Agriculture, Food, Nutrition

Digital Green

Empowering smallholder farmers to lift themselves out of poverty

aka Digital Green

San Francisco, CA

Mission

Maximize the incomes of smallholder farmers

Ruling Year

2008

Executive Director

Mr Rikin Gandhi

Main Address

650 California St 7th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94108 USA

Keywords

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

EIN

26-2418959

 Number

0974268366

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Agricultural Programs (K20)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

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

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Digital Green Partnership with India’s National Rural Livelihood Mission

Digital Integration for Ag Extension

Samvad: Digital Community Engagement Platforms for Improving Family Planning, Maternal Child Health

Integrating Natural Resource Management into Agricultural Extension Services in Ethiopia

Feed the Future Developing Local Extension Capacity

Where we work

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of participants reporting change in behavior or cessation of activity

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

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

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

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

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

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

Source: Self-reported by organization

the feedback loop
check_box 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.

External Reviews

Awards

Digital Development Award 2017

USAID

Photos

Financials

Digital Green

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Operations

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

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & 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 & 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

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? This organization has voluntarily shared information to answer this important question and to support sector-wide learning. GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

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

Leadership

No data

Race & Ethnicity

No data

Gender Identity

No data

Sexual Orientation

No data

Disability

No data