Posted to the Ethnos Project by on August 18th, 2013

Digital Green is dedicated to improving the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of small farmer livelihoods. We aim to raise the livelihoods of smallholder farmers across the developing world through the targeted production and dissemination of agricultural information via participatory video and mediated instruction through grassroots-level partnerships. This work begins by disseminating targeted agricultural information to small and marginal farmers using a cost-realistic media exchange that is supported by existing, people-based extension systems and local facilitators.

The unique components of Digital Green are (1) a participatory process for content production, (2) a locally generated digital video database, (3) human-mediated instruction for dissemination and training, and (4) regimented sequencing to initiate a new community. Unlike some systems that expect information or communication technology alone to deliver useful knowledge to marginal farmers, Digital Green works with existing, people-based extension systems and aims to amplify their effectiveness.

While video provides a point of focus, it is people and social dynamics that ultimately make Digital Green work. Local social networks are tapped to connect farmers with experts; the thrill of appearing “on TV” motivates farmers; and homophily is exploited to minimize the distance between teacher and learner. The Digital Green system still requires the support of a grassroots-level extension system, but it magnifies its effectiveness by using relevant content and a local presence to connect with farmers on a sustained basis. Indeed, Digital Green was shown to be ten times more effective per dollar spent.

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