Learning and sharing in communication
for rural development

join the community!

ComDev, Community Media & ICT for Family Farming & Rural Development in Asia Pacific ComDev, Community Media & ICT for Family Farming & Rural Development in Asia Pacific

Enabling Environment and Priority Areas for Action for ComDev in Family Farming and Rural Development in Asia Pacific

Discussion started by Prativa Chhetri 3 years ago

Dear All,

 

Welcome to the continuation of Asia Pacific regional consultation on “Communication for Development, Community Media and ICTs for Family Farming and Rural Development”.

 

This week that is 1 to 5 September, 2014 the discussion will focus on “Enabling Environment and Priority Areas for Action” for ComDev in family farming and rural development in Asia Pacific.

 

Please share your views/comments/experience on what should be the priority areas of action for communication for development in agriculture and rural development in the region? Experiences, good practices, trends and proposals with relevant links where possible are most welcome.

 

Look forward to an interesting and fruitful discussion in the week ahead.

 

Thank you!

Replies
Prativa Chhetri
Prativa Chhetri
Dear All

The discussion is continuing on creating an enabling environment and the priority areas of action for ComDev for family farming and rural development in Asia Pacific. We look forward to your views on the following questions:
•What are the main limiting vs. enabling factors for the implementation of rural communication services and policies in the agricultural sector?
•What steps can countries and farmer organizations take to promote rural communication policies and initiatives for family farming in the region?

May I once again remind all to introduce themselves and the organisations they represent at the beginning of their comments/posts.

Thank you and look forward to your valuable inputs.
3 years ago
saroj prasad paudel
saroj prasad paudel
pk plz when it will be start ? plz msg me
3 years ago
Prativa Chhetri
Prativa Chhetri
Dear All

The discussion this week is focussing on enabling environment and priority areas of action for ComDev for family farming and rural development in Asia Pacific.

The following questions have been posted to address the same?
•What should be the priority areas of action for ComDev in agriculture and rural development?
•What are the main limiting vs. enabling factors for the implementation of rural communication services and policies in the agricultural sector?
•What steps can countries and farmer organizations take to promote rural communication policies and initiatives for family farming in the region?

I kindly request your valuable inputs and insights to the same. May I once again remind all to introduce themselves and the organisations they represent at the beginning of their comments/posts.

Thank you and look forward to your responses.
3 years ago
Prativa Chhetri
Prativa Chhetri
Dear All

Thank you for your valuable comments. Here is a summary of the discussions of 4 September on Enabling Environment and Priority Areas of Action for ComDev in Asia Pacific:

•A multi-pronged communications strategy is needed when attempting to influence change. By producing locally broadcast content may provide an incentive for a community to mobilise and renegotiate the benefits they garner when change extractive industries return far less to the communities that are engaged in the production of the raw and sometimes processed goods. Another, parallel, strategy is to make links with community broadcasters in the donor state and work with them in producing content that can be used within the donor state to leverage the outcomes in favour of the "aid" recipients. In effect it is recognising that there are multiple audiences who can influence potential outcomes and then developing ways of packaging a message specifically for the specific audience.
•There is a need for researching and championing local broadcast / telecommunications law in order to demonstrate the benefits of a mixed broadcast sector (state, private, community) to everyone. The focus should be on drawing the attention of those in political office to their responsibilities for access to diversity on the airwaves.
•Broadcast radio can inform the community of what the constitutional obligations are and by building alliances with other groups who are engaged in the struggle for constitutional recognition may be of great use.
•The need to establish a ComDev training centre where local activists got mobilized and translated messages into their own languages was reiterated. While doing so it important to asses a bottom up approach first, sensitization of local groups was essential and ensuring that the training and communication would address the versatility of cultural and ethnic specialties of the target community.
•Local NGOs groups can negotiate with corporate to the farmers. A case in point was the Swaminathan Foundation Chennai that has an agreement with a telephone operator "Airtel" for green SIM card which allows three free voice messages to the farmers of Chennai. This has also prompted other companies to come up with similar facilities for the farmers.
•Capacity building should be the first priority for new technologies like community television, community video and mobile telephony.
•An example from Commonwealth of Learning, Vancouver was shared where Dr K. Balasubhramanian is working for the project called Lifelong Learning for Farmers www.col.org/progServ/programmes/livelihoods/L3farmers/Pages/…
In a discussion, Dr Balasubhramanian mentions that mobile telephony is the best medium to reach the unreached farmers and this methodology has been applied for rural farmers in India, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Kenya, Mauritius and Papua New Guinea.
•In developing countries where internet access is low community radio has the potentiality to deliver development contents to a large number of farmers at a time. For example, Krishi Radio is a community radio based in Borguna, Bangladesh operated by the Agriculture Ministry of the government krishi.communityradio.com.bd/ where innovative programming based on 'Agrotainment' (Agriculture+entertainment) is serving the rural population with development messages on agriculture.
•Priority area for ComDev in agriculture and rural development involves strong college and university research and training networks. Ideally these networks should also be networked across regions.
•Universities can be effective at encouraging policymakers to invest in rural ComDev for more effective agricultural partnerships and innovation. For students (future agriculture/rural communicators and extension workers) training is very important and small research projects involving partnerships with the community really works as demonstrated by the project called Mobilizing Knowledge for Sustainable Agriculture. The partnership development program involved Wayamba University in Sri Lanka, 2 universities in Canada and a regional association LIRNEAsia through multi-stakeholder communication, using ICTs and Open Source Software. For more information please visit mobilizingknowledge.blogspot.ca/

Thank you!
3 years ago
Helen Hambly
Helen Hambly
Hello

One priority area for comdev in agric/rural involves strong college and university research and training networks. Ideally these networks should also be networked across regions.

In my 10+ years of comdev networking I see the universities can be effective at encouraging policymakers to invest in rural comdev for more effective agricultural partnerships and innovation. Students (future agric/rural communicators and extension workers) training is very important - small research projects involving partnerships with the community ("community service learning" or "engaged learning") really work!

An example I can also share is that of the partnership development program (involving Wayamba University in Sri Lanka, 2 universities in Canada and a regional association LIRNEAsia). The project is called Mobilizing Knowledge for Sustainable Agriculture (through multi-stakeholder communicatino, use of ICTs and Open Source Software) mobilizingknowledge.blogspot.ca/
3 years ago
Ankuran
Ankuran
As we discussed earlier, we need capacity building for agricultural communication through community media and colleagues in this discussion already mentioned regarding a training institute. For new technologies like community television, community video and mobile telephony, capacity building is the first priority. Not only on the programming, we have to create an environment to deliver the community media materials for the target audience in proper way. For example, at Commonwealth of Learning, Vancouver, Dr K. Balasubhramanian is working for the project called Lifelong Learning for Farmers (www.col.org/progServ/programmes/livelihoods/L3farmers/Pages/…). It became a successful programme and in a discussion, he mentioned that mobile telephony is the best medium to reach the unreached farmers. Mobile learning is the most suitable method to deliver the development and learning contents to the farmers. I am highly convinced with the methodologies he applied for rural farmers in India, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Kenya, Mauritius and Papua New Guinea.

It is also true that the recurring cost in this medium is still expensive in the developing countries as we have to deliver the materials to the farmers in their cheap devices without internet connectivity. The art to deliver messages in very limited duration is also a challenge and needs training for the development communicators. In comparison to this medium, community radio has still potentiality to deliver development contents to a large number of farmers at a time. For example, Krishi Radio is a community radio based in Borguna, Bangladesh by the Agriculture Ministry of the government (krishi.communityradio.com.bd/). They are serving to the farmer and fisher community of the region with innovative programme designing since January, 2012. This radio was started with the financial assistance from FAO. In a country like Bangladesh, where about 75% population are based on agriculture, many more such type of community radios are needed. The innovative programming based on 'Agrotainment' (Agriculture+entertainment) in this type of community radio can serve the rural population with development messages on agriculture. In India, Agricultural Universities and Krishi Vigyan Kendras can apply for community radio license. But only six or seven stations were established in agricultural institutions so far out of 170 CR stations in India. The Ministry of Agriculture can take a special initiative to set up more CR stations in agri institutions with a long term goal of inculcating quality farming in India.
In my opinion, before capacity building for the communicators, awareness creation among the policy makers, organsations is more important for an environment, where we can reach the last person of the society.
Ankuran
3 years ago
Pradeep Sharma
Pradeep Sharma
i am fully agree with the cleof's idea of establishing a Comdev training center, from where local activists got mobilized and translate messages into their own languages and structures for effective communication. But before this activity it is important to asses a bottom up approach first then needed to be followed rather that a top down approach which govt agencies generally trying. Local groups needed to be sensitized first before issues to be collected.
The final mechanisms of training and communication needed top be developed taking care of versatility of cultural and ethnic specialties each community have.
second issue is of negotiating the local companies . Like again Swaminathan Foundation Chennai has agreement with a local operator named "Airtell" for green SIM card which allows three free voice message to the farmers of Chennai and then he suggested beneficiary farmers to purchase that SIM cards. . then Other company also came with the similar offers.This is an example of how a local ngo groups can negotiate with the corporates to help them. However there should be a complete transparency in all such kind of deals .
3 years ago
Prativa Chhetri
Prativa Chhetri
Thank you Shane for your suggestions on adopting a multi pronged communication strategy and advocating for local broadcast/telecommunication law that will benefit the community for creating an enabling environment for ComDev for rural development.

May I take this opportunity to post the following questions to all under the same topic?
•What are the main limiting vs. enabling factors for the implementation of rural communication services and policies in the agricultural sector?
•What steps can countries and farmer organizations take to promote rural communication policies and initiatives for family farming in the region?

Look forward to your valuable insights to the above questions.
3 years ago
Shane Elson
Shane Elson
I would like to build on a couple of the comments made by Linda and in particular, ways of utilising community media in mobilising local communities within the economic and political frameworks in which they exist.
Linda points out the links to international aid funding by donor states and how, quite often, that aid is linked to the benefits the donor state may extract from the programs being sponsored.
Quite often these extractive industries return far less to the communities that are engaged in the production of the raw and sometimes processed goods, than should be the case.
Producing locally broadcast content may provide an incentive for that community to moblise and renegotiate the benefits they garner.
Another, parallel, strategy is to make links with community broadcasters in the donor state and work with them in producing content that can be used within the donor state to leverage the outcomes in favour of the "aid" recipients.
In effect it is recognising that there are multiple audiences who can influence potential outcomes and thendeveloping ways of packaging a message specifically for the specific audience.
Of course, any such activist communications strategy has to allow for the contingency of 'blowback' or unintended consequences - for instance the level of aid being reduced to such a point that it has material impact on the living conditions of those affected.
The other point I would like to pick up from Linda's post is in regard to broadcast regulation and policy.
My personal opinion is that attempting to change the behaviour of commercial broadcasters in relation to content and advertising, is beyond the remit of community media.
My opinion is that while some effort on this could be expended, the focus should be on drawing the attention of those in political office to their responsibilities for access to a diversity on the airwaves.
I comprehend that for some this may prove personally risky but I think that its much better to promote your strengths than decry your 'opponent's' weaknesses. I also realise that in many places politicians loyalties are not always what they seem.
To that end, local content - again remembering that broadcast radio is just one of many modes of communication - can be produced that informs the community of what the constitutional obligations are. Where there is no constitutional guarantee of access to the airwaves by the community, then building alliances with other groups who are engaged in the struggle for constitutional recognition may be of great use. OF course, this might call for some educational aspect in building those alliances whereby they are made aware of the potential of community media to benefit their cause.
In short, 1) a multi-pronged communications strategy is needed when attempting to influence change and 2) researching and championing local broadcast / telecommunications law in order to demonstrate the benefits of a mixed broadcast sector (state, private, community) to everyone.
3 years ago
Prativa Chhetri
Prativa Chhetri
Dear All

Here is a summary of Cleofe’s post on creating an enabling environment and the priority areas of action for ComDev in family farming and rural development in Asia Pacific
•There is a need to establish a Comdev training centre that will provide re-orientation and training to agricultural workers. This would create a critical mass of development or extension workers trained in ComDev which would support and sustain the ComDev efforts in family farming. Some organisations interested in this effort are Sarawak Development Institute (SDI) and Agriculture Information Services of Ministry of Agriculture in Bangladesh.
•Establishment of development communication office manned by highly trained DevCom professionals aids in community development and extension work for family farming as demonstrated by PhilRice in Philippines
•More scholarships and funding for graduate studies in ComDev is needed especially in Asia and Africa where students are interested but lack of funding hinders their efforts.
•Greater investment from governments in Asia Pacific for the training of ComDev practitioners and professionals.

We kindly request your views/comments/experience on what are the main limiting and enabling factors for the implementation of rural communication services and policies in the agricultural sector of the region?

We welcome experiences, good practices, trends and proposals with relevant links where possible.

Thank you!
3 years ago
Prativa Chhetri
Prativa Chhetri
Post by Cleofe S. Torres

Enabling environment and priority areas for action:

To support and sustain our ComDev efforts in FF, it would help if we have a pool or critical mass of development or extension workers trained in ComDev. Since they are the ones who work on ground, their contributions will inevitably have more impacts. Can we have a massive re-orientation and training of agric workers? Our work partners in Sarawak (Sarawak Development Institute or SDI) and Bangladesh (Agriculture Information Services of Ministry of Agric) have expressed their desire to establish a Comdev training center. This might sound as an ambitious long term plan but I believe this will respond well to mainstreaming and sustaining ComDev work in terms of the needed human resources in the comong years. We are now creating the demand, so we might as well prepare the supply side.

In PhilRice, where Jaime Manalo comes from, they have a well established development communication office manned by highly trained devcom professionals. It is no wonder that their community development and extension work for FF are one of its kind in the country or Asia as well.

Our college have received a number of inquiries about our graduate programs in DevCom from development workers in different countries of Asia and Africa. They could have form part of the critical mass of ComDev workers; but many of them are not able to pursue their studies due to lack of scholarships. Unfortunately, our college is not in a position to provide such scholarships.

Are there funding agencies out there willing to support graduate studies in ComDev? The challenge also is how do we convince national governments in Asia-Pacific to invest in training of ComDev practitioners and professionals. Let us hear from others on how this may be addressed.

Wednesday, 03 September 2014 01:09
3 years ago
Prativa Chhetri
Prativa Chhetri
Dear All

The discussion is focussing on creating an enabling environment and what are the priority areas of action for ComDev in family farming and rural development in Asia Pacific.

Please share your views/comments/experience on what are the main limiting and enabling factors for the implementation of rural communication services and policies in the agricultural sector of the region?

Experiences, good practices, trends and proposals with relevant links where possible are most welcome.

Look forward to your valuable inputs.
3 years ago
Prativa Chhetri
Prativa Chhetri
Dear All

Here are the main points from Linda’s post on 2 September, 2014 on the priority areas of action for ComDev in agriculture and rural development in the Pacific Island countries:

•There is a need to advocate rural communication rights and these have to be stated clearly in national broadcast regulations. Public service broadcasting requirements should be placed onto commercial broadcasters as part of the licensing regime to create and deliver programming that is relevant to farmers and other rural residents. Most programmes especially on FM broadcasters focus primarily on urban and youth audiences and the information needs of rural communities are not really considered.
•Use some of Universal Access (UA) funds to seed small-project grants around rural communication rights. Many Island countries also levy Universal Access (UA) fees onto telecommunications providers that theoretically will be used to subsidise the expansion of internet and mobile telephone services into rural areas but often lie unused in bank accounts or treated as general-fund revenues, not special fund revenues.
•Telecommunication policy and regulatory environment should help to drive down the cost of mobile telephone services.
•There is a need to observe national farmers day or hold a national farmers exhibition to celebrate farmers/fisherfolk and their traditional knowledge. These could be through product displays, photo exhibits, local art, song, theatre, and dance, in addition to more conventional mediated C4D applications like video and community radio. If ICTs can be positioned as essential services for sustainable agriculture, then the youth will be further attracted to consider agriculture as a vocation.
•In order to create appropriate low-cost, low-power ICTs there is a need to work closely with local universities, TAFEs and others. Development of mobile-phone “apps” suited to local languages and end-user conditions would help to find more agriculture champions among the teaching faculty in computing science and engineering programs.
•There is a need to address policy and regulatory environments, in general. Much of agricultural-development work is driven by international aid around export commodities that are of interest to the donor country and very few projects address Pacific staple crops and food security issues. There is very little capacity within Pacific Island countries to do their own research, although this is slowly changing.
•There is a need more advocacies on an enabling policy environment for C4D, broadcasting and licensing policies in the Pacific Island countries. Most of the Pacific’s national telecommunication policies and regulations were written by international actors and not locals as a result it privileges ICTs and not broadcasting.

Thank you Linda for you valuable inputs and look forward to more comments/posts from others on the priority areas for ComDev in agriculture and rural development in Asia.
3 years ago
Prativa Chhetri
Prativa Chhetri
Thank you Linda for listing the priority areas of action for ComDev for family farming in the Pacific Islands which is similar to many other countries in Asia also.

Please note that a summary of the discussions held last week on the role of ComDev, community media and ICTs for family farming and rural development in Asia Pacific region has been uploaded.

We look forward to more posts on the priority areas of action for ComDev for family farming in the region.
3 years ago
Linda Austin
Linda Austin
Hello friends,

Welcome to Week 2!

Perhaps I could contribute a few thoughts around priority areas of action for C4D in agriculture and rural development in my region of expertise, the Pacific Islands?

* Place public service broadcasting requirements onto commercial broadcasters as part of the licensing regime. This would encourage the popular FM broadcasters (and some TV) to create and deliver programming that is relevant to farmers and other rural residents. This could include the broadcasting of daily agriculture-market information, or the hosting of more rural-themed programs. Right now, most Pacific Island commercial broadcasters only broadcast music and a bit of hourly news and they extract quite high profits from advertising. They focus primarily on urban and youth audiences. The information needs of rural communities aren’t really considered. So, perhaps there is a need to advocate around rural communication rights and have these stated clearly in national broadcast regulations.

* As is found around the world, many Island countries also levy Universal Access (UA) fees onto telecommunications providers that theoretically will be used to subsidise the expansion of internet and mobile telephone services into rural areas. Often these UA funds heap up in bank accounts and are not spent, or they are treated as general-fund revenues, not special fund revenues. What would be interesting is to use some of these UA funds to seed small-project grants around rural communication rights. For example, perhaps funds could be used to seed community radio stations, or to drive the creation of farmer-made agricultural extension information. This would also strengthen the demand for rural ICT services, because more rural residents would be using the networks. Obviously, to make something like this work, farmers organisations and other community-based groups would need training in grant-writing, project management, organisational foundations, etc.

* Continue to drive down the cost of mobile telephone services! This is largely accomplished through the telecommunication policy and regulatory environment, yes?

* Be more pro-active about celebrating our farmers and fisherfolk and their traditional knowledge, perhaps through a national farmers day or a national farmers exhibition. These could include product displays, photo exhibits, local art, song, theatre, and dance, in addition to more conventional mediated C4D applications like video and community radio. If ICTs can be positioned as essential services for sustainable agriculture, then the youth will be further attracted to consider agriculture as a vocation. Perhaps ICTs and performance arts (music, dance) could be more deeply incorporated into youth farmer groups or school courses. Project the image that today’s farmer/fisher is entrepreneurial, tech savvy, socially networked, and destine for success!

* Work more intently with local universities, TAFEs and others around the creation of appropriate low-cost, low-power ICTs. Really push them. This is now being done in the area of rural energy and a bit in weather forecasting, but not so for agriculture or fisheries. Also, developing mobile-phone “apps” suited to local languages and end-user conditions (so, more icons and fewer words?). it would help to find more ag champions among the teaching faculty in computing science and engineering programs.

* This last area of concern is not directly related to C4D, but it does address policy and regulatory environments, in general. So much of the agricultural-development work here is driven by international aid around export commodities that are of interest to the donor country. Just to give one example, certain international donor countries that consume heaps of tuna invest in tuna research and little else. The majority of the agricultural development projects seem to address niche export commodities, such as pearl farming, organic fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, growing sponges for the cosmetic industry, etc, Very few projects seem to address Pacific staple crops and food security issues. There is very little capacity within Pacific Island countries to do their own research, although this is slowly changing. So how to address this? Common sense tells us that, of course, a small and poor country will align its development objectives to meet the funding environment, but what if domestic needs are different from international funding priorities? Black pearls are beautiful, but one can’t eat them and only the elite have the resources to grow and market them.

* It’s worth noting that most of the Pacific’s national telecommunication policies and regulations were written by international actors, not locals, and imposed through a mixture of aid (carrot) and political pressure (stick). This doesn’t mean the regs are bad,but it does mean they privilege ICTs, not broadcasting. ICTs, with the exception of mobile phones, are not yet appropriate technology for rural Islanders. Some countries (e.g.: Solomon Islands) now don’t even have licensing regulations around radio broadcasting. Many countries have subsumed broadcasting under telecommunication policies, even though the two are quite different sectors. Only one country (Fiji) recognises community radio in its licensing regime. So, another area for C4D advocacy?

3 years ago

Available Files

Related Discussions

Powered by JomSocial