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Introducing a farmers' livestock school training approach into the national extension system in Vietnam

Research reports

A new livestock extension approach for training of trainers (TOT) and smallholders in Farmers’ Livestock Schools (FLS) is gradually being introduced to the national extension system in Vietnam. The approach combines experiences from Farmers’ Field Schools in crops, with other practical, group and field-based, interactive learning methods. Although the new concept is substantially different from the traditional extension method it has, after initial
scepticism and reluctance, been embraced by local institutions. Curricula and training manuals on pig, semiscavenging chicken and duck production have been developed and tested in TOT courses, and FLS are now underway in pilot communes with around 1000 predominantly poor, small-scale farmers. Finding ways to introduce new development concepts and methods and gradually alter the perceptions, attitudes, and behaviour of the
individuals and institutions involved has proven to be the key challenge and a precondition for success. Patience and perseverance combined with long-term commitment to the programme from both government and donor is helping facilitate the on-going change process. Broad stakeholder involvement in, commitment to and ownership of process and product are prerequisites for sustaining and expanding the programme. Considerable challenges remain in the further development and mainstreaming of a truly participatory, cost-effective and sustainable training programme, and in integrating FLS activities into a broader framework for small livestock micro-enterprise
development.

Jens Peter Tang Dalsgaard, Thai Thi Minh, Vo Ngan Giang