Video Sierra Leone 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 Sierra Leone

The USAID-funded Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS) project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in collaboration with Njala University (NU) in Sierra Leone, 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 Sierra Leone”. The training was aimed at enhancing the capacity of the public, private and civil society institutions in the agricultural extension and advisory services system in Sierra Leone. The training was organized under the guidance of MEAS Director, Professor Paul McNamara.

The hands-on training workshop brought together 23 participants from the Ministry of Agriculture Forest and Food Security (MAFFS) of Sierra Leone, World Vision (WV), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI), and Njala University. The training was facilitated by Dr. Suiyigheh Joyous Tata (MEAS Project/UIUC, USA), and Messrs. Francis Chepyegon and Phil Malone, both of whom were from the Access Agriculture, an International NGO based in Nairobi, Kenya.


Day One - Tuesday January 14, 2014

The training began with a formal opening session that consisted of participant registration, a word of welcome from Rev. Dr. Edwin Momoh, and official opening and welcome address from the Vice Chancellor and Principal of Njala University, Professor Abu Sesay. After this participants were asked to introduction themselves and share with the group their interests in “farmer-to-farmer extension videos” with respect to their current job engagements.

After this, Phil and Francis gave a brief overview of the usefulness of “farmer to farmer extension videos” in agriculture and opened up group discussions with participants on how farmers learn.

After this, workshop participants were organized into groups according to three local languages in Sierra Leone (Mende, Temne & Krio languages). The idea was to work with these groups to translate the audio scripts of the “African Rice” videos into the respectively dialects. Each group had a total of 8 members. The three groups were given the guidelines for translating audio scripts.

Before the groups began the translation of the audio scripts, a brief presentation was done by Dr. Joyous Tata (who had just arrived that morning) on the MEAS project titled “Videos as a tool for Modernizing Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services” In her presentation she emphasized that MEAS is keen on documenting the impacts of the training and the lessons learned in the field. At the end of her presentation, she informed the participants that a questionnaire would be given out the following day that would enable MEAS to document impacts and lessons learned for the training. She also shared some handouts about ICT projects that MEAS has been involved in. She called on the institutions represented to be ready to share how they plan to integrate the training they were receiving in their existing programs.

The groups were given hard as well as electronic copies of the video scripts entitled: Effective Weed Management, Managing Soil Fertility for Healthy Rice, Rice Transplanting and Cashing in with Parboiled Rice for onward translations into their respective local languages. After some group exercises, the facilitators made quick assessments of the groups’ performances in terms of their translation efficiencies. The groups then went to work actively translating their selected audio scripts into respective local languages.   

Day one ended with a word of thanks and appreciation for the work done from facilitators and organizers for everyone’s active participation. Participants were urged to come on time on day two.

An outline of the training activities during the four-day period in Sierra Leone was as follows:

Day one

·        Principles of local languages translation

·        How to write for spoken word

·        Why timing is important

·        Importance of checking with farmers

·        Practical exercise

·        Lifting the words from the pages

·        Adjusting for timing

Day two

·        Audio recording

·        Using the recording equipment

·        Recording local languages for a program

·        Transfer to computer

·        Importance of renaming the files

·        Creating a project on the editing computer

·        Good file management

·        Working in projects

·        Placing the new language on the video editing time line

Day three

·        Group Work

·        Finishing and placing of audio files

·        Adjusting volume levels

·        Outputting video files

·        Outputting “clean” WAV FILES

·        Recording another program

·        Placing and finishing audio files

·        Outputting final volume and audio files

·        Using the files for radio

Day four

·        Finalizing group work

·        Closing ceremony

·        Discussion on lesson learned

·        Discussion on plans for the future

·        Presentation of certificates of completion of training

·        Group photographs

Day Two – Wednesday January 15, 2014

The day started with a brief reflection and recap of the previous day’s activities. After that a group photograph was taken with the students from the University of Illinois who were scheduled to leave for Illinois that afternoon. Following this, Rev. Dr. Edwin Momoh presented the 50th Anniversary T-Shirts bearing hall colors and names of some former great Sierra Leoneans (Yellow - Mammy Yoko, Red - Matturi, Green - Lamina Sankoh and Blue - Milton Margai) as souvenirs to the University of Illinois students.

A presentation of results obtained from the use of videos in agricultural extension in Bangladesh, Ghana and Mali was done by Dr. Tata, while citing other tangible reasons for using videos in agriculture. Additionally, baseline questionnaires were distributed to participants in order to document the impacts of the training lessons learnt in Sierra Leone.

Another presentation by Phil ensued on practically using the Zoom H1 Audio Recorder, in which handouts and guidelines for recording voice-overs were handed out to participants.

Alongside the translations of the scripts, an exercise that lasted almost the whole day, sub-groups of the Krios and Temne that had gone through their audio script translations were taken to the “carved-out” studio for voice-over recording practices and finalizations; a session that took the day’s training exercise to an end.     


Day Three - Thursday January 16, 2014

A quick recap of the previous day’s work was done; followed by an outline of the objectives of the day as follows:

·        To record scripts in local languages and,

·        Aid farmers listen to other farmers.

Just before the group exercises began, the questionnaires earlier given out by Dr. Tata to participants for completion were handed back to her.

In a bid to achieving the above objectives, working in groups on translating the various scripts routinely continued to the extent of recording the additional completed scripts. Some of the groups advanced to the stage of importing their recordings into the computers for editing using the Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 software used for editing voice-over recordings.

Tutorials on importing recordings from the voice recorders into the computers through USBs for subsequent editing were facilitated by Phil and Francis, while group practices took off. Video editing and inner mentoring sessions continued till the end of the day.       

Day Four – Friday January 17, 2014

The final day kicked off excitingly. Participants who had already acquired knowledge and skills on translations in indigenous languages, voice recordings and editing, showed their interests in what they referred to as an inspirational moment by fully engaging in their respective remaining exercises.

Even though all the subgroups did not have enough time to finish, one of the subgroups, the Krio group, completed its editing and showed their completed work to the plenary. They were very happy to see that they had produced one of the “Africa Rice” videos in their own dialects.     

Before viewing the Krio video on “Rice Transplanting”, experiences were shared among participants in the following areas: translating languages, recording voices, ‘Zoom Machine’ operations, and editing videos; they focused on recording attitude, confidence, and “shot” timings. The technical usage of local language terms became critical in the discussions, where participants were able to reactivate their traditional language potentials by putting into practice the theories or principles in agriculture they had earlier acquired in classrooms.

While leading the lessons learned session, Phil noted strongly that the videos developed would be shown to farmer audiences and would either be modified or edited when applicable. As one participant expressed difficulty in speaking his own language, it was clarified that the texts are not grammatically emphasized in scripts’ translations, but rather more applied to spoken words in order to ensure user friendliness by farmers.

After watching the ‘Rice Transplanting’ video in Krio, the group was asked to re-visit the following for further editing: the title, confidence when speaking, and timings on the “shots” on the scripts.

The participants who successfully completed the four-day training were awarded certificates of completion. Alongside the certificates, participants were also given the “Scientific Animations without Borders – SAWBO’s” 8G Flash Drive from MEAS.  During the awards ceremony, Dr Edwin Momoh thanked the USAID-funded MEAS Project and the Access Agriculture for providing this capacity building support to Sierra Leone. Dr. Momoh also thanked the NGOs and partners who had come from other counties for their hard work and commitment during this training. He wished everyone a safe journey back to his or her destination.

On behalf of the Director of MEAS, Dr. Joyous Tata extended heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the Vice Chancellor & Principal of Njala University, NGOs, and the organizers; especially Dr. Edwin J. J. Momoh for hosting the workshop. She urged the participants to take the work very seriously as it will impact on the lives of the farmers in Sierra Leone.

Conclusion: Discussions on plans for the future

The training came to an end with a group discussion between facilitators and participants on how to move the work forward. A discussion of which organizations were more involved with rice farmers. Based on discussions with the participants and their recommendations on how to move the work forward, the following was done:

·        One of the voice recording microphones was given to the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) because of their active involvement with rice farmers in the North;

·        The video editing computer equipment along accessories was given to Njala University of Sierra Leone, to be used in partnership with other NGOs and stakeholders around that region;

·        Forum for collaboration among participating stakeholders through teams for regular meetings; and

·        Videos for farmers to be mostly done in Krio; as it is the commonly spoken language in Sierra Leone; even though Mende and Temne languages are also important for use in other designated locations in the country.

Donated Equipment and Accessories

The full list of the equipment donated to Njala University was as follows:

·        Computer Editing System c/w Adobe Premiere Pro;

·        CS6, Encore CS6 & Firewire;

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

·        Fully tested and optimized for video editing/DVD authoring;

·        System restore disc;

·        Firewire socket and cable;

·        UK mains cable;

·        Verbatim hard disc in case;

·        Targus City Gear Messenger Bag; and

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