As Pathways’ Phase I draws to a close, stories of change are emerging from the countries in which the program operates. Pathways teams have been persistent and creative in encouraging behavior change. The following stories illustrate some of the methods for inspiring and measuring changes that have been adopted and challenges that have been overcome in Mali.
All Pathways teams use the Participatory Performance Tracker (PPT) tool to track individual farmers’ uptake of recommended practices, as well as group maturity of women’s collectives. The PPT is designed to help program managers make immediate course-corrections in the field, but aggregation of the data at country-office level also provides useful data for Pathways teams across the program to assess and compare their farmers’ performance and particular challenges. The PPT can aggregate global information about uptake of Pathways-promoted practices but also allows for aggregate monitoring of all of the Pathways groups in Mali. In Mali, as of 2014, groups are engaging in approximately 65% of all recommended practices. The practices that were most frequently adopted in Mali are: Use of Inputs, Postharvest Management techniques, and Soil and Water Management. Practices that have been harder to adopt in Mali include Marketing, Planting, and Record Keeping.
Kadidia Kassogué, a 35-year old woman from Golgou village near Bandiagara city, shares how she incorporates some of the Pathways recommended improved agricultural practices:“Thanks to new technologies I am applying now (integrated pest management and mulching) I am able to harvest more in a smaller space…We have learned that planning is critical for everything we do. Now I keep careful records of what I have done in an area…Before selling I check the market price and see if I’m going to make a profit. If not, I’ll store it until the prices go up.”
Kadidia checking market prices by phone
In Kangorogo village, in Segou district, Pathways staff have held awareness sessions on good nutritional practices. The community has since diversified their diets, consuming vegetables from their gardens and improving their nutritional statuses. Women grow the moringa tree in their gardens and use it to treat malnutrition and illness for their families. Fewer women have to leave in search of jobs thanks to the market gardening activities.
Seydou Diarra, head of village Kangorogo
Ongoing monitoring and follow-up efforts can help shift the practices of those who are resistant to Pathways’ promoted practices as well. In Bougoula village, chief Kokan Boire holds conservative, traditional values. Initially unenthused by Pathways suggestions—like giving women a demonstration plot– the Pathways Mali field agent for his area has been persistent. After some of his advisors attended Pathways’ gender dialogue sessions, they supported the field agent and were able to win Mr. Boire’s support for the Pathways project. Today, Mr. Boire welcomes the field agent into his home, has established a women’s demonstration plot, and invites other farmers to participate in Pathways activities.
Mr. Boire with the PPT tool