Written by Cleofe Torres, College of Development Communication UPLB
Strengthening ComDev capacity of rural actors is one of the FCCM priority areas for action, which runs through all regions in the world. ComDev is seen as a mechanism that can help bring about awareness, sensitization, behaviour change and enhanced capacity in areas related both to family farming and rural development in general.
For example, in Latin America, formal and nonformal education are desired to help improve farmers’ access to land and agricultural technical assistance. In Asia-Pacific, training to produce more and better equipped development workers, facilitators and communicators is the focus.
They say that giving a person fish will make him live for a day; and teaching him how to fish, he’ll live for a lifetime. With many trainings delivered for farmers and extension workers, it seems that knowledge on farming alone is not enough. It is important to know what types of trainings are effective, what approaches can lead to concrete development outcomes and what mechanisms can help sustain learning.
Some of the innovative ideas on ComDev education and training that emerged from FCCM regional consultations are as follows:
- Establishment of local and regional ComDev training centers to mainstream and sustain long-term capacity development outcomes among various types of learners and organizations. Such Comdev training centres can provide re-orientation and training to agricultural workers
- Building regional learning networks of farmer organizations and intermediary groups in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to embark on region-wide promotion of Comdev policies and practices
- Building alliances among farmer organizations, government agencies, and academic institutions (including research and development centers) to develop out-of-the-box programs and approaches
- Comdev trainings that are capitalizing on the strengths of younger generation and their competence in using internet-based technologies
- Multi-pronged learning strategies, tapping various stakeholders and using different modalities for a more holistic and integrated approach to Comdev education and training
- Postgraduate scholarships on Comdev-related disciplines especially for budding agricultural specialists and communication practitioners in rural development sector. The inclusion of Comdev in academic programs, global training and multimedia events eventually paves the way for its recognition as a crucial factor in rural development.