Most of us have a vision that exceeds our own present circumstances and knowledge.
ECHO encourages our network members to be experimenters. In fact, many of the things mentioned in EDN are things that have worked in one location and might work for the farmers where you live. But the only way to know for sure is if you try the technique or if you plant a packet of seeds. When you do, you have become an experimenter, doing valuable research for your area. You will be adding “tools” to the “toolbox” of locally-proven agricultural innovations to share with local farmers. In fact, you can involve them in experimenting, too.
Three ECHO documents discuss how development workers can make a difference by experimenting with new ideas. In an EDN 81 article titled “Toward More Fruitful Agricultural Experimentation,” Mark MacLachlan shares how experimentation shaped the nature of his agricultural work in Ethiopia. A TN, “The Small Farm Resource Center,” describes how ECHO would advise an organization wanting to add a somewhat more formal experimental component to its work (also see AZ 41). An article called “Formalizing Your Research” by Edward Berkelaar (also in EDN 81), explains how to do research at a higher level of sophistication.