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Participatory communication: a key to rural learning systems by Jean-Pierre Ilboudo,Ph.D Extension, Education and Communication Service Research, Extension.

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Presentation on theme: "Participatory communication: a key to rural learning systems by Jean-Pierre Ilboudo,Ph.D Extension, Education and Communication Service Research, Extension."— Presentation transcript:

1 Participatory communication: a key to rural learning systems by Jean-Pierre Ilboudo,Ph.D Extension, Education and Communication Service Research, Extension and Training Division Sustainable Development Department

2 The knowledge triangle education & communication researchextension farmers Adapted from FAO/World Bank (2000) Agricultural Knowledge and Information System for rural development. Rome : FAO.

3 Communication-based rural adult learning systems Focus of rural learning system 1) 1) information dissemination and motivation, concerning with informing rural people of new ideas, services and technologies, and changing attitudes toward improving their quality of life. 2) 2) education and training for field workers and rural producers for the acquisition and development of new or advanced skills. The movement toward participatory audience involvement is currently assumed to be a pre-requisite in designing each area. Much of FAO’s early activities in applying communication for development and rural learning were subsumed within two main areas:

4 Principles of adult learning in rural settings - non-formal education : any organized, systematic educational activity carried on outside the framework of the formal system to provide selected types of learning to particular subgroups in the population. continuous learning process highly relevant to the immediate environment founded on a participatory and interactive approach where farmers become partners and key actors in their own development projects flexible, open to anyone, content dedicated to concrete issues for application in day to day life

5 sharing of knowledge between technical experts and rural people. constructivist approach to education: learning is a unique product constructed by combining new information with existing knowledge and experiences. primary role of the extension worker : to facilitate problem definition and prioritize technology solutions. farmers can voice their needs based upon practical experience and gain a direct benefit from the outputs.

6 Communication delivery systems for rural learning Interpersonal communication – Individual learning It is fundamental to learning and change in rural areas and no amount of media can supplant it when it comes to adding persuasiveness and credibility to messages. Methods to improve farmer to farmer and extension agent communication include pamphlets, leaflets, spontaneous drama, poems, songs based on farmers’ own experiences... Group Media – Group Learning -slides, film – strips, audio-cassettes, flip charts, village theatre and video. -these media add punch and authority to a presentation. -possibility for immediate feedback from the audience and establishment of a two-way flow of information.

7 Case 1: Video for Training at the Grassroots Level in Peru : FAO supported a farmer-training project in Peru as an integral part of its agrarian reform programme. - Pedagogía audiovisual: a training methodology was developed. based on the use of video as a lead medium in a training package, which also included printed materials, discussions and practical work with a field technician. content generated from interviews with farmers and integrated indigenous knowledge with updated scientific research provided by the technicians who were subject matter specialists : a follow-up project was carried out also in Bolivia, Brazil, Nicaragua and Chile.

8 Mass Media – Mass Learning Learning through Radio -As a stand-alone medium, it can reach a lot of people quickly with fairly simple messages. “It remains the most popular, accessible and cost-effective means of communication for rural people. It can overcome the barriers of distance, illiteracy and language diversity better than any other medium”. - Radio farm forums : organized farming groups, in which a seasoned leader introduced each broadcast topic, initiated follow- up discussion after the broadcast, and coordinated action on its recommendations s: L istening groups where people meet to listen to and discuss a weekly half-hour radio broadcast, directed by a trained group leader. -Radio rejuvenation thanks to Community radio and decentralization of capital city-based networks to include regional and local stations.

9 Multimedia campaigns Early approaches Having access to at least two channels allows a production team to present and reinforce the same points in different ways and with varied emphasis. Individuals also differ in their processing of information from different media. Case 2: Multimedia Advantage in Communication Campaigns : FAO assisted the Kingdom of Lesotho toward increasing sorghum production. It was demonstrated that the impact of a multimedia approach was higher than a “radio-only” campaign.

10 Evolution of a participatory model -During the 1970s: shift from a top-down planning toward self- development wherein villagers and urban poor would be the priority audiences and self-reliance and building on local resources would be emphasized. The role of the communication in this process would be: 1)providing technical information about development problems and possibilities, and about appropriate innovations in answer to local request 2)circulating information about the self-development accomplishments of local groups so that other such groups might profit from other’ experience. A typology of Participation: Functional participation Interactive participation Self-mobilization

11 Networking through Village Telecentres FAO/SDRE has been actively supporting the use of ICTs for agricultural development through rural telecentres and other means. Rural community telecentres have much or all of the capability of their urban counterparts as well as access to more traditional media, such as audio and video playback equipment. Typically they can also serve as venues for formal and non- formal distance education training for extension and subject matter specialists. A recent FAO development, as part of its World Agriculture Information Centre (WAICENT) initiatives, as been the Virtual Extension, Research and Communication network or VERCON, designed as an open network to improve communication between research and extension and farmers themselves.

12 INTERNET Other Radios and Media Intermediary Audiences NGOs – Internet Video-Conference Digital Audio Rural Audiences

13 Distance education Within rural development projects, the potential exists for literally thousands of extension agents in Africa, Asia and the Americas to upgrade their credentials from one or two-year post secondary Certificates or Diplomas to B.Sc first degrees, and even beyond to Masters level qualifications through in- service distance education. By using participatory curriculum development methods, these programmes could be tailored to specific needs of extension workers based on their years of practical field experience. Most distance applications in agricultural education and training have been at the non-formal level, mainly using radio and text materials for both individual and group learning at the farmer level, what FAO has recently coined as “ distance extension ”.

14 1. 1. The most potent lesson learned to date is that to be most effective, a participatory communications and adult learning component should be built-in from the start of a project Associated with getting participatory communication and adult learning started early on in project formulation is the importance of incorporating indigenous knowledge and practice A third lesson relates to providing adequate funding from the start for communication and learning components. Hard lessons learned for the road ahead

15 4. 4. Building human capacity takes time, usually much more than provided for in a typical five-year project Given the location-specific nature of the best applied examples of participatory rural appraisal, a “small is beautiful” focus of projects should be at the community level Planning for gender sensitivity in communication and learning strategies continues to be haphazardly applied, particularly with regard to rural women’s concerns. The issue of the lack of evaluation continues to undermine the perception of the value of participatory communication and learning projects components. “Most extension successes are still localized. They are simply islands of success.” From: FAO. 1997d. “Extension ‘s role in sustainable agricultural development”, in Improving agricultural extension – A reference manual. By Roling, N. and Petty, J. Rome, pag.181

16 7. Building in both qualitative and quantitative baseline measures ensures that progress toward achievement of project objectives during implementation, upon its completion, and well after to probe longer-term impact. 8.The question of how to best achieve sustainability following project completion remains a constant challenge but some answers are starting to emerge. Experience has clearly demonstrated that researchers, educators, extensionists, communicators and farmers must act as a dynamic unit in synergizing and complementing each other toward getting the best out methods and practices of participatory communication and learning.


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