times more impactful when compared to traditional approaches. Given its potential for wide application, Digital Green is leveraging its platform to expand into other areas like health and nutrition.

Digital Green's network of partners and communities have produced over 2,200 videos and reached out to 100,000 farmers across 1,100 villages in India. Over the next 3.5 years, Digital Green aims to reach at least 1 million farmers across 10,000 villages in India and other parts of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Digital Green model has been shown to increase the efficiency of agriculture extension agencies by 20%.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

India is an agricultural country. More than 60% of India's 1.2 billion people depend on agriculture as a major source of livelihood. Today's farmers face hardship, amidst social, economic and environmental change. Agriculture productivity remains low in India. For example, average yields for rice production are just 2.2 tons per hectare when compared to global yields of 4.3 tons per hectare. A significant reason for this abysmal state is the large gap in agricultural knowledge in rural India. Agricultural knowledge is often protected by the interests of chemical and seed manufacturers and market access is restricted by middle-men. Without access to locally relevant and reliable agricultural information, farmers are forced to continue with traditional techniques of farming and rely on intuition and hearsay. They are unable to benefit from best practices and agricultural research, resulting in a downward spiral of poor decision-making, less productivity and low incomes. Digital Green has been and continues to fill this gap in knowledge. Over the next 3 years, Digital Green plans to connect 1,000,000 rural households across 10,000 villages in India with demand-driven information using its ICT-based communication model to transform lives.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Digital Green offers farmers better access to agricultural knowledge. This allows farmers to apply improved agricultural practices that boost productivity, yield and income. </br> Digital Green uses videos featuring local farmers, speaking in local languages, sharing personal experiences utilizing a particular agricultural practice. Examples include the use of improved seeds; new planting or harvesting techniques; the building of compost pits; natural pest control; the development of kitchen or homestead gardens; and other practices across relevant agricultural value-chains. Once videos are produced, they are then shown in villages by local intermediaries (or mediators), who explain the techniques, answer questions, encourage, and track adoptions of the behavior. The Digital Green approach uses a "dialogue" or "reflective" process among peers, rather than a traditional approach of outside "experts" telling clients what they should do. Videos highlight early adopters of innovation, who may also be seen as positive deviants in their community. While the videos provide excitement and a focal point, it is the engagement and empowerment of people and social dynamics, which drives the model’s success. Enthusiasm over new technology and innovation in general, and the thrill of appearing on video or seeing fellow community members on video motivates individuals to participate. The power of positive identification with peers is leveraged to minimize the distance between teacher and learner, and to maximize the adoption of the practices or behaviors being modeled. Digital Green collects data associated with the videos, including their reach, the feedback of viewers, and the uptake of featured practices. This data is aggregated and analyzed on near real-time analytics dashboards on the Digital Green website. The dashboards are built upon a data management framework called Connect Online, Connect Offline (COCO), which was created by a team of engineers at Digital Green to be accessible by any web-enabled device. COCO provides an open-access platform for sharing of videos produced and an opportunity to analyze data at the local level for decision-making regarding the production of subsequent videos, targeting of video distribution, and logistical planning. It also enhances accountability and measurement of impact.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Digital Green institutionalizes its model with the existing agricultural development activities of local NGOs and government initiatives to amplify their effectiveness. <br> The Digital Green model is defined by <ul> <li>Integration of technology into existing development efforts of civil society and public sector partners, building local capacity to utilize improved social and behavior change communication tools;</li> <li>Use of local social networks to connect intermediaries in rural and remote communities with content experts, development practitioners, and researchers at district-levels ("hubs and spokes");</li> <li> A participatory process for the local production of short learning videos by and for farmers aimed at capturing and sharing the adoption of new or improved practices;</li> <li> The dissemination of videos within similar communities, involving facilitated discussion, training and supervision;</li> <li>A hardware and software technology platform to exchange data in areas with limited Internet and electrical grid connectivity; and </li> <li>An iterative model to identify opportunities to better address the needs and interests of the community with web-based analytical tools and phone-based feedback channels.</li> </ul>
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

India has over 100,000 agricultural extension personnel. The government broadcasts agricultural programs over television and radio networks for the last 50 years, which reach large numbers of farmers across vast geographies; however, mass communication is often too general to be practically applied. On the other hand, agricultural extension systems of public, private, and civil society organizations distribute information through individual- or group-based interactions with farmers on demonstration plots, exposure visits, and training sessions Though successful in practice, these systems can be too costly for wide application and may target wealthier, large-scale farmers who are more willing to engage with such interventions. Although video itself has been tried many times in agriculture development before, Digital Green brings together a novel combination of components and techniques in which the use of video is only one aspect. The more critical aspects are how video is used and how it capitalizes on natural social dynamics to amplify a single extension worker's ability to exchange agricultural information in the community. The Digital Green system differs from previous work by using cost-realistic technologies, like pocket video cameras and pico projectors, to share knowledge and leverages a data management framework to capture usage data and feedback to progressively align extension efforts to better address the needs and interests of local communities. Though other organizations, like Digital StudyHall and Video Volunteers, have used video to support their interventions, they have either not ventured into the agricultural space or achieved scale. Organizations, such as non-profits like PRADAN and government agencies, with existing agriculture and livelihood development programs have come to view partnering with Digital Green as an opportunity to improve the efficiency of their own initiatives.

Comments

Great idea.

Digital Green works with public, private, and civil society organizations that are already working with farmers to maximize their impact. Buy Facebook Likes

Your article is very interesting and very useful for me. I really appreciate sharing this great post. Argan Oil

Sub-Saharan Africa. Digital Green model has been shown to increase the efficiency of agriculture extension agencies photo booth nj

Its communication model blends technology and social organization to bring about behavior change, which empowers individuals to sustainably increase their productivities and incomes. - themes

Sub-Saharan Africa. Digital Green model has been shown to increase the efficiency of agriculture extension agencies plumber hoboken nj

Indrani Sharma's picture

Thank you for being part of AFI Growth Prize Competition. We have one final question for you: do you have a strategy for financially supporting growth ?

Please post your response as a comment by Dec 15, 2012 to be considered for final evaluation.

I think this is a really good article. You make this information interesting and engaging. You give readers a lot to think about and I appreciate that kind of writing. Ergometer Testberichte

Indrani Sharma's picture

Are you paving the pathway towards a “nutrients for all” world?

To kick-off the Nutrients for All movement, Ashoka Changemakers launched a competition on April 17th, 2013, offering a total of $45,000 in unrestricted funding available for winning solutions. Throughout the competition, we will feature stories of innovation as well as conversation between thought leaders, experts, innovators, and media gurus from a wide range of fields to build a dedicated community around Nutrients for All. Here is the link: http://www.changemakers.com/nutrientsforall

Please apply by June 19 with your idea. Please feel free to nominate innovations from your network.

Great post i must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. However, is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and look forward to more. graphic design | Barito Putera | Teknisi elektronik

Your article is very interesting and very useful for me. I really appreciate sharing this great post. Keep up your work Teknisi elektronik

Hello,I love reading through your blog, I wanted to leave a little
comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wishing you the
best of luck for all your blogging . SERBA UNIK

Whereven I've seen people talk about this, they've mentioned it's sufi. And of course sufism is linked to Islam - I just said that there is a difference. Anyway, my point was that arguing about being Hindu/Muslim is stupid in a country like India. Our greatness lies in our secularism, etc. To see more info please visit essayswriters.org/paper-writing/.

hey've mentioned it's sufi. And of course sufism is linked to Islam - I just said that there is a difference. Anyway, my point was that arguing about being Hindu/Muslimyeast infection no more

randomness