FCCM boosts academic collaboration on rural communication


GRI RCWritten by the FCCM team

Research and Capacity Development are two of the five areas of work prioritized by the Working Group of the Forum on ComDev and Community Media for Family Farming (FCCM – Rome 2014).

FAO and a group of academics associated with the FCCM have formed a Global Research Initiative on Rural Communication (GRI-RC) to address the Forum recommendation relating to the need to build a solid evidence base and generate policy recommendations.

The research initiative has been launched by the University of Queensland, the University of Reading, Wageningen University, the University of the Philippines Los Baños, and the University of Guelph. The aim is to involve other partners, especially academic institutions from the South.

Members of the GRI-RC recently met in Wageningen, on the occasion of the European Seminar on Extension and Education, to discuss ongoing activities and next steps. The group is currently conducting a study on evidence-based rural communication services, analyzing ways to assess the impact of ComDev, community media and ICTs on agriculture and rural development. It will draw on case studies worldwide, to review how the effectiveness and sustainability of rural communication services can be improved. Other members of the FCCM working group like Farm Radio International, GFAR and CGIAR, have expressed their interest in contributing to the study.

Preliminary findings of the scoping study will be shared during the 13th Conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) in Montréal, Canada, from 12th to 16th July 2015. In this occasion, the GRI-RC members will take the chance to propose the establishment of a Rural Communication Working Group under the structure of the IAMCR. 

In addition, FAO and the partner universities are planning collaboration in areas such as curriculum development and joint training initiatives based on the Communication for Rural Development Sourcebook. This will include e-learning modules and higher education courses on rural communication.

Exchange and learning will also be enhanced through internships and visiting scientists. This process has already begun with a 10-day visit by Dr Sarah Cardey, from the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development at the University of Reading, to the FAO Office for Partnership, Advocacy and Capacity Development (OPCA). FAO is also hosting an intern from the University of Reading, who will support the FCCM process. Wageningen University will be the next to be hosted in January 2016, followed by The University of Queensland in the second semester of 2016.

Read Sarah Cardey’s blog about her time at FAO and the seminar she gave on Applying Communication for Development with a Gender Perspective to Family Farming.

Photo shows members of the GRI-RC team in Wageningen (left to right): Helen Hambly Odame, University of Guelph; Elske van de Fliert, University of Queensland; Rico Lie, Wageningen University; Mario Acunzo, FAO; Sarah Cardey, University of Reading; and Loes Witteveen, Wageningen University. 

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