Video Coaching In The Diffa Region
In Niger, more than 80% of the population lives in rural areas. The main activities carried out by households in this environment are based on agriculture and livestock. The agriculture practiced remains subsistence agriculture.
To help agro pastoralist households make the most of their activities, Concern relies on knowledge transfer to complement the development initiatives promoted in its areas of intervention. Within the framework of the Shimodu project funded by the European Union, video-coaching has been integrated as a technique for learning new processes in agro-sylvo-pastoral production. Implemented by a consortium composed of Concern, ACTED, IMPACT and Welthungerhilfe from 2019–2022, the Shimodu project reached 37,735 people – mainly internal displaced people, refugees, returnees and host communities – affected by the security crisis in the Lake Chad Region through an integrated response, including access to water, education and health, the development of livelihoods and the improvement of local governance. To enable local actors (technical services and community-based organisations) to design integrated development strategies, Concern helped develop technical videos on good agricultural practices, benefitting local producers by building their capacities and influencing sustainable, resilient changes. The activity is being implemented in UNHCR urbanised sites in the municipalities of Diffa, Chetimari, Mainé Soroa, Gueskérou, Kablewa and N’Guigmi.
Video training is an approach that helps to improve the skills, knowledge and practices of agro-pastoralists. It provides the target communities with innovative and accessible learning materials in local languages and stimulates the sharing of experiences among peers. In addition, it helps to develop the spirit of entrepreneurship among young people. The video-coaching complements the technical agro-sylvo-pastoral training provided by Concern staff.
This approach is being implemented in the Diffa region, located in the Lake Chad basin, in collaboration with these key stakeholders:
Access Agriculture is a nonprofit organisation that promotes agroecological principles and rural entrepreneurship through capacity development and South- South exchange of quality farmer to-farmer training videos in local languages. It supports Concern
in the implementation of video coaching in the Diffa Region, and provision of the solar powered smart projector.
University of Diffa (UDA), The Regional Chamber of Agriculture and the Diffa City Council are state structures involved in this initiative. Their involvement in the process aims to facilitate the dissemination and sustainability of this approach throughout the region.
Identification of young entrepreneurs: In collaboration with the Regional Chamber of Agriculture of Diffa, Concern launched a call for expressions of interest to identify young agricultural entrepreneurs who would be interested in new information and communication technologies. The six (6) town halls played an essential role in this process, as they encouraged (through sensitisation) young people to apply. The same applies to the Regional Chamber of Agriculture (CRA), which received the applications, submitted them to Concern and participated in their evaluation. Following the evaluations, two (2) young entrepreneurs. and four (4) groups of young entrepreneurs
were selected. Some young people formed groups of two (2) to apply. The laureates were distributed among the six (6) communes, according to their place of residence
Young entrepreneurs Tchari Ayimi and Abdou Issa, Diffa Region.
Photo: Ali Moustapha/Concern Worldwide
Technical capacity building: The young entrepreneurs, as well as two students and two researchers from the University of Diffa, were trained on video-coaching by Access Agriculture. The training focused on the choice of videos, the conduct of viewing sessions with communities, the use of related equipment and the exploitation of the content available on the Access Agriculture platform. It also helped them with business development and using monitoring information to assist with planning.
Provision of equipment: Participants were provided with projection kits. Each kit consists of a Digisoft DCS kit
A smart projector, speaker, solar panel, tripod, battery and an external hard drive in which training videos are stored. (Access Agriculture App)
The projection kits are distributed as follows:
1 kit for each young entrepreneur (2 persons)
1 kit for each group of young entrepreneurs (4 groups of 2 people)
2 kits for the University of Diffa
With this equipment, videos can be viewed without the need for internet or electricity.
Young entrepreneurs and teachers of the University of Diffa have access to the online platform of Access Agriculture, which has thousands of videos recorded in several countries and in a multitude of languages. This data is regularly updated. Young entrepreneurs and teachers can therefore access various contents whenever they need them.
The topics covered in the videos provided by Access Agriculture during the training sessions were selected in collaboration with development actors in Diffa (capital of the Diffa region), in particular the Regional Chamber of Agriculture and the region’s technical services for agriculture and livestock. These themes are:
Technical itineraries for cereals, vegetables and legumes
Development of business plans
Adapting to climate change
The safety of food products
Sustainable land management
To ensure that participants understand the message:
A maximum of two themes are developed per video-coaching session.
The videos are translated into local languages. For the moment, 10 videos are translated into Hausa and 24 into Kanouri (the language most people speak). The translation is done by local journalists.
Deployment of Young Entrepreneurs
Twelve workshops were organised in six communes of the Diffa region (Diffa, Gueskerou, Nguigmi, Kablewa, Chetimari and Mainé_2 workshops per commune), in the framework of the Shimodu project. The workshops took place in the meeting rooms of the concerned town halls. These rooms were made available to the young entrepreneurs as a contribution from each commune. The meeting rooms of the town halls are the most appropriate places for the projection of the videos because they are protected from daylight and have electricity that could be used (to recharge some tools) if necessary. The aim of the workshops was to disseminate this new learning approach, to bring the young entrepreneurs into contact with the actors present and to stimulate the interest of the actors in the agricultural and pastoral field in this practice. During these workshops, the young entrepreneurs, each one or each group in the commune dedicated to it, made a presentation on video coaching and its added value compared to other training methods; this was followed by the projection of videos on the chosen themes. These first
workshops were attended by nearly 400 people, many of whom came from the surrounding villages.
As the Shimodu project has come to an end, further video sessions continue to be organised with the financial support of FORSA. This initiative aims to ensure better
implementation of this practice for greater sustainability.
Follow-up and Support
The young entrepreneurs are monitored and accompanied by an Access Agriculture team based in Cotonou, Benin. They carry out their activities according to a schedule designed in collaboration with the Concern and Access Agriculture teams. At the end of each month, the young entrepreneurs submit their activity reports. These meetings are organised online and are intended to evaluate the activities carried out, plan new activities, discuss difficulties encountered and explore possible solutions to the problems raised. They also provide a forum for sharing experiences between young entrepreneurs. Having this mentoring link helps the entrepreneurs to reach their potential and aids
sustainability. It also allows the entrepreneurs to share their experiences and plan for future screenings.
Since the launch of the video-coaching, almost 3,000 people have taken part in
video screening sessions. Among them, some volunteers have engaged in the
1. The women of the member groups of the multifunctional platform of Mainé, in the commune of Maine, have started a small ruminant fattening activity, the first time for them. Indeed, after watching a video on fattening techniques “trees and animals in the field”, these women decided to buy goats and billy goats at the beginning of the rainy season (June/July). They maintained them for 5 months. The ruminants gained weight; some goats even gave birth. On the eve of the end of year celebrations (Christmas and New Year), when the demand for ruminants (often slaughtered during the celebrations) is exploding in Nigeria, the women in the groups seized the opportunity to sell a good part of their ruminants to sheep exporters. Many of them report making a profit from this operation.
2. In the commune of Gueskerou, a few women have started experimenting individually with a new method of preserving onions. This initiative was taken following the screening of a video showing preservation of onions. Usually, in this commune, onions are spread out on fine sand in a given area. Every day, these onions have to be turned over to get better air circulation and the rotting onions have to be removed, as the risk of rotting is very high due to the moisture in the soil and the heat. After watching the video, now the women of Gueskerou preserve their onions by spreading them on Seko (woven straw), which is itself laid on bricks. This facilitates air infiltration and prevents the onions from coming into contact with the soil. The growers no longer need to check their onions daily. They can use this time to do other things.
3. Training by video is becoming the preferred method of learning at the University of Diffa. Indeed, the training courses are categorised into three (3) groups: theoretical courses, practical work and supervised work. Given the limited resources of the University, videos are used to conduct the practical work. In the opinion of Adam Barma, a teacher at the Institute Supérieur en Environnement et Écologie, a specialised institution affiliated to the University of Diffa:
“Video coaching is a means of facilitating the learning of agro-sylvo-pastoral practices. It allows us to combine practical knowledge with theoretical lessons. Previously, we used to take a lot of time to explain and re-explain certain practices to students, but now it only takes a few minutes to show a video and the message is almost automatically transmitted. Video-coaching is an asset for the University of Diffa. We will therefore practice it as long as possible.”
1. A much appreciated innovation Video training or videocoaching is a newly integrated learning method in the Diffa region. It responds to the training needs expressed by the rural population by complementing the theoretical training provided by Concern staff. Its innovative nature means that it is highly appreciated by many local actors, both institutional and physical.
2. Effective technology transfer Video-coaching facilitates the transfer and dissemination of new information and communication technologies in the rural world, through groups of young people. The latter discover intelligent technologies that they learn to manipulate; a reality that stimulates their passion for technical and technological innovations related to agricultural development.
3. Sustainability assured
Video-coaching is a sustainable initiative because of the way it is configured, involving several local actors, and the extent to which the activity is taking place in the target region.
The video-coaching is carried out by two (2) young entrepreneurs and four (4) groups of young entrepreneurs from the Diffa region. These young people are supported by the Town Hall and the Regional Chamber of Agriculture (CRA), which help them to organise the viewing sessions by providing them with equipped (chairs and tables) and electrified meeting rooms. The CRA and the Diffa City Council played an essential role in mobilising various actors, including the communities, around this initiative. This has facilitated the acceptance of these young people by communities and cooperatives in particular, who now request them for screening sessions.
The Regional Chamber of Agriculture (CRA) presented the video coaching as an innovation carried by the youth of Diffa at the Sahel Niger Show, 2022 edition. This allowed the young entrepreneurs to win a prize worth 300,000 CFA francs as a contribution from the public authorities to promote this initiative. The CRA is also ready to ensure the travel of these young people to the projection sites if a partner provides fuel.
Some young entrepreneurs have taken the initiative to launch videocoaching in their own villages; an initiative they intend to multiply in the coming months. Others have taken the initiative to promote agricultural entrepreneurship. They organise training sessions on entrepreneurship and use videos to show participants agricultural practices, according to the sectors chosen by the latter.
The University of Diffa encourages the use of Access Agriculture videos as a teaching aid. Some teachers use these videos to conduct practical work.
Training video launched by young entrepreneur Tchari Ayimi, in the commune of Chetimari, Niger, September 2022.
Photo: Tchari Ayimi/Concern Worldwide
Young innovators face some difficulties in implementing video-coaching:
•Insecurity: The Diffa region is plagued by recurrent violence attributed to Non-State Armed Groups (NSAGs). It has been under curfew since 2015. Some areas are off-limits for security reasons. For example, two planned workshops in the communes of Maine and Nguigmi were suspended after a GANE attack.
•The villages that are accessible do not have screening rooms or simply medium-sized enclosed spaces, so that the projected images are clearly visible. As a result, some of the screenings in the villages are held in the evening, at dusk.
•The young entrepreneurs do not have the means to travel, so they may be contacted by a group to broadcast a video on a specific theme. However, given this difficulty, the young people cannot travel to the villages to which they are invited, even though the Regional Chamber of Agriculture (CRA) says it is prepared to provide them with transport, provided that the fuel is covered by a partner.
•Not all videos are translated into local languages. Entrepreneurs are often obliged to interpret some of the videos from French, into the local language, to facilitate understanding of the message.