The Policy Compendium follows the long-term goal to have the role of advisory and extension services (RAS) more prominently reflected in policies. In order to achieve this, stakeholders should be able to access both lessons learned from past experiences and practical tools in order to be able to effectively understand, advocate, design, implement, evaluate and adapt policies for rural advisory services.


Born from the idea to elaborate a guide for extension policy, the Policy Compendium was initiated by the GFRAS Policy Working Group and Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS). The guide was to be designed as an open medium that provides easily accessible and understandable resources and tools for those working on and advocating for an enabling policy environment for RAS at different levels. The design of the Policy Compendium was informed by a survey held in October 2013 which identified that

  • There is a gap between priorities addressed by policies and the real challenges in the field.

  • Stakeholders have some experience in developing policies, but a general weak understanding of policies and policy processes – especially with regards to advocacy, dialogue, implementation and training.

  • There is a strong neglect of active advocacy for RAS policy which directly influences capacities and funding for RAS.

  • Even though countries and institutions have already elaborated literature, documentation, and policy documents on RAS, these are not shared widely enough.

  • There is a need for stronger guidance on policy processes at different levels.

The need for step-by-step guidance for different levels of knowledge (ranging from general explanations about RAS policies to concrete national examples), led to the Policy Compendium being designed as an interactive resource for information and exchange. The Policy Compendium is also linked to GFRAS’ efforts with regards to the Consortium on Extension Education and Training, which provides learning materials on policy advocacy for RAS actors, and to policy dialogues at regional and national level. Results from trainings and policy dialogues will feed back into the Policy Compendium, enriching it with up-to-date data for practitioners using it.

Target audience

While the Compendium remains useful for global and regional organisations, the target audience consists of people involved in advisory and extension services at national or even regional level. These include researchers, politicians, managers, policy makers on ministerial level, and particularly also front line extension personnel and extension programme managers. This is due to the fact that most policies in relation to RAS are developed and implemented at national level.

Involved stakeholders

The GFRAS Policy Compendium was initiated by the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) with the help of the Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS). It is financially supported by SDC, GIZ, USAID, and GFAR.

The GFRAS Policy Working Group, coordinated by Sithembile Ndema from FANRPAN and Natalie Ernst from the GFRAS Secretariat, is responsible to ensure the quality of the contents as well as its further development. 

Structure and design

New to the Policy Compendium? Discover the logic behind the design of the Compendium to help you find the information you need as easily and quickly as possible.

The Policy Compendium is designed to mirror key aspects of a policy life cycle, organised along the categories indicated below. While for the sake of structuring, resources are allocated to these categories, please note that policy processes are fluid, and each category is overlapping with, linked to, informed by, and informing all other categories. Thus short descriptions for each category are provided on the main page to better understand how knowledge products were categorised.

We strongly recommend that you start your browsing with the category "Introduction to RAS policies" if you are new to the topic of RAS policies.

  • Introduction to RAS policies: What are key terms and principles to understand RAS policies? What is the purpose and objective of policies related to RAS?

  • Advocacy: How can one be engaged in policy processes? How can policy be influenced? How do you need to communicate effectively?

  • Development: What methods exist to design new policies and/or adapt existing policies so they are connected to demand, political processes, and surrounding factors? How can actors be identified and integrated for participatory policymaking? How are goals, aims, expected outcomes, audiences and beneficiaries, and scope and level of policies defined? How much does policy development cost, how can it be financed?

  • Implementation: How are policies translated to practice? What forms of governance, accountability, and oversight mechanisms of RAS policies exist? What are budgets, processes, steps, TORs to implement policies?

  • National Policies: What are previous and current existing national policies on RAS or related to RAS?

  • Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning: What feedback mechanisms exist, how are policies validated? How to monitor and evaluate direct and indirect impacts of RAS policies? What to do with MEL results?

In addition, you can find the category Experts, which provides you with a list of RAS policy experts that have registered with the GFRAS Roster of Experts.

Search the compendium

There are different options to find the knowledge product you are looking for:

  • Click on the GFRAS logo (top left corner of the page) to return to the starting page of the Policy Compendium containing the filter box and the policy cycle.

  • Browse the different categories and sub-categories by using the menu bar or click on the image the policy cycle.

  • Filter your results by using the filter box to the left of the page. This is a so called “and” search, meaning that the more keywords, categories, tabs, or fields you choose, the less results you will receive as the results will be narrowed down. You can

    • Search according to categories and subcategories

    • Filter according to the type of content (i.e. checklists, templates, conceptual papers, etc.)

    • Filter according to the type of document (i.e. presentations, briefs, or full reports, etc.)

    • Filter according to country

    • Search for tags: These are topics that cut across all of the categories and subcategories

    • Filter according to author or year of the document

    • Search for keywords.

  • Use the site map button to find a list of all documents available on the Policy Compendium, organised by categories and sub-categories.




What is the Policy Compendium?

The Policy Compendium is a tool that contributes to fill the gap between the RAS policy environment and RAS efforts in the field. It  helps direct decisions and facilitate successful policy processes and outcomes in extension and advisory services by making knowledge accessible, fostering synergies, and promoting policy processes to improve RAS and rural development.


It has two purposes.

  1. It provides easily accessible and understandable resources for those those developing, implementing, monitoring, evaluating, or advocating for extension policy. The Compendium provides background information, inputs, ideas, and hands-on guidance for decision-making and facilitation of successful policy processes for RAS.
  2. The Compendium is also closely linked to GFRAS’ efforts with regards to the Consortium on Extension Education and Training on Extension Education and Training as well as to policy dialogues at regional and national level: While the Policy Compendium provides background and learning materials to support advocacy trainings and policy dialogues, results from trainings and policy dialogues will feed back into the Policy Compendium, enriching it with up-to-date data for practitioners using it.

The Policy Compendium is dynamic and is continuously expanded.