Category Archives: DAY 6

Take home messages (by participants)

“Pluralistic RAS are now unavoidable. How to make them really demand-driven is still a challenge.”

“Make more and better use of ICT for ‘Reaching the Millions’!”

“Need to rethink scope and aim of RAS support.”

“Focus is on agricultural policy of which RAS is an implementing tool.”

“I will integrate some learnings in the concept notes for the new projects.”

“Food security and RAS is synonym to me and I am committed to word for both.”

“Public private partnership helps me to reach the millions small farmers.”

“More focus on networking.”

“Causes-effects need careful in depth analysis before making conclusions.”


Next steps after the „Reaching the millions“ event

10 action points

  1. All presentations, summaries of the sessions and main workshop outputs are made available under . There won’t be any additional workshop report.
  2. „The Hanoi Statement on RAS Designs“ will be revised based on the comments received and discussion during the workshop session on March 7th, 2015. An advanced draft will be put forward for discussion on the „Reaching the Millions“ – dgroups during the first two weeks of April 2015.
  3. The in this way finalised “The Hanoi Statement on RAS Designs“ will be promoted and widely shared in the networks of the participating organisations, foremost on
  4. The five case-studies of SDC financed RAS projects in Asia and the two country studies of the large RAS country systems (India and China) will be finalised and made publicly available; again through the networks of the participating organisations.
  5. The five case-studies of SDC financed RAS projects in Asia and the two country studies of the large RAS country systems will be further analysed in the form of a synthesis report. This report will be shared, too.
  6. The material mentioned under bullet points 1 – 5 will be further treated to be in a form to be published in the magazine “Rural21” ( ).
  7. The “Hanoi Statement” will be further condensed to a SDC policy paper that shall guide the design of future SDC financed RAS projects.
  8. The results of the workshop “Reaching the millions” will in one or the other form feed into the next Annual Conference of GFRAS ( ) in September 2015 in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia.
  9. Cases discussed during the “Reaching the millions” workshop may contribute to the GFRAS “Global Good Practices Initiative”, a collection of systematised theoretical and practical know-how and experiences. GFRAS is open to receive additional proposals for good practices; see
  10. Further action lines that GFRAS will undertake are summarised in the presentation Annual Meeting and GGP next steps Reaching the millions

MELA presents itself

Mela Planning

Mela Planning

Come join the MELA!

Participants of the SDC Face-to-Face Workshop in Hanoi have agreed to establish the Mekong Extension Learning Alliance, or MELA.

The theme of the Workshop was ‘Reaching the Millions’, which was highly relevant to planners and practitioners in the Mekong Region, which is home to 225 million people, more than 60% of whom are living in rural areas.

The Mekong River passes through five countries in South East Asia: Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Agricultural extension and rural advisory services in this Region have many features in common. Investment, trade, expertise and labour are flowing from one country to another, while social and environmental impacts are also crossing national boundaries.

Four of the five Mekong countries were represented at the workshop. These participants recognised the value of regional networking and have agreed to meet again to share experience and explore opportunities for further cooperation. Together they aim to better serve the millions of small farmers in the Region, so that rural families may overcome poverty and have better livelihoods.

The name MELA is very appropriate for this network, being a Sanskirt word meaning ‘a gathering’ or ‘large meeting’.

Representatives from Laos have agreed to convene the first meeting of MELA in August this year with support from the LURAS project[1].  Meanwhile, the representatives from Vietnam agreed to create a Facebook Page as a channel of communication[2].  Those from Cambodia and Myanmar will act as focal points for their countries, and invitations will also be sent to relevant organisations in Thailand, which were not represented at the workshop in Hanoi.

The first meeting of MELA will have three objectives:

  • Define common interests of members
  • Discuss a draft charter for the network
  • Agree a work plan for next 12 months

The outcome of the first MELA meeting will be shared at the Annual Meeting of GFRAS, the Global Forum on Rural Advisory Services, to be held in Kyrgyzstan in September this year.

[1] Lao Upland Rural Advisory Service (LURAS), funded by SDC and implemented by the Lao Department of Agricultural Extension and Cooperative (DAEC), in collaboration with Helvetas and SNV.

[2] The page is already online at this address:

Watch the first MELA video:

MELA representatives

MELA representatives


The new MELA crew

The new MELA crew