ILRI News

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Dairy genetics gains platform launches dairy e-learning tool for farmers across Africa

ILRI News

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Dairy Genetics Gains platform was started in 2016 in Ethiopia and Tanzania to support farmers through improved partnerships including routine on-farm performance, collecting, and sharing genetic information on dairy cattle. The project has recently launched the ADGG Dairy Tool, a free interactive digital short course, covering cattle breeding and health management practices, developed by the livestock genetics team in partnership with Learn.Ink

Aimed at farmers and extension agents, the free interactive micro-courses, which are accessible through smart phone devices, are available in any country. Kiswahili translations of the tools are especially targeted for farmers in eastern Africa. 

After a simple registration process, which includes inserting your mobile phone number and verification code sent by SMS, users of the tools can generate their profiles by selecting their country and location. On completion of the set-up, farmers start to access courses at their fingertips. 

The courses are available in English and Kiswahili. The content is being translated into Amharic for users in Ethiopia. On completion of the course, users receive a certificate of completion via the app/tool. 

Some of the courses offered include:  

  • Raising healthy calves 1 – Feed and housing, including information on how to feed and house calves from newborn through to weaning phase. 
  • Raising healthy calves 2 – Routine practices on calf health and common ailments and routine management such as vaccination, dehorning, tagging, removing extra teats for females or castration for male calves. 
  • Helping your cow to calve
  • Ensuring dairy herd hygiene

The ‘Ensuring dairy herd hygiene’ course includes information on how COVID-19 affects the farmer and measures required to prevent spreading the virus. This information is shared through a series of infographics, followed by a short quiz to test user knowledge, and understanding on the subject. 

Julie Ojango, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) scientist and author of the courses says, ‘the app provides critical hands-on information to farmers to help them in animal and herd management at critical times in the production cycle and presents information in an attractive and engaging way that can appeal to young farmers. The questions and quizzes in the tool are also are exciting for school-aged children who can use it to learn that managing cattle involves more than taking them to pasture or feeding them. 

‘Using the knowledge gained from the ADGG Dairy and other tools, livestock keepers and other livestock producers can contribute to improving the productivity of their livestock, which in turn will improve their livelihoods,’ she added.

Adam Wills, founder of Farm.ink says, ‘the Learn.Ink platform is designed to greatly increase the speed of sharing digital learning with rural audiences such as farmers. It is also cost effective for organizations such as ILRI and others to adopt microlearning for rural audiences who are able to share their knowledge with the people who need it on the ground.’

 

For more information on access to the application visit: ADGG Dairy Tool

Learn more about African Dairy Genetic Gains platform

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