The Catalyzing Afghan Agricultural Innovation (CAAI) program is designed to catalyze Afghan-led agricultural innovation by developing capacity in the agricultural education and training (AET) system and by establishing collaborative relationships between educators, researchers, producers, and the private sector. A five-year project funded by USAID, the project reinforces the linkages between technical and vocational education institutions, universities, and research and extension actors within the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock. The project provides support that enables these institutions to deliver effective agricultural and livestock-related research and educational/training services to farmers, herders and private sector value chain actors.
CAAI accomplishes these objectives through a three-fold approach:
- Introduce pedagogical innovation into ATVET teaching and learning. Through in-service teacher trainings, the program will ensure that practical skills and agricultural innovation enter the classroom. Although the number of women students at agricultural institutions has increased with overall enrollment growth, female enrollment remains relatively low. Through the Kabul-based National Agricultural Education College, CAAI will implement and support the Edu2Fem pilot project. Edu2Fem identifies and tests a scalable model for female education that will lead to greater female participation in agricultural education.
- Improve the relevance and capacity in agricultural education and help build relationships among educators and researchers and between them and the private sector. By improving relationships between agricultural education institutions and with the private sector, the curriculum and teaching will be improved along with agricultural education and training leadership.
- Develop improved extension communication using conventional methods and appropriate distance communication technologies.
To achieve these objectives, CAAI uses highly qualified local professionals backstopped by Virginia Tech and its partners to enhance the capability of AET institutions to teach, solve agricultural problems, and promote technology transfer.
CAAI will measure overall program success in terms of increased performance of technical and vocational education institutions, agricultural high schools, universities, and extension agents with respect to improved generation and dissemination of value-chain innovations, pedagogy, workforce development, and quality of relationships between agricultural professionals and value-chain stakeholders. CAAI was implemented as an associate award under the Innovation for Agricultural Training and Education (InnovATE). The National Agricultural Education College is an implementing partner.