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  • Sprout Open Content

Unlocking the Magic: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Sprout's Content Curation and Testing Process

By Irene Warui, Senior Sprout Project Officer & Kevin Gitau Ng'ang'a, Sprout Sr. Agronomist & Content Lead

At Sprout, we recognize the challenge of acquiring high-quality, farmer-friendly information and the pivotal role that open access to agricultural best practices plays in enhancing the skills, resilience, and income-generating opportunities for farmers. Sprout envisions a future where every small-scale farmer (SSF) in Africa has access to agricultural best practices and personalized services in the palm of their hands, helping to build their knowledge, make better decisions, adapt to climate change, improve their productivity, and their lives.

Our approach is to empower Farmer-Facing Organizations (FFOs) through our digital platform that provides them access to open, carefully curated expert and scientific agriculture content and best practices, in farmer-friendly vernacular for the small-scale farmers they serve. I’d like to share insights on how we curate Sprout Content for FFOs.

Sprouts Curation, Testing, and Transformation of Content Process

Sprout’s content curation process is demand driven. We work closely with FFOs to understand their needs for high priority content types, digital formats and languages.

Upon gauging the demand, Sprout reaches out to expert local, regional and global Content Organizations (COs) such as KALRO or CGIAR within and outside our ecosystem, to acquire proven content. Original content is usually in the form of .pdfs, scientific documents and presentations. Once acquired, we then embark on the process of content transformation. Sprouts expert content team leads this process to tailor it to FFO and Farmer needs. A dedicated team member transforms the content into digital ready format in language designed for farmers. We then engage with the content provider to review the transformed content as well as engage with a secondary content expert who also conducts a thorough review, ensuring high quality results.

Subsequently, we proceed to the testing phase. Collaborating closely with our demand partner FFO, we put curated content to the test with actual farmers. This testing takes place either through in-person sessions or by using digital channels utilizing innovative digital avenues. By adopting this approach, we are able to gather real-time feedback directly from farmers or through the intermediary efforts of the FFOs.

The feedback received offers us insights, such as the complexity of language, challenges with understanding measurement units for rainfall or fertilizers, specific language preferences, and more. This feedback is then assimilated into the content transformation process, resulting in a refined, contextually relevant, and field-tested resource that can be readily employed by various FFOs in the country the content was designed for. The content documents are uploaded, documented, designated with a creative commons content agreement and tagged for anyone to search and download.

The end result is Sprouts' innovative online, searchable database, that offers FFOs a treasure trove of content learning journeys that can be adapted for their needs and deployed to offer better decision making tools for their farmers. Through an array of user-friendly formats, including SMS, WhatsApp for Business, and IVR, coupled with multilingual options, Sprout content caters to a diverse spectrum of audiences. Our comprehensive and growing content database encompasses 125+ datasets from 30+ expert content organizations with a wide range of topics ranging from crops and livestock to a growing library of climate-smart agricultural practices.

A Tangible Example from the Field

We are happy to share good news that underscores our commitment to empowering farmers in Nigeria and driving positive change in the agricultural sector. Sprout and CGIAR’s EiA have formed a strategic partnership, where we collaboratively provide valuable agricultural content tailored to various value chains, to enrich the lives of Nigerian farmers delivered via SMS. The curated content and SMS messages cover a wide range of topics, including

  • Crop Management: Providing guidance on crop selection, planting techniques, and pest control among other topics.

  • Weather Updates: Hyperlocal seasonal forecast that covers a longer period of time e.g. monthly, 2 months etc. The latter is currently being piloted by different farmer organizations in Nigeria.

These SMS messages are concise, easy to understand, and meant to be delivered directly to farmers' or farmer groups' mobile phones, ensuring they have access to the information when they need it the most. The messages undergo a series of validation processes from technical experts at both Sprout and EiA. The process involves:

Throughout the above process , there is a Human Centered Design team from EiA that is involved in research of farmer needs as well as impact assessment. Our goal is to empower Nigerian farmers with knowledge that can transform their agricultural practices and enhance their livelihoods.

You can access all of the Sprout Content here.


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