Agriculture, Food, Nutrition

Digital Green

Empowering smallholder farmers to lift themselves out of poverty

aka Digital Green   |   San Francisco, CA   |  www.digitalgreen.org

Mission

Maximize the incomes of smallholder farmers

Ruling year info

2008

Executive Director

Mr Rikin Gandhi

Main address

650 California St 7th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94108 USA

Show more addresses

EIN

26-2418959

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Agricultural Programs (K20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016.
Register now

Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Although smallholder farmers produce up to 80% of the food supply in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the highest incidence of poverty globally is associated with agricultural employment. Seventy percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas, relying on agriculture for their livelihoods. As rural populations grow in developing countries, small and marginal land holdings are growing while average farm sizes shrink. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 72% of all farms worldwide are smaller than one hectare. Small-scale farmers are particularly vulnerable to the increasing frequency of floods and drought, shifting rainfall patterns, and spread of pests and diseases. Their acute vulnerability to shocks makes smallholder farmers more likely to be malnourished.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Digital Green Partnership with India’s National Rural Livelihood Mission

Digital Green works with the Government of India’s National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) to engage with rural communities across nine states to promote uptake of best practices related to agriculture and livelihoods, non-farm practices, financial inclusion and institution building. Nearly 13,000 frontline extension agents use Digital Green’s video-enabled approach to promote uptake of best practices in 13,195 villages, reaching more than 1.1 million farmers (94% women). More than 55% of farmers have adopted at least one practice promoted in a video they viewed, and many adopt more. A randomized control trial in Bihar state found that the video-enabled approach increased adoption rates by 50% over Bihar’s traditional extension approach. Farmers who have adopted practices have, on average 22% higher production levels and 16% higher incomes. Through a two-year partnership with Andhra Pradesh’s Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Digital Green is experimenting with innovative digital tools such as: use of hyperspectral imagery to predict and prevent pest infestations; use of photo- and ground-based diagnostic and advisory services that enable farmers to make real-time, site-specific pest and farm management decisions; and use of an app through which farmers in low-bandwidth areas can access videos on good agricultural practices from their cell phones. Use of IVR to efficiently deliver timely reminders and supplementary information to farmers and frontline workers has increased adoption of promoted practices and increased interest / engagement among farmers who have not attended video dissemination sessions. A partnership with Skymet Weather Services provides localized weather information, which is used to contextualize recommendations and help farmers make informed decisions regarding irrigation and fertilizer and insecticide application. Digital Green is also developing and testing a series of prototypes to contextualize advisory service provision to farmers. These prototypes integrate our extensive data system and video library with content and data from other sources to cost-effectively provide farmers with more timely, targeted and higher quality information. Our Government of India partners have committed funding to sustain and scale the video-enabled extension approach well beyond the life of this investment to reach 7 million more farmers within the next five years.

Population(s) Served
Farmers
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people
Budget
$13,375,413

Digital Green works with the Agricultural Extension Directorate of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Regional Bureaus of Agriculture (RBoAs) in Amhara, Oromia, Tigray and Southern Nations Nationality People’s Region, and the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) to: 1) institutionalize and scale its digitally-enabled extension approach within the public system; and 2) augment the approach by exploring partnerships that provide complementary value chain, natural resources management and nutrition-related information, with the goal of improving smallholder farmers’ livelihoods. Digital Green has equipped the MoA to increase the reach and effectiveness of its extension services, and to reach beyond male model farmers to also communicate with women and non-model farmers. The project has reached more than 460,000 farmers in 110 woredas, over 50% of whom have adopted featured practices. Women represent 30% of farmers reached and 25% of adopters. With integrated use of cost-effective video and interactive voice response (IVR), extension agents are reaching more farmers with accurate, timely, effective and localized messages. Our approach is quickly becoming one of the main avenues for the public extension system to better reach farmers and increase adoption rates of improved practices and technologies. In 2017, the video-enabled extension approach was formally included in the Government of Ethiopia’s Second Growth and Transformation Plan and Second Agricultural Growth Program, which paved the way for the MoA and the four RBoAs to procure equipment to scale the approach in additional districts. The ATA is likewise expanding the content and reach of its IVR service and Q&A forum, which reinforces video messages and enables farmers and extension agents to share questions and voice feedback. System-level changes are facilitating scale-up and ensuring that the public extension system can sustain implementation after the project ends. Five Agriculture Technical and Vocational Education Training centers (ATVETs) have incorporated video-enabled extension into their training curriculum. Video production, dissemination and monitoring (adoption verification) activities are now included in the job descriptions and performance reviews of extension personnel. MoA and ATA have contributed approximately $2.4 million, inclusive of staff time, training costs and equipment expenditures to implement the approach.

Population(s) Served
Farmers
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people
Budget
$9,600,000

Digital Green collaborates with existing health system structures -- including India’s State Rural Livelihood Missions and state-level agencies of the National Health Mission, as well as other local organizations trusted and active in the target districts – to build their capacity to employ video- and other ICT-enabled approaches to increase adoption of optimal maternal, infant and child health and nutrition and family planning practices. The project has directly reached 544,000 women in five states (Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand) through facilitated community videos. We have incorporated a range of ICT solutions and mass media and mid-media platforms to complement and supplement video messages, including: radio and village campaigns; focused mobile-based messaging on key thematic topics; calls with targeted, life-stage specific messages in the 1000 days period; and use of technology to improve interpersonal counseling by frontline workers. These platforms have reached 1.9 million individuals. Use of data collection and analysis tools has helped our partners to better reach the target audiences. We maximize impact by linking demand generation with public supply-side interventions.

Population(s) Served
Females
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people
Budget
$6,000,000

Digital Green is working with the Ministry of Agriculture to integrate natural resources management into the day-to-day work of Development Agents (DAs). Leveraging video-enabled extension is helping DAs to systematically promote NRM practices among smallholder farmers year-round, and to make a direct link between NRM practices and improved crop production and livelihoods, which is a new concept for many farmers in Ethiopia. During its first year, the project made great strides in raising awareness of the links between NRM methods and crop production, generating interest in soil and water conservation, and creating demand for tree seedlings and vetiver grass to control erosion. Previously, the public extension system promoted soil and water conservation activities on communal plots, disconnected from individual farmers’ plots and from the agricultural season (planting, growing or harvest activities). As a result of our work, however, the practices appropriate to the planting, growing or harvest calendar have formed the basis for promotion of practices farmers can implement in their own fields. Coordination across the Ethiopian public extension system has been crucial for success. The Ministry of Agriculture recently approved a new conservation strategy linked to production of key commodities, which will dovetail with the year-round video curricula this project is developing.

Population(s) Served
Farmers
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people
Budget
$500,000

Digital Green leads a global consortium with core partner International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and others, including CARE and Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS). DLEC integrates three activities: targeted diagnostics that identify system gaps and investment opportunities; action research or demonstration activities that build local capacity to improve extension service delivery; and support for durable communities of practice to advocate for scaling proven approaches. DLEC has completed 16 diagnostics targeted to USAID mission interests to provide insight into the strengths and challenges faced by national extension systems, best practices in public-private partnerships, and youth engagement in agricultural extension. DLEC activities that leverage ongoing projects to address identified system gaps include: participatory identification of most impactful practices for increasing farmers’ yields and incomes (Nigeria); integrated messaging to combat fall armyworm (Ethiopia); national scale-up of incentives for volunteer extension providers (Rwanda); and input and output market linkages (Bangladesh). DLEC is also conducting and sharing research related to use of ICTs and the role of gender in making extension services more effective (Uganda and Ethiopia). Globally, Digital Green has constituted an Extension Community of Practice with membership from across research, practitioner, policy, and donor communities to foster active exchange of extension best practices and promote collaboration.

Population(s) Served
Farmers
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people
Budget
$9,000,000

Where we work

Awards

Digital Development Award 2017

USAID

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of participants reporting change in behavior or cessation of activity

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults,Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people,Farmers

Related Program

Digital Integration for Ag Extension

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of unique individuals who applied at least one new agricultural practice featured in a video they watched

Number of stories successfully placed in the media

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults,Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people,Farmers

Related Program

Digital Integration for Ag Extension

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of videos produced by rural communities, for rural communities on improved agricultural practices or nutrition behaviors

Number of participants engaged in programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults,Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people,Farmers

Related Program

Digital Integration for Ag Extension

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Individuals who watched at least one locally-produced video featuring improved agricultural practices or nutrition behaviors

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

Digital Green empowers smallholder farmers to lift themselves out of poverty by harnessing the collective power of technology and grassroots-level partnerships. We amplify existing informal networks of farmers, extension providers, and markets with digital tools that raise local voices to transform agricultural development from the bottom up. Founded in India in 2008 as a spin-off from a Microsoft Research project that sought to investigate how technology can support small-scale agricultural systems, we develop scalable and cost-effective technologies that assist rural communities to access and share information. Digital Green’s extension outreach began with high-quality, low-cost videos, and has grown to include other ICTs. In Ethiopia and India, we are building on our community video work to leverage technology to further increase farmers’ productivity and incomes. We have worked with extension partners to identify the priority agricultural practices that maximize farmers yields at lowest cost, and facilitated links with input and output markets. Now we are working to deliver more targeted information specific to local, changing conditions to help farmers respond to changing climate and consumer preferences and realize tangible and sustainable returns on their investments.

Digital Green bridges information gaps by developing innovative, appropriate, and cost-effective technologies that enable poor, rural people to access information with which to make informed decisions that improve their livelihoods and nutrition outcomes. Our core approach is to partner with and train agricultural extension and health service providers to produce, disseminate, and monitor the impact of short, locally-relevant videos that share knowledge and prompt adoption of practices that improve agricultural production, livelihoods and nutrition. Our video-enabled approach is an adaptable, scalable, cost-effective solution to reach large numbers of rural community members. Partnering with existing agricultural and health extension providers allows us to tap into trusted networks operating in remote rural communities, enabling rapid scale-up. The approach has become a platform for collaboration between public, private and civil society actors to rapidly disseminate high-quality, consistent and relevant content in rural communities, share learning, and influence national programs at scale. While video remains our core approach, we have grown to incorporate digital technologies such as interactive voice response (IVR) and SMS to deliver complementary or reinforcing messages. This channel integration is providing farmers and frontline agents with timely reminders and supplementary information that has increased adoption of promoted practices and fostered engagement, even among farmers who have not attended video screenings. In Ethiopia, we worked with the Agricultural Transformation Agency to develop a two-way Q&A forum, which has reduced travel for extension personnel and facilitated surveillance of pest and disease vectors. In 2015, we saw that, while access to extension information was boosting production for the large numbers of farmers we were reaching with video, they needed better access to markets to translate those gains into more money in their pockets. We developed an initiative called Loop, a shared transport-to-market service backed by a mobile phone application that provides direct aggregation, transport and marketing services, near real-time market price information and digitized transaction records. Like an Uber Pool for produce, Loop matches farmers’ requests for collection of freshly harvested produce to nearby transporters based on carrying capacity. Transporters collect and deliver the harvests to wholesale markets, and farmers are paid via mobile money. Farmers participating in Loop earn on average 15% higher revenue than non-Loop farmers, and pay 45% less for transportation and other transaction costs. We are in the process of spinning off Loop as a social enterprise.

Over the last 10 years, Digital Green has facilitated production of more than 6,000 localized videos in 50 languages and dialects, which have been screened by 17,000 frontline workers to reach more than 2 million rural households (77% women) across 10 countries in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, primarily India and Ethiopia. More than 50% of viewers have adopted at least one practice (3 to 4 on average), representing 3.5 million total adoptions. Preliminary results from an ongoing two year randomized control trial conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute in Ethiopia show that: 1) Digital Green’s video-enabled approach reaches 24% more farmers than the Ministry of Agriculture’s conventional approach and results in 35% higher uptake of promoted practices; 2) The inclusive approach increases women’s access to extension by 20-25%; and 3) Public extension agents who use the video-enabled approach make a greater effort to visit farms, inspect technology use, and provide follow-up advice to farmers compared to those employing the conventional extension approach. A separate controlled evaluation found the approach to be 10 times more cost-effective than traditional extension services on a cost per adoption basis. Key factors for success are videos’ highly localized content; human mediation to reinforce messages; and capacity building that strengthens service provision. • Localized content is rigorously vetted for technical accuracy and relevance by subject matter specialists and research institutions. We take a facilitative role to tap into local knowledge and ensure that messages are informed by an understanding of the farmers, local growing conditions, and obstacles to improving production. • Tapping into strong, informal social networks in rural communities supports the flow of accurate, timely information. We have trained more than 17,000 frontline workers from public, private, and civil society organizations who add a person-to-person complement to the technology tools. • A robust data management system customized for low resource settings allows Digital Green to continually collect and analyze feedback and data related to message content and dissemination, and adoption of promoted practices. Timely data and feedback inform development of targeted messages that address local circumstances and extension service follow-up needs. More than a message delivery vehicle, our approach has organized timely exchange of locally relevant knowledge. Sharing peer-to-peer videos among farmer groups and women-led self-help groups has strengthened the social structures themselves. Integration of data and feedback has given farmers a voice, increased their production and incomes, and helped national extension systems better respond to community needs. Our participation in multiple research studies helps to provide evidence that supports investments in policies and programs that improve livelihoods and nutrition for smallholder farmers.

Our metrics include: number of extension agents affiliated with project partners using video; number of individuals reached with video; percentage of viewers who adopt a promoted agricultural practice or recall a health/nutrition practice; yields and incomes of farmers who adopt agricultural practices; and cost per adoption for extension providers. Reach and adoption data is collected by the video facilitator, who notes which video is screened, how many farmers attend, their interest in adoption, and feedback and discussion points. Practice adoption requires physical verification and quality assurance checks. Our open-source data management system, Connect Online Connect Offline (COCO), works in low-resource settings on- or offline to collect and analyze feedback and data related to message content and dissemination, and adoption of promoted practices. COCO feeds data into analytics dashboards that provide a detailed snapshot of programmatic progress. Monitoring data and feedback helps us understand local successes and challenges and brings farmers’ voices into content planning to more effectively target messages. Yield and income changes are measured by third-party or internal studies using crop cuts and household surveys.

Integration of data and farmer feedback has given farmers a voice, increased their production and incomes, and helped national extension systems better respond to community needs. By prioritizing promotion of agricultural practices that provide the highest return on investment, we have increased farmers’ yields by 22% and incomes by 16%. Our video approach is backed by a body of evidence on its effectiveness and cost-effectiveness: ● Preliminary results from a recent randomized control trial (RCT) conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Ethiopia show that: 1) the video-enabled approach reaches 30% more farmers than the public extension system’s conventional approach and results in up to 35% higher uptake of promoted practices; 2) extension agents who use video make a greater effort to visit farms, inspect technology use, and provide follow-up advice than those who do not; and 3) the inclusive approach increases women’s access to extension by up to 25%. ● An RCT conducted by Innovations for Poverty Action and Jameel Poverty Action Lab in Bihar, India, demonstrated a 50% gain in adoption rates and 21% increase in paddy production compared to the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society’s traditional group-based approach. ● An assessment commissioned by Odisha Department of Agriculture found that 98% of farmers who attended traditional trainings and video screenings found video more efficient. Farmers reported increased profits from yield increases and reduced cultivation costs. ● Evaluations of Loop, our farm to market service, has shown that Loop farmers on average have 15% higher revenue than non-Loop farmers and pay 45% less for transportation and other transaction costs.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is the organization collecting feedback?

    We regularly collect feedback through: paper surveys, focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), community meetings/town halls, constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees.

  • How is the organization using feedback?

    We use feedback to: to identify and remedy poor client service experiences, to identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, to inform the development of new programs/projects, to strengthen relationships with the people we serve.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    We share feedback with: the people we serve, our staff, our board, our funders, our community partners.

Financials

Digital Green
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Digital Green

Board of directors
as of 10/9/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Kentaro Toyama

University of Michigan

Melissa Ho

World Wildlife Fund

Rajesh Veeraraghavan

Georgetown University

Edwin Macharia

Dalberg Advisors

Anirban Ghose

Transform Rural India Foundation

Neeraj Jain

PATH

GNS Reddy

Farm Connect

Tejesh Shah

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 08/22/2019

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Keywords

capacity building, rural development, agriculture, livelihoods, health, nutrition, social and behavior change communication, video, ICT, technology, learning, community