Dear colleagues, I am seeking to get insight into how to measure/evaluate behavioural change in response to a capacity building intervention in the agriculture sector.  I would be grateful if someone could please share with me your thoughts on the topic. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Hi Kaleab,

One approach which has worked in my experience is outcome harvesting. Outcome harvesting is a monitoring and evaluation methodology used to identify, describe, verify and analyse the changes brought about through a development intervention. It is designed to collect evidence of change, and then work backwards to assess contribution to that change.

I also facilitate behaviour change  using SALT approach and have worked in Bangladesh with fishing and farming community.

Best wishes

Thank you for your reply, Rituu. It is really helpful.

I do usually use the before - after questionnaire based on the topics covered in any workshop/capacity building initiative. In case it is done already then would have mailed across a simple format with questions on the topics covered to the participants; with a column to address  the source of  such knowledge. This sample study then could be extrapolated during report writing. 

Thanks Anirban for pointing out a research/an evaluation design to measure the effect of capacity building interventions.

Dear Kaleab,

Indeed, outcome harvesting is focusing on behavioural change. Alternative approaches include 'Positive Deviation', 'Most Significant Change' and 'Causal Link Monitoring', and 'Outcome mapping' as a forward looking tool that supports the monitoring of behavioural change.

All of these are explained on better evaluation.org and I am happy to arrange a meeting if you want to discuss on the best fit for your particular case/project.

Thanks Michael, I would love to hear more from you about the alternative approaches. I will inbox you. 

All above are good and in my opinion surveys are good for checking changes in behaviour. Comparison of own views and other’s views in relation to countable changes (eg. Increase in yield, or less chemical use or whatever was the objective of your project). If you can do FGDs, do it wherever is applicable.

Thanks Parmod for letting me know about the methods of data collection during measuring behavioural change.

Generally agricultural projects are focused on training farmers or extension workers on improved farming practices. You can look at increased knowledge of better farming practices and adoption of recommended practices including seeds, pest management, fertilizer application and post harvest management. Please read E.M. Roger book on innovation adoption. I can help you with more insight if you could tell me about the project. Hope this is useful as of now.

It is really helpful Shankar. The capacity building programme I am referring involves training farmers (globally) on sustainable use of mineral fertilisers,  pesticides, and water resources. What would you suggest as the top three methods to gauge behavioural change attributed to the training?   

Surveys have been used extensively to assess knowledge and adoption of improved farming practices. You can include qualitative methods also to know more about why, how, etc. I have done several such studies - Adoption of Good Agricultural Practices while working with TechnoServe.

The behavior change can be observed by a researcher or self-reported by the participants on questionnaires. Willingness or intent is usually measured through questionnaires. Actual behavior (e.g. not willingness or intent to take an action) is measured through direct observation or self-reports.
Field observations can occur in numerous ways, but windshield surveys and GIS are commonly used. One may also depend upon secondary data collected from various sources.
You may take into account new technologies, farming methods, strategies being adopted, linkages built and resources explored by the target group in response to the capacity building intervention in the agriculture sector.

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