Thursday, 10 March 2011
According to a 2009 article in New Scientist magazine, Britain’s leading popular science weekly, it can make a huge difference.
New Scientist was reporting on a study in Benin, in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability. The study described how a team from the West Africa Rice Centre was attempting to transfer knowledge to women farmers in West Africa, on the topic of “how to parboil rice”.
They tried a variety of ways to transfer the knowledge, including workshop demonstrations, and video demonstrations. They found that firstly the video attracted more watchers than the conventional workshops (74% of women in the villages, as opposed to 22%), and secondly that the reuse of the knowledge by those who attended was much higher (72% as opposed to 19%).
The author of the study suggests a few reasons why the video was a more effective way of transferring knowledge than a workshop demonstration.
The people telling the story in the video were women rice farmers from Africa, not western scientists. This delivered a level of trust in the knowledge, as it was being demonstrated by peers.
The videos were designed with the user in mind, making the steps of the process obvious and also the principles behind the process.
Local farmers were then able to adapt the process to their local conditions,
and to create local version of the equipment that worked for them.
This video has been a huge success, and the team are now translating it into other languages for use elsewhere in Africa