Video Liberia Jan 2014

Action-oriented training and capacity building on dubbing and utilizing extension videos in local languages as a tool for agricultural extension and advisory services in Liberia

Purpose and Background of Workshop

The USAID-funded Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS) project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and Development Alternatives International (DAI) in Washington DC, in collaboration with the Liberian Ministry of Agriculture and the USAID-funded Food Enterprise Development (FED) Project hosted an “action-oriented training and capacity building on dubbing and utilizing extension videos in local languages as a tool for agricultural extension and advisory services in Liberia”. The training is aimed at enhancing the capacity of the public, private, and civil society institutions in the agricultural extension and advisory services system in Liberia. The training was organized under the guidance of MEAS Director, Professor Paul McNamara of UIUC

The four-day, intensive hands-on training course concluded at the Head Office of the FED Project on 6th Street Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia. The training workshop was held from January 20-23, 2014 and brought together 13 participants from the Ministry of Agriculture, National Farmers Union Network (FUN) of Liberia, Bureau of National Fisheries, Walapolo Farmers Association (WAFAMA) and the FED Project. The training was facilitated by Dr. Suiyigbeh Joyous Tata (MEAS Project and UIUC, USA), and Messrs. Francis Chepyegon and Phil Malone, both of whom are from Access Agriculture, an International NGO based in Nairobi, Kenya. The MEAS and Access Agriculture facilitators first conducted this training Workshop at the Njala University in Sierra Leone (January 12-17, 2014) and then came to Liberia for the second leg of the training.

Training Methodologies

The participants of this training course were trained in the use of video tool and dubbing in local languages and utilizing extension videos, several of the AfricaRice videos served as the staring point; they discussed the ways farmers learn and the usefulness of “farmer to farmer extension videos”.  Debates were also held on the importance of local languages with some of the issues involving translation from one language to another. The participants were organized into four groups tasked with working on one of the programs and developing them either in the Kpelleh or Bassa version.

The idea was to work with four teams to produce versions of “Africa Rice” videos in two local languages, namely Kpelleh and Bassa, which are widely spoken in Bong and Grand Bassa Counties, respectively, as well as some towns in Margibi, Nimba and Lofa that border Bong and Grand Bassa counties. This maiden extension-training workshop covered relevant topics on rice production and post-harvest handling including transplanting, soil fertility management, effective weed management, and parboiling. Equipment brought by Access Agriculture Facilitators enabled a mini-studio to be set up for recording the voices.

Daily Sessions - Overview and Outcomes

Day One - Summary

1.      Principles of local languages translation

a.      How to write for spoken word

b.      Why timing is important

c.      Importance of checking with farmers

2.      Introduction to communication

3.      Introduction to extension

4.      Practical sessions

a.      Lifting the words from the pages

b.      Adjusting for timing

Day Two – Summary

1.      Audio recording

a.      Using the recording equipment

b.      Recording local languages for a program

c.      Transfering to computer

d.      Importance of renaming the files (carrying out recording videos by videos and language by languages)

2.      Creating a project on the editing computer

a.      Good file management

b.      Working on the project

c.      Placing the new languages on the video editing time line

Day Three – Summary

1.      Group Work

a.      Finishing and placing of audio files

b.      Adjusting volume levels

c.      Outputting video files

d.      Outputting “clean” WAV FILES

e.      Recording another program

f.       Placing and finishing audio files

g.      Outputting final volume and audio files

h.      Using the files for radio


Day 4 – Summary

1.      Finalizing group work

2.      Closing ceremony

a.      Discussion on lesson learned

b.      Discussion on plans for the future

c.      Presentation of certificates of completion of training

d.      Group photographs


Main Lessons Learned, Next Steps, and Closing Ceremony

Lessons Learned

The main lessons learned were to get the timing right and to ensure that the “style was one of conversation.” Eventually the voice files were transferred to a video editing laptop computer for matching with the video. At the end of the training, the participants realized the following:

1.      Training in and creation of video documentaries requires lot of commitments;

2.      It is very costly to create videos documentaries;

3.      A sizeable number of participants is key for hands-on-training (3-4 persons per computer recommended for group work);

4.      There is a need to have some extension and communication staff with expertise in speaking, writing, reading, and translating in local languages at the Ministry of Agriculture;

5.      Prior to video photo, it is important to do background research with farmers through interviews to get to know what the level of farmers’ knowledge and interests are;

6.      Limited capacity in translating the video scripts of extension materials from English to the local languages; and

7.      Scientific research findings are generally not reported in the languages that farmers understand.


Next Steps

In an effort to scale up this training, further discussions are needed on the following:

·        Whether training in local video production of the “Farmer to Farmer” style would be useful;

·        Whether this should be done in Liberia or in partnership with Sierra Leone;

·        Ways to encourage viewership of local language videos;

·        Ways organizations can work together on subjects of interest to Liberian Farmers; and

·        If other training were recommended, this would need to be in an area close to farmers during an intensive two-week period.

It is suggested that camera and editing equipment be supplied as part of the agreement.


Closing Ceremony

The participants who successfully completed the four-day training were awarded certificates of completion. During the awards ceremony, the Deputy Minister for Extension at the Ministry of Agriculture, Thomas Gbokie, Jr., thanked the USAID-funded MEAS Project and Access Agriculture on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Florence A. Chenoweth; He thanked them for providing this capacity-building support to Liberia, especially at a time when the Government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Agriculture, is endeavoring to rebuild the national agricultural extension and advisory services system. Deputy Minister Gbokie also extended heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the FED Chief of Party, Ms. Agnes Luz and her staff, including the FED Agriculture Extension Consultant, Mr. Adovor Doe, for their support in hosting the workshop at FED Offices.

Hon. Gbokie spoke of his delight at seeing the output of the trainees at the end of the training workshop. He said, “The advice and best practices from other West African farmers can now be shared with our own Liberian farmers.” He indicated that the skills acquired by the Liberian trainees can be built upon and that such training provides opportunity of cooperation with the different organizations and development partners in the Liberian agriculture sector as well as within the sub-region.

On behalf of the Dr. Paul McNamara (Director of MEAS), Mr. Phil Malone, head of the facilitators, also thanked the Ministry of Agriculture for its leadership and support, the FED, and the participants for their interest and responsiveness to the training.

Donated Equipment and Accessories

As part of efforts to continue to enhance the skills of the Liberian trainees and support the Extension Department of the Ministry of Agriculture in the production of extension videos for the dissemination of improved technology and best practices, Mr. Malone donated the video editing computer equipment, listed below, along with accessories to the Ministry of Agriculture, Liberia:

       i.          Computer Editing System c/w Adobe Premiere Pro;

      ii.          CS6, Encore CS6 & Firewire;

     iii.          Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, Encore CS6 (includes disc and serial numbers);

     iv.          Fully tested and optimized for video editing/DVD authoring;

      v.          System restore disc;

     vi.          Firewire socket and cable;

   vii.          UK mains cable;

  viii.          Verbatim hard disc in case;

     ix.          Targus City Gear Messenger Bag; and

      x.          Zoom Digital Audio Recorder, including stand, windshield, handle and USB cable


The value of the donated item to the Ministry of Agriculture is Four Thousand Five Hundred United States Dollars ($4,500.00 USD).