Ar Yone Oo - Social Development Organization (AYO) currently implements a project entitled “Strengthening the resilience of natural disaster affected groups” (STRONG), with flood and land-slide affected smallholder farmers in north-western Myanmar. The backbone of this project is to link relief recovery activities to development. Project activities include the promotion of diverse agroecological practices, through adult education in farmer field schools (FFS) and the provision of agricultural inputs.

In 2017, research staff from Chalmers University (Chalmers) formed a partnership with AYO, to systematically document this case study of agroecological learning and extension, via a collaborative assessment of “lessons learned” from the STRONG project implementation process, and co-research into project beneficiaries’ local agroecological knowledge and barriers and opportunities for the adoption of promoted agroecological practices.

 Case study research towards these ends was realised in the STRONG project area in early 2018. Co-evaluation and research activities included small workshop with STRONG project staff, focus group discussions (FGD), in-depth qualitative interviews, and a quantitative survey that was administered to a stratified random sample of 103 households in STRONG project target communities. 

Key outputs from the initiative include two case studies that document (i) lessons arising from the STRONG project implementation process, and insights about factors of success and barriers to the adoption of promoted agroecological practices; and (ii) the local agroecological knowledge of residents of the STRONG project villages, about farming system challenges in the area. The second case study highlights the merits of such local agroecological knowledge, as a complementary source of insights about local livelihood needs and agroecological contexts that can complement expert knowledge, during the conception phase of agroecological interventions.