Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services

Key Accomplishments

after more than five years of work to improve extension services in developing countries
Go to 11,500,000


Rural clients receiving improved services from extension systems

Go to 271,561


Number of times MEAS materials were directly accessed online

Go to 815


Extension officers, subject matter specialists and decision makers trained by MEAS

Go to 160


Policy makers and senior government officials trained by MEAS

Go to 70


Private enterprises, universities and client organizations that received assistance directly from MEAS

Go to 61


Institutions and programs using training modules and materials developed by MEAS

Go to 36


Case studies completed in 18 countries by MEAS

Go to 16


Academic papers on extension, gender and nutrition published

a consortium led by the University of Illinois

Granted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the “Modernizing Extension and Advisory Systems” (MEAS) project aims to improve the livelihoods of rural farmers in the world’s poorest nations by modernizing and strengthening their agricultural extension systems. The objective for MEAS is to define and disseminate good practice strategies and approaches to establishing efficient, effective and financially sustainable rural extension and advisory service systems in selected countries. Our goal is to help transform and modernize these extension systems, so they can play a key role in both increasing farm incomes and enhancing the livelihoods of the rural poor, especially farm women.

  • MEAS efforts in analysis, design, evaluation, and reform of rural agricultural extension services have led to improved services for 11,500,000 smallholder farmers.

  • Over 60 institutions and programs are using MEAS training modules and manuals and MEAS materials have been accessed online on over 270,000 times.

  • MEAS efforts from the past five years will continue to improve over 50 countries' agricultural extension and advisory services. See "Country Studies".


Our team includes core experts and collaborators, both within each country and at U.S. institutions.

Dr. Paul E. McNamara

Director, University of Illinois
Paul has been involved in international development activities since 1982, working with communities across Western and Central Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America. His focus lies in extension, consumer, health, and agricultural economics and rural development.

Andrea Bohn

Associate Director
Andrea has worked in the field of international development for the past two decades, including working at CIMMYT in Mexico and applying her skills at in curricular reform and innovation in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Hohenheim in her home country of Germany.

Dr. Deborah Rubin

Cultural Practice, LLC
Deborah is a senior development analyst, helping to integrate gender-sensitive framework, policies, and practices in programs for USAID and other development organizations. She has significant experience working with communities in Tanzania and Kenya.

Dr. Kathleen Colverson

University of Florida
Kathleen has over 20 years of experience with gender analysis, assessments, publications, and evaluations in east Africa, Central America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and the United States. She has over 25 years of experience in formal and non-formal education.

Dr. Sandra Russo

University of Florida
Sandra has been working in international development for over 30 years, beginning in 1981 in sub-Saharan Africa and working across northern Africa and the Middle East. She focuses on agronomy, animal sciences, water resources, and agricultural innovations for smallholder farmers.

Dr. Mark Bell

University of California, Davis
After 20 years living and working in Mexico and the Philippines, Mark is now based at UC Davis, where he continues his work with partners around the world to help small scale farmers better access useful, credible information and improve communication pathways.

Dr. Joyous Tata

University of Illinois
Joyous began working in the field of agricultural development in her home country of Cameroon as an extension officer with men and women farmers. Since then, Joyous has spent her efforts building capacity in food security and nutrition, monitoring and evaluation, technology transfer, and research-extension linkages.

Cristina Manfre

Cultural Practice, LLC
Cristina is a gender and development specialist focusing on assisting implementing organizations to improve attention to gender in agricultural value chains. Cristina has experience leading and managing gender and economic growth programs in Kenya, the Dominican Republic, and Peru.

Dr. Brent Simpson

Michigan State University
Brent M. Simpson is an Associate Professor in International Development, Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics at Michigan State University (MSU). Over the past 30 years he has worked in over twenty-five countries, primarily in Africa.

Katy Heinz

University of Illinois
Katy has worked with several initiatives focusing on international human rights advocacy, community development, and urban and rural agricultural development. For these initiative, she has led the creative materials production and communications strategy.

Discussion Papers and Briefs

MEAS publishes discussion and working papers on good practices and best fit approaches to modernizing extension and advisory services. These will be shared openly through this website and distributed to the network of agricultural extension professionals.