The Africa Soil Health Consortium (ASHC) works with initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa to encourage the uptake of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) practices.
It does this primarily by supporting the development of down-to-earth information and materials designed to improve understanding of ISFM approaches.
ASHC works through multidisciplinary teams including soil scientists and experts on cropping systems; communication specialists, technical writers and editors; economists; monitoring & evaluation and gender specialists. This approach is helping the ASHC to facilitate the production of innovative, practical information resources.
ASHC is building a portfolio of exemplar materials that set out to encourage the implementation of proven ISFM approaches. This includes the development of farmer friendly extension information materials that help smallholder farmers make rational investment decisions in relation to ISFM. As a result of the ASHC initiative, public sector extension workers as well as agrodealers will have access to learning tools that assist with the dissemination of information on ISFM. Policy makers will be able to get information that helps them consider the benefits of ISFM and suggests ways in which they could create a conducive environment for ISFM uptake. Trainers, college and university lecturers will have access to high quality teaching and learning materials that support entry-level learning and professional development in ISFM.
There is a wide range of publications including cropping and plant nutrition guides; policy briefs; training manuals and practical information for extension workers and farmers.
ASHC is looking at how these can be offered in a modular form. This will ensure that any organisation can take any elements of the ISFM materials produced and repurpose them into publications that meet the specific needs of their target audiences. Most materials are covered by Creative Commons Licenses.
ASHC also offers 'How to..' guides to creating your own extension materials.
The ASHC project is being coordinated by CABI in partnership with international and national research and development organizations, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation .