Monitoring the long-term impact of training

The courses created by the Virtual Learning Centers (VLCs) are designed to be practical and orientated to solve real problems at the local level. Therefore, we expect that our learners will be able to apply what they have learned in their day-to-day activities and share their new skills or knowledge with others.

Most of the courses include an assessment to measure how well our trainees have improved their knowledge and skills by the end of the training course. We also monitor longer-term impacts. Keeping in touch with VLCs users, our VLC coordinators follow up with learners to see if they are able to put the skills they have learned during the course into practice in their daily work. 

VLC courses also aim to improve the way that the organizations who nominate trainees are able to function and, whenever possible, to provide opportunities that improve the professional careers of those participating in our courses.

The impact of some of our training is provided below:


 African Swine Fever Preparedness Course

African swine fever (ASF) is a viral disease of domestic pigs and wild boar with a fatality rate of up to 100 percent. ASF introduction to a pig population leads to huge economic losses, trade disruptions and challenges to the livelihoods of pig keepers. This transboundary animal disease has been rapidly spreading, and has had a significant impact in the affected countries, including on smallholder farms. In many cases these countries were not sufficiently prepared to fight against ASF.

The objective of the ASF online courses was to improve the capacity of veterinarians and veterinary paraprofessionals to:
•   carry out an outbreak investigation in cases where ASF is suspected.
•   explore available control measures.    

The VLC in Europe and Central Asia developed a course on ASF, which was then adapted by the VLCs in other regions by revising, translating modules and creating examples more suitable to the local context. These include:

  • The VLC in Asia and the Pacific has developed mobile-first modules for those who study using their smartphones in remote locations.
  •  The VLC in Latin America and the Caribbean was able to quickly respond to the ASF emergency in the region, as outbreaks appeared in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, by offering the course in Spanish to multiple countries.
  • Following the ASF crises in Eastern Europe, the course has been translated into Russian.

There has been an overwhelming response to the call for nominated participants for the ASF course, with submissions coming from Chief Veterinary Officers and from independent applications in each region. 
√ 583 people were reached in Asia (33 countries)
√ 372 in Southern Africa (15 countries)
√ 306 in Europe and Central Asia (12 countries) 
√ 320 in Latin America and the Caribbean (11 countries). 

The online discussion forum in the ASF course enabled colleagues and experts to network and share knowledge. Opportunities have arisen which have facilitated the cascading of training at country level and to develop specific courses for farmers and other stakeholders.


 Poultry Farmer Field Schools

Poultry production and health require knowledge of good practices in animal husbandry, biosecurity and food safety. In addition, appropriate use of antibiotics is an important driver of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) emergence, one of the biggest health threats the world is currently facing. This course aimed to support facilitators of Farmer Field Schools to cascade appropriate knowledge on how to prevent AMR to poultry farmers.

The course was developed by a multidisciplinary team from different parts of FAO, including the Animal Production and Health Division, the Global Farmer Field School Platform, and FAO country offices in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Trainees accessed learning materials in the form of videos, pre-recorded presentations and other interactive materials on a dedicated course page. They also interacted with experts on poultry production, farmer field schools and AMR in an interactive discussion forum and live sessions, including live presentations and group discussions.

A total of 47 participants (18 women and 29 men) consisting of trained farmer field school facilitators from Zambia and Zimbabwe took the course to expand their knowledge on poultry production and AMR. The course has led to the following:

√ More informed farmers: the facilitators will use their learning to train poultry farmers and increase awareness about appropriate antimicrobial use. 
√ Education and empowerment of family poultry producers: The farmer field schools approach strengthens knowledge of holistic agro-ecosystem management, improves decision-making skills, and facilitates collaboration and collective action. 
√ More sustainable and efficient production systems for family poultry producers with less antimicrobials.

Currently the course has been rolled out in Zambia and Zimbabwe as a starting point. Efforts will be made to establish collaborations for the extension of the training in other countries in the region and beyond. 
The trained personnel will be empowered to go out and make use of the skills gained to cascade knowledge and to facilitate the farmer field schools.
In addition, the farmer field school concept can be applied to other animal species to address production and health issues.

Last modified: Wednesday, 10 August 2022, 7:58 PM