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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

The Empowerment Route to Well-being: An Analysis of Farmer Field Schools in East Africa

Friis-Hansen, Esbern; Duveskog, Deborah


The study explores empowerment and well-being related outcomes of Farmer Field Schools (FFS), an extension approach that has gained popularity with agriculture development programs in many African countries. This is done by examining the empirical relationships between FFS participation and increased well-being; as well as FFS participation and empowerment; and finally between empowerment and enhanced well-being. Data analysis from the two thousand household questionnaires show a relationship between these aspects, despite contextual differences in the three countries studied. It is thereby argued that there could be scope to talk about an empowerment route to well-being. The paper further suggests that the most significant impact of FFS could be viewed in terms of building the capacity of local people to make choices and make decisions that ultimately lead to increased uptake of agricultural innovations, access to services, and market access as well as collective action. A major conclusion of the study is that agricultural development programs should focus more on processes of empowering farmers as opposed to technical solutions that characterize most programs, in order to create an appropriate mix of technological and social advancement for a development process that is sustainable in nature. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Farmer Field Schools; empowerment; poverty; well-being; East Africa; agricultural extension

Published in

World Development
2012, Volume: 40, number: 2, pages: 414-427

    SLU Authors

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG3 Good health and well-being
    SDG1 No poverty

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Occupational Health and Safety
    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

    Publication Identifiers


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