31 January 2017. Brussels. Special event held in conjunction with the AGA on “Broadening the
funding base of the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS), co-hosted by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and GFRAS.

This event specifically seeked to engage development partners and other actors in a practical discussion on avenues to expand the funding base of GFRAS and increase the involvement of Platform donors and partners in the substantive work of the Global Forum.

  • GFRAS Steering Committee Chair, Dr. Rasheed Sulaiman V (Director of the Centre for Research on Innovation and Science Policy, Hyderabad, India) set the scene, introduced GFRAS, reviewed how Rural Advisory Services (RAS) are operating in South Asia, their contributions to addressing development challenges in the region, and the development gaps that Rural Advisory Services can help to resolve. He then presented progress in organising, reforming and improving Rural Advisory Services in the region across the different stakeholders and provide perspectives on the strategic roles of RAS in broader development. He conclude by discussing the ways in which GFRAS supports Rural Advisory Services to take up these roles effectively.
  • Mr. Karim Hussein, GFRAS Executive Secretary, provided a brief overview of the current GFRAS structure, vision, mission and strategic fields of action, its key partners and its ways of working (Working Groups, thematic initiatives etc.). He gave a snapshot of some thematic areas in which GFRAS has an interest: those it has focused on in the past, current activities of GFRAS and possible areas it will focus on in the future (e.g. producer organisations; policy for extension and RAS; Education and Training and the ‘New Extensionist’; Global Good Practices; ICT4RAS; nutrition; youth; rural-urban issues; access to services in fragile situations; etc.).
  • The last speaker was Mr. Felix Fellmann of SDC, a donor representative in the GFRAS Steering Committee and GDPRD member representative. Mr. Fellmann presented the reasons why Switzerland has been interested in being a founding donor and active partner supporting GFRAS since its establishment and why it would like to see others join to scale up the activities and capacities of GFRAS to make a difference at the country, regional and global levels.

Resources from GFRAS:

  • GFRAS Strategic Framework 2016 – 2025 
  • GFRAS; The first five years 2010 – 2015
  • AESA Policy Brief 1. CAPACITY NEEDS OF EXTENSION AND ADVISORY SERVICES (EAS) IN SOUTH ASIA. Agricultural Extension in South Asia (July 2016)
    Undertaking Capacity Needs Assessment (CNA) is critical for organizing appropriate capacity development interventions. AESA organised four workshops on CNA of EAS in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal with the following objectives: (a) Identify capacity gaps among EAS providers; (b) Finalise a methodology for undertaking capacity needs assessment.
  • ASSESSING CAPACITY NEEDS OF EXTENSION AND ADVISORY SERVICES. A Guide for Facilitators Agricultural Extension in South Asia (2016)
    This guide is intended to assist facilitators in conducting a workshop with Extension and Advisory Service (EAS) providers for assessing their capacity needs. It builds on the outputs of the National Workshops on “Capacity Needs Assessment of Extension and Advisory Service (EAS) Providers” held in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal and it uses a blend of interactive approaches for different sessions with tips for facilitators for effective delivery.

Events:
Training for Facilitators – How to lead workshops and meetings efficiently and effectively
20 February 2017 – 24 February 2017, Geneva, Switzerland

PAEPARD video interviews:
Mr. Felix Fellmann of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) answers following questions:

  • How to make sure GFRAS is not another platform but close to the field concerns?
  • How can GFRAS be a good broker?
Dr. Rasheed Sulaiman V, GFRAS Steering Committee Chair, answers following question: “Why is GFRAS an important player in rural agricultural innovation systems?”

This post was originally published at PAEPARD and has been republished with permission.

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