Peer to Peer Pass-on Approach with Women [Bangladesh]

approaches_784 - Bangladesh

Completeness: 100%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:

Brogan John

Terre des hommes

15 Avenue Montchoisi 1006 Lausanne


WASH/DRR Advisor:
{'additional_translations': {}, 'value': 'John Brogan', 'user_id': '3491', 'unknown_user': False, 'template': 'raw'}
SLM specialist:

Taylor Sheila

Send a Cow UK

Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Book project: where people and their land are safer - A Compendium of Good Practices in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) (where people and their land are safer) {'additional_translations': {}, 'value': 943, 'label': 'Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)', 'text': 'Terre des Hommes (Terre des Hommes) - Switzerland', 'template': 'raw'}

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

When were the data compiled (in the field)?


The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Reference(s) to Questionnaire(s) on SLM Technologies

Keyhole Garden

Keyhole Garden [Bangladesh]

The Keyhole Garden model of homestead vegetable cultivation enhances the resilience of families living in areas with climate-related hazards, such as flooding and drought. Keyhole gardens have been shown to increase vegetable production in all seasons, thereby improving household food autonomy and dietary diversity.

  • Compiler: John Brogan

2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

Terre des hommes and Greendots introduced the Peer to Peer pass-on system to enable women's groups in Bangladesh to spread the Keyhole Garden technique within their communities with the aim of enabling year-round homestead vegetable production despite the risk of flooding and tidal surge.

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

Keyhole Gardens, a type of small, productive homestead vegetable garden based on Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA) techniques, have been used in various African countries for over 15 years and shown to increase the availability of food and dietary diversity (FAO). They were developed by gardeners and small-scale farmers (with the support of Send a Cow UK) to suit different situations, such as the cold, dry winters of Lesotho, the small backyards of Rwanda, and the humid heat of central Uganda. To improve year-round homestead nutritional self-sufficiency for vulnerable families in South Asia (where rates of acute malnutrition in young children regularly cross emergency thresholds), Keyhole gardens were adapted by Terre des hommes (Tdh) and Greendots to the conditions of river basin and coastal areas of Bangladesh (and eventually to India's Sundarbuns) . As a component to Tdh's maternal neonatal and child health (MNCH) programme, the technology is intended to support year-round homestead gardening despite weather extremes (flooding, tidal surge, cyclones).

To promote spontaneous replication of the Keyhole gardening in the local communities, the programme initiated a Peer to Peer Pass-on system within 40 mothers' groups (having a total membership of nearly 800 women). Each mothers' group selected five representatives (200 women) to form a Garden Extension Group (GEG) and participate in the first round of training with the understanding that they would share knowledge with other women in the MNCH programme and the surrounding community. The project team trained each GEG on building gardens and LEISA small scale agriculture techniques (including integrated composting, water retention, use of local materials, natural pest and disease control techniques and soil fertility measures, proximity to the kitchen for optimal management and harvesting). GEG group members practiced garden construction by working together to build gardens at the homes of all five members. All 200 initial gardens were monitored by Tdh extension workers on a weekly basis. Tdh verified output, use and the capacity of gardens to withstand monsoon conditions, and the extent of the of the Peer to Peer Pass-on experience.

See the Chart in Section 3.3 for more information.

2.3 Photos of the Approach

2.4 Videos of the Approach

Comments, short description:
BBC Media Action Bangladesh produced a segment on its "Amrai Pari" programme for the Bangladeshi public (in Bangla language) describing women's use and promotion of the Keyhole Garden technique in coastal communities on the Bay of Bengal.




Barguna District, Barisal Division, Bangladesh

Name of videographer:

BBC Media Action

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied



Region/ State/ Province:

Kurigram District / Rajshahi Division and Barguna District / Barisal Division

Further specification of location:

Kurigram municipality (Kurigram District), Patharghata Union (Barguna District)

2.6 Dates of initiation and termination of the Approach

Indicate year of initiation:


2.7 Type of Approach

  • project/ programme based

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

The main aims of the approach are to involve women by building their capacity and peer network to replicate the Keyhole gardening approach within their communities.
The main objective of the approach is that that families, led by women 1) garden year-round with LEISA techniques, 2) increase the quantity and diversity of their homestead vegetable production and 3) verify that the DRR garden design reduces the consequences of flooding and tidal surge.

2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach

social/ cultural/ religious norms and values
  • enabling

Acceptance of women's groups, existing mothers' groups within Health programme

knowledge about SLM, access to technical support
  • enabling

The Approach calls for capacity building on LEISA techniques (knowledge on SLM) via the Peer to Peer Pass-on system to spread the DRR-designed gardens.

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities

Homestead land users (women)

Building the gardens: learning and eventually training their peers

  • community-based organizations

Mothers' groups

Garden extension groups to share the Keyhole Garden techniques within the scope of their maternal neonatal & child health & activities

  • SLM specialists/ agricultural advisers

Greendots (

Technical support with design of the approach: Daniel Varadi and Sheila Taylor.

  • international organization

Terre des hommes (international NGO)

Project implementing Agency, direct connection with women's groups within its MNCH Programme via Dr. Sultana Al-Amin (Gardening Specialist).

If several stakeholders were involved, indicate lead agency:

Terre des hommes

3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
Involvement of local land users/ local communities Specify who was involved and describe activities
initiation/ motivation passive Terre des hommes and Greendots working through existing women's MNCH nutrition groups, requested groups to nominate five women to receive the training.
planning passive As with all village-level activities, Terre des hommes works with a community volunteer in each village to plan the training and group interventions.
implementation self-mobilization Once the women were trained, they were free to honor their commitments to train other women.
monitoring/ evaluation interactive Self planning and monitoring tools were introduced to the women--who decided whether to use them. Tdh provided monthly support visits to help interested women to update the planning and monitoring documents as needed, and to collect data.

3.3 Flow chart (if available)

3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies

Specify who decided on the selection of the Technology/ Technologies to be implemented:
  • mainly land users, supported by SLM specialists

The Keyhole garden technique was introduced by Tdh, and went through informal adaptation and development with farmers and women's groups so that the final design was chosen by the communities and reflected the construction preferences and innovations of the users.

Specify on what basis decisions were made:
  • personal experience and opinions (undocumented)

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?


Specify who was trained:
  • land users
  • field staff/ advisers
Form of training:
  • on-the-job
  • farmer-to-farmer

4.2 Advisory service

Do land users have access to an advisory service?


Specify whether advisory service is provided:
  • on land users' fields

4.3 Institution strengthening (organizational development)

Have institutions been established or strengthened through the Approach?
  • no

4.4 Monitoring and evaluation

Is monitoring and evaluation part of the Approach?


4.5 Research

Was research part of the Approach?


5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

If precise annual budget is not known, indicate range:
  • 2,000-10,000

5.2 Financial/ material support provided to land users

Did land users receive financial/ material support for implementing the Technology/ Technologies?


5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)

  • none
If labour by land users was a substantial input, was it:
  • voluntary

5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?


5.5 Other incentives or instruments

Were other incentives or instruments used to promote implementation of SLM Technologies?


6. Impact analysis and concluding statements

6.1 Impacts of the Approach

Did the Approach empower local land users, improve stakeholder participation?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did the Approach help land users to implement and maintain SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did the Approach improve coordination and cost-effective implementation of SLM?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did the Approach improve knowledge and capacities of land users to implement SLM?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did the Approach empower socially and economically disadvantaged groups?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did the Approach improve gender equality and empower women and girls?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did the Approach lead to improved food security/ improved nutrition?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did the Approach improve the capacity of the land users to adapt to climate changes/ extremes and mitigate climate related disasters?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

6.2 Main motivation of land users to implement SLM

  • increased production

Families reported growing in places and a season where it is not usually possible and have more access to leafy vegetables even in a severe flood year. "On plain land the roots zone rots at this time of year, so we can’t cultivate."

  • reduced risk of disasters

Floods prevented families from growing anything last year. The plinth heights were adequate so that this year's floods did not hamper vegetables. The main benefit has been plants not rotted and damaged as in previous flood years.

  • environmental consciousness

No chemical fertilizers are needed and the Keyhole Garden vegetables taste better than vegetables from the markets.

6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities

Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
  • yes
If yes, describe how:

The gardens have no physical inputs from Tdh, and require low external inputs required from families thanks to use of local natural resources. The ‘Farmer to farmer’ or peer to peer pass on learning system is the preferred method for dissemination, and favors group learning and working on the garden planning, monitoring, construction and maintenance together. Once initiated during a project cycle, does not require resources to continue. The diversity of vegetables decreases risk of total crop losses, increases opportunities for nutritional optimization and decreased risk of recurrent malnutrition. Finally, the use of local seed banks, homestead seed production and seed sharing promotes crop genetic diversity.
One woman described how a neighbour has asked her to help build a Keyhole Garden; over the 4 to 5 months she has had it, two to three neighbours have expressed serious interest in the garden. Garden management requires weeding and other work; and because Tdh gives low support she is doing it for herself.

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Those who pass on their vegetables and skills are sometimes invited to share positive testimonials and participate in official events to further share the techniques
Skills and knowledge can be passed on not only to other women/farmers but also to local school students—who can pass on new skills to their parents.
One Send a Cow UK beneficiary described her happiness about being part of the “chain of giving” in her community.
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
The underpinning ethos of this nutrition/gardening project is that it is developed and implemented using participatory processes.
Beyond dissemination of technology, peer farmers have a bigger emphasis on support and understanding principles of the different practices since the focus is on two-way communication.
Local champions of the pass-on approach have returned to support implementing partner staff through training and extension work in other communities.
Passing on can also help restore dignity and pride in smallholder farming communities--and strengthen the social fabric.

6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
Discontent could arise if the pace of outreach from peer pass-on system is slow while the interest is high (to receive training). For example, women could start to prepare materials to build gardens and get frustrated if the Once the techniques to be shared have demonstrated success, the pass-on group should carefully plan and communicate the initiative for sharing the techniques to the wider community.
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Replication and synergies with other projects and organizations must be continuously explored. Sharing experiences with local and regional Agricultural Extension authorities, potential partner organizations and other institutes active in SLM techniques.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • compilation from reports and other existing documentation

Sheila Taylor and Daniel Varadi (
Rob Van Hout (External evaluator)
Dr. Sultana Al-Amin (Terre des hommes)

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

The impact of Peer Farmer training in Western Kenya: Pricing peer training services for a sustainable Peer Farmer organisation, Martin Viera, Send a Cow UK, 2013

Available from where? Costs?

Title, author, year, ISBN:

The Volunteer Farmer-Trainer Extension Approach: A User Guide. Technical Manual. Kirui J, et al., World Agroforestry Centre, 2016.

Available from where? Costs?

7.3 Links to relevant information which is available online

Title/ description:

Send a Cow UK - Peer to Peer Pass on Approach


Links and modules

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