Scoping Study – Training methodology and tools for illiterate producers 374

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Trainings are an important service that engage smallholder farmers and support them to better secure their livelihoods by transferring knowledge on issues that affect their lives and productivity. Training is also an integral part of UTZ’s work and success. It’s largely through training that farmers learn about sustainable agricultural practices, how to improve yields, protect workers and look after the environment. To centrally monitor and ensure the quality of training activities, UTZ Academy was formed—UTZ Academy is a network of professional trainers who offer a wide range of courses in over 37 countries and in 10 languages.
UTZ Academy uses a Train the Trainers approach. Usually, UTZ field representatives in each country provide training to local NGOs and technical advisers working for traders and companies in the supply chain. These trainers in turn train farmers, giving them the knowledge and skills necessary to adopt good agricultural practices and comply with the UTZ Code of Conduct. In addition, through the use of an online learning platform – the UTZ Academy online – UTZ Academy uses a blended learning strategy that combines webinars, e-courses and face-to-face training courses.
The quality and relevance of the training methodologies and tools are arguably as important as the trainings themselves. Therefore, to have maximum impact, farmer training combines theory with practical application. However, current methodologies and tools still might not always fit the learning capacities of all producers, particularly illiterate farmers. As a result, illiterate farmers’ participation is limited, they stand to benefit less from learning interventions and ultimately face additional challenges to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to improve their agricultural production and increase their incomes. Therefore, more suitable training methodologies and tools are needed that adequately meet the needs of illiterate producers and that effectively engage farmers who are unaccustomed to a traditional learning environment.
Through the Sector Partnership (SP) program, UTZ strives to influence the sector agenda towards sustainability. UTZ aims to achieve this, in part, by ensuring that smallholder farmers have better access to knowledge, tools and services to increase productivity. Through SP, UTZ also strives to contribute to improved service delivery for (female and male) smallholders, farmers and farmworkers based on their needs and interests. UTZ believes that improving its own tools and training will contribute to improved service delivery by ensuring that the tools and trainings are in line with the producers’ needs.
UTZ therefore recognizes the opportunity to improve access to knowledge and service delivery by providing training and tools that better fit the learning capacities of illiterate producers and by sharing these methodologies and tools with all relevant service providers and/or organizations. As an initial phase of such an intervention, UTZ is looking to contract a consultant to carry out a scoping study to gain a better understanding of how illiteracy is affecting farmers (female and male) and trainers in Honduras, specifically how it affects their participation in—or delivery of—trainings, learning outcomes, productivity, livelihoods or other aspects of sustainable farming. The study will also provide an overview of best practices in training illiterate people, it will elaborate on the potential impact and scalability of delivering trainings specifically catered to the needs of illiterate people and will provide recommendations for pilots to develop tools and methodologies in Honduras, and identify potential partners in co-developing material in a possible follow up intervention.
While literacy in Honduras is relatively high, with an overall adult literacy rate of 88% in 20151, poverty and illiteracy are often more concentrated in rural areas and in farming communities. Initial estimates from a local Honduran Non-profit organization’s database (2017) of over 20,000 producers (of whom roughly 80% are smallholders) suggest that up to 30% of producers cannot read or write, however, the extent to which this is affecting UTZ certified farmers and the nature in which it affects them is not well documented or known. In addition, UNESCO reports that two thirds of the global population of illiterate people are women2. This
1 The World Bank, Adult Literacy Rate, Honduras
2 UNESCO literacy figures, 2014
Terms of Reference
Scoping Study – Training methodology and tools for illiterate producers
therefore also provides UTZ with an opportunity to address a critical gender inequality related to access to knowledge and service delivery.
Objective of the study:
The objective of the study is to provide UTZ with:
1) A high level overview of the illiteracy rates among coffee farmers in Honduras, including, specific regions with highest illiteracy levels, possible contributing social factors and, if possible, producer profiles (age, gender etc.).
2) An understanding of how and how much illiteracy is affecting Utz certified coffee farmers (female and male) and trainers. Specifically, the extent to which—and nature in which— trainers and illiterate farmers believe that illiteracy affects their participation in trainings, learning outcomes, agricultural productivity and other aspects of sustainable farming.
3) An overview of existing best practices of training illiterate people (in agriculture as well as other sectors) and the relevant organizations or bodies that develop or deliver such trainings, both globally and in Honduras. Including variability of different approaches across different region and contexts.
4) Stakeholder mapping of various stakeholders in Honduras that stand to benefit from using training methodologies and tools designed specifically for training illiterate farmers.
5) Recommendations to UTZ for an approach to adapt UTZ Academy tools and methodologies to fit the specific needs of illiterate farmers and that are aligned with the Utz Academy strategy. Including, but not limited to; potential impact of such an intervention, important focus areas (e.g. thematic areas that are a particular challenge to illiterate farmers or aspects of current trainings/tools that are least effective for example trainings relating to record keeping), regions within Honduras to pilot interventions, potential partners for co-developing methodologies/materials, potential implementing partners, other relevant recommendations for adapting training tools/methodologies.
We foresee the following activities:
– Desk research (i.e. summary, collation and/or synthesis of existing research/data) on literacy rates across Honduras particularly among farming communities/regions, including trends, possible contributing factors, and other important considerations where relevant.
– An in-field mission (at least 3 working days) to implement interviews and collect information.
– Interviews with relevant stakeholders, including: producers, producer organisations, trainers and UTZ Academy, public education institutions, private sector, public agriculture institutions, relevant NGOs.
– Interviews and desk research on current best practices and critical review of different approaches for training illiterate people, particularly but not limited to, in agriculture. Including key players who are developing and/or delivering these trainings, both globally and in Honduras (if applicable).
– Interviews and desk research to inform an overview of local (or international with a local presence) organizations, institutions and companies that stand to benefit from using training methodologies and tools for illiterate people (specifically in agriculture). These can also include potential partners in developing the tools and methodologies or implementers/recipients of the tools and methodologies.
Expected Expertise
We seek the following qualification and knowledge:
Terms of Reference
Scoping Study – Training methodology and tools for illiterate producers
– A university qualification in a related-field
– An individual or team of researchers with knowledge and experience in didactic methods
– Spanish fluency and excellent written and spoken English
– Experience working with illiterate people and rural communities would be a strong advantage
Only consultants in Honduras will be considered, international travel is not included in the budget
We expect the following deliverables:
– Report (max 25 pages, excluding annexes) in English including
o Executive summary (English and Spanish)
o Overview of the findings and analysis/reflection as they relate directly to each objective 1-5.
o Recommendations to UTZ regarding an approach to deliver illiterate-friendly training methodologies and tools to trainers and technical assistants in Honduras
o Recommendations relating to next steps, i.e. piloting and development of methodologies and tools in Honduras and possible partners (also considering opportunities to advocate for illiterate farmers’ unique challenges)
o Feedback from the interviews with stakeholders
– PowerPoint presentation (English and Spanish)
– On-going feedback to the UTZ contact person on the progress with research and interviews (frequency to be decided)
UTZ will provide:
– Access to interview subjects where needed, including: producers, producer organisations, trainers and UTZ Academy and private sector. Including limited access to a partners’ database of farmers. Some potential stakeholders are:
o Tegucigalpa
 Ministry of education
o San Pedro Sula
 Molinos de Honduras
o Western region
o Certification bodies, NGO´s and projects:
 Heifer
 Mayacert
 Biolatina
Budget and time allocation:
– Proposals should include a detailed budget outline, including: travel costs, and other costs associated with carrying out interviews in-field.
– Total budget should not exceed EUR 10,000
– 3 months will be allocated for the completion of this study
– Please submit proposals by February 12th 2018 to

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Somos una organización que fomenta el desarrollo sostenible en Honduras, mediante el uso de las Tecnologías de Información y Comunicación (TIC) y la desarrollo de proyectos para facilitar la investigación, gestión, concertación e intercambio de información y conocimientos; la difusión, sensibilización y promoción del cambio social; y el fortalecimiento de capacidades institucionales y comunitarias para impulsar el desarrollo del país.


Colonia Las Colinas, Bloque RR, Casa 2016, Boulevard Francia, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Teléfono: (504) 2235-4141
Fax: (504) 2235-5721