The Philippines consists of about 7 107 islands with a total land area of approximately 30 million hectares and populated by about 65 million people. The country is characterized by an irregular shape and nearly all the islands have rugged uplands in the interior. From the original forest of 30 million hectares only 6.16 million hectares of the land are now under forest with less than a million hectares of virgin forest left.
The ecosystem is characterized by a high degree of biological diversity. However, population pressure, poverty and survival needs have resulted in rapid destruction of the environment. The increasing land requirement of the growing population has led to intensified use of the country's limited productive arable lands and the exploitation of the ecosystem. This has generated environmental problems such as decreasing soil fertility, soil erosion, pollution and loss of genetic resources. Twenty-two of the 73 provinces are badly eroded.
Agriculture is still the largest single contributor to the national economy but agricultural lands have been subjected to growing pressure. The proliferation of package technologies in rice, vegetables and fruit has created significant alterations in the biological condition of human beings and their environment. Erosion, salinization and misuse of chemicals have combined to the degradation of once productive soil. Agricultural production has increasingly relied on chemical fertilizers and pesticides to increase productivity.
The green revolution of the 1970s has spawned influence over generations of farmers who had to follow the trend of chemical farming. The widespread use of chemicals in agriculture has taken its toll. Between 1980 to 1987 the Department of Health recorded some 4 031 cases of pesticide poisoning, including 603 deaths. One region alone suffered 1 303 cases of poisoning between January 1992-March 1993.
With this alarming situation at hand and the gradual degradation of the environment affecting agricultural production the IIRR decided to include in its agenda in the 1990s the promotion of agricultural technologies and practices that greatly enhance the environment.
One of the important agricultural development challenges is to overcome the lack of knowledge, experience and updated/relevant training materials on the environment interface with agriculture. These have proved to be a serious setback for the performance of the NGO field workers and become a bottleneck for the promotion and field practice of agricultural technologies and practices that are environment compatible. Within the last decade an increased interest in these agricultural technologies and practices has led to several isolated initiatives from NGOs.
In a number of discussions during several workshops sponsored by IIRR on environment and agriculture, the following shortcomings, issues and problems were identified:
IIRR is a non-profit NGO dedicated to improving the quality of life of the rural poor in the developing nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America. An institution with a long and rich history, its philosophy and principles evolved from over 70 years of experience. It has withstood the test of time and repeated adaptation.
IIRR's mission is to improve the quality of life of the rural poor in developing countries through rural reconstruction: a sustainable, integrated and people-centred development strategy generated through practical field experiences. The aim is to release the potential of rural people to change their own lives.
IIRR focuses on three major programme areas:
It is to be noted that gender and indigenous knowledge cut across all the programme areas. Within each of its major programme areas, IIRR tries to learn what works and what does not and then to share these lessons with others involved in development.
The institute's staff learns by studying the efforts of others involved in the struggle for development. They evaluate development projects, visit field sites, attend conferences and link with others through formal and non-formal networks. However, there is no substitute for doing it yourself. IIRR generates new knowledge about development through its own field projects, many conducted in collaboration with partner organizations. All IIRR field projects have two aims: to benefit local people and learn more about what works in the development process.
IIRR shares what it has learned through training, consultancies, publications and audio-visuals, conferences and networking. With more than 35 years of experience in conducting field research training in rural development, it is an ideal organizer and implementor of training courses in environment and agriculture. The Institute specializes in short-term (up to four weeks) training courses for the development of professionals. Such courses cover many aspects of rural development and new courses are constantly being added in response to the rapidly changing needs in the developing world. An example is the training course on "Environmental management, integrated conservation and development", a course which focuses on the design and implementation of projects that attempt to integrate local resource use with conservation of biodiversity.
Courses combine interactive presentations, discussions, hands-on exercises and visits to field sites. Participants learn from one another, sharing their experiences and working in small groups to solve specific problems. Most courses feature action planning where participants formulate plans and put them into practice when they return home.
The Institute has more than 80 experienced professional staff from a dozen countries. Course facilitators include both IIRR's own staff and highly qualified specialists from development organizations. IIRR is one of the few development training institutions that has its own field action research programme. The training facilitators of IIRR are closely involved in this research which develops and tests new approaches to development. This ensures that IIRR's training is closely grounded in actual field experiences.
Issues about the environment are always news; every week we hear of environmental degradation, deforestation, pollution and flash floods. Despite this, most of us do not understand how the environment works, why it is important or how it is being threatened. It is therefore becoming more and more necessary to understand the environment and how people affect it as well as how they are affected by it.
In 1991-94, the IIRR developed a set of educational materials which aimed to improve the understanding of the issues and problems facing the environment in the Philippines. These materials were intended for use by high school teachers and students, government and non-government extension workers. They include a set of ten video programmes, two information kits and a set of environment education transparency kits.
In 1995, FAO made available to the IIRR, more than US$8 000 in support of the development, testing and production of an EETM. The module was primarily intended for field workers of NGOs implementing various countryside development programmes.
This was thought to be an excellent opportunity to incorporate the needed training component of IIRR's initial effort to produce environment education materials. It was also perceived that the
inclusion of the EETM would complement the environment extension kit developed by IIRR; hence an additional allocation of US$5 000 was also provided to the EETM development project for a duration of 18 months.
The project started with the preparation of a set of general objectives followed by the identification of direct and indirect target beneficiaries as follows:
To improve agricultural extension workers' and NGOs' fieldworkers knowledge and skills in disseminating important information and practices on environment protection and conservation to facilitate sustainable agricultural development.
To develop, pretest and produce the EETM for trainers in environment education in the Philippines.
Direct: extension and field workers from NGOs and GOs, teachers/trainers from agricultural colleges and institutions.
Indirect: community leaders and farm families.
The EETM development project formally started on 30 March 1995 with the setting up of an EETM writing team comprising of the following personnel:
Mr Greg C. Ira, environment specialist, IIRR
Mr Jimmy P. Ronquillo, communication specialist, IIRR
Mr Raquelito Pastores, lowland sustainable agriculture trainer, IIRR
Mr Romeo San Buenaventura, upland sustainable agriculture trainer, IIRR
Mr Efren Oro, training specialist, IIRR
Subject matter specialists:
Mr Noel Sedigo, Don Severino Agricultural College, Indang, Cavite
Dr Antonio Contreras, College of Forestry, UPLB
Dr W. Cosico, Department of Soils, UPLB
Dr Sam Koppa, ICRAF, Philippines
Dr Ben L. Paita, IRRI, Los Banos
The technical staff of the Environment, natural resources and agriculture programme.
As a consequence of this project's activities, IIRR was also able to acccomplish the following results and benefits:
The direct environmental impact of the project's activities is minimal. However, in the acceleration of the application of sustainable agriculture interface with environment conservation, the project will help minimize resource degradation and its negative effects. Eventually, rural ecosystems will be protected from environmental degradation caused by agricultural development activities.
As a consequence of FAO's initiative and IIRR's commitment and involvement, a series of EET activities were undertaken.
The participatory process and methods in developing the EET module/curriculum included the implementation of the following sequence of activities:
Activity 1 - Identify the EETM writing team
Date: 30 March 1995
The EETM writing team consisted of the following:
Activity 2 - Conduct TNA on environment education issues
Date: 6 April 1995
Several methods were used to gather information - observations, interviews, group discussions, key consultation, reports and work samples. The information from the combination of these methods and sources was used to identify the training needs. It was done in a short time and followed a simple approach to conduct the TNA. Two sets of TNA were compiled, one for the users (extension workers) and one for the trainees (farmers). The first group of trainees also served as the
respondents to pilot test the validity and reliability of the TNA. From the evaluation results of the pilot group, the TNA on the environment education issue was reviewed and revised.
Activity 3 - Determine training aim and objectives
Date: 10-16 April 1995
With the results of the TNA the team then prepared the training aim and objectives as follows for the module:
The overall training aim of this project was to protect rural ecosystems from environmental degradation as a consequence of agricultural development activities through:
In order to accomplish these, the following framework was followed to ensure a participatory process:
Activity 4 - Review and compile existing materials
Date: 10-16 April 1995
The team reviewed and compiled the materials related to the subject of natural resources management and environment conservation available in the country, including the IIRR environment information kit and the EETM developed by AEET, Indonesia. The useful and relevant parts of these materials were adapted for the development of the module.
Activity 5 - Identify, select and organize critical contents for EETM
Date: 17 April 1995
The team identified, selected and organized the critical contents of the EETM and appointed writers for the following topics:
Activity 6 - Develop first draft of EETM
Date: 16-29 May 1995
In this activity, the EETM writing team's main problem was to get resource persons to agree on the dates of the writing workshop due to their busy schedule and workload. Therefore, instead of implementing the two-day writing workshop the team requested the resource persons to write their first drafts in their own time and place but to follow specific guidelines and format agreed upon for each training session. For example, each of the sessions should include: the activity title, duration, brief description, objectives, methodology, materials and resources needed, contents/areas and how to conduct the session. Following this procedure, the first draft of the EETM was developed.
Activity 7 - Conduct technical review meeting (TRM)
Date: 1-2 June 1995
The team reviewed and revised the first draft of the EETM prepared. This technical review process involved the topic writers, subject matter specialists, trainers and two teams of communication specialists (who were also writers, editors, desktop publishing specialists and graphic artists). The TRM followed specific procedural steps as follows:
Activity 8 - Conduct users' (instructors') orientation
Date: 3 July 1995
The extension workers and technicians from the DOA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as well as trainers from various institutions including UPLB and Don Saverino Agricultural College were invited to try out the materials. They were given orientation on the contents of the materials and facilitation techniques and each was assigned to try out one topic. They were also given time to absorb the necessary information to gain confidence, prepare their own materials and practise the facilitation techniques. Materials were written in English but they were delivered in Tagalog (a local language).
Activity 9 - Conduct pretest and tryout
Date: 12 July 1995
During the pretest of the materials, 22 farmers from the upland and lowland areas of Cavite were invited for the simulation tryout. The farmers were divided into two groups and simultaneous training sessions were conducted. Evaluation questionnaires were distributed to the participants as well as the facilitators to get their reactions and comments. The evaluation results were consolidated and analysed.
Activity 10 - Conduct content validation seminar (CVS)
Date: 13-14 July 1995
The module writing team invited participants from relevant institutions to discuss the purposes and validate the contents and use of the EETM during a one-day seminar. Participants were divided into two groups and each group worked on the topics assigned to them. At the conclusion of the seminar, the comments, suggestions and corrections to the module were consolidated.
Activity 11 - Revise, improve and finalize EETM for initial printing
Date: 17 July - 21 December 1995
Based on the results of the tryout, comments and suggestions of the CVS, the EETM was revised and finalized for initial limited reproduction. Twenty-five copies of the final version were printed in preparation for the next phase of the activity, field testing and utilization.
Activity 12 - Utilization and field testing of EETM materials
Date: February - December 1996
The field testing and utilization process consisted of the following:
The main purpose of the module is to orient or train the farmers towards development with the emphasis on the environment to promote sustainable agriculture. The topics revolve around the central themes on environment and include the following concepts and perspectives associated with development:
In emphasizing the need for environment education, the following factors were used:
Contents of the module
The module is a primer in environmental education for sustainable agriculture. The topics covered a broad spectrum and all the topics were also designed as stand-alone materials. The module seeks to answer the question how one should approach development work if he/she had the orientation of environment conservation and protection. The following topics provide ideas on how to incorporate the concepts of environment in agriculture in the user's various development-oriented activities.
Cropping system and the environment:
This topic identifies and describes different cropping systems used in agriculture. It discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each, or combination of, cropping systems and determines the
cropping system that can be applied for sustainable crop production.
Forest ecosystem agriculture:
The topic focuses on the identification of the positive and negative effects that a particular forest ecosystem can have on agriculture and vice versa. It also determines the conditions for such effects to occur. The participants then identify issues and strategies that would enhance positive effects and mitigate negative effects.
Gender, environment and development:
The session introduces the idea that gender is an important basis for sustainable environment development. It examines and analyses the roles of women and implications for environment and natural resource management. It highlights techniques and constraints in promoting the participation of women in environmental activities.
Greenhouse effect and the agricultural environment:
The session starts with the general processes and components of the greenhouse effect followed by the identification of agricultural activities affected by it. In the later stage participants enumerate activities to reduce vulnerability of farmers to the impacts of potential climate change and then develop an action plan based on a prepared matrix.
Natural hazards and the agricultural environment:
The topic starts with the participants identifying resources, skills and hazards in their area. Then they identify the organizational structures in the community and external organizations which can be tapped for hazard management including local reactions to hazards and motivation to address them. Participants create an individual action plan based on the problems, issues and concerns identified.
Use of local environmental knowledge in development:
This session explains what is local knowledge, why it is useful and how it can be used in development. Participants are asked to give examples of the different aspects of local environmental knowledge.
This session starts with the discussion on the importance of the agro-ecosystem analysis as an IPM tool. It gives the functions of organisms found in the agro-ecosystem. A demonstration of the balance components of the agro-ecosystem follows and later the participants are asked to draw conclusions and recommendations in managing pest populations based on environmental considerations.
Livestock production and environmental issues:
The session covers environmental problems and causes related to livestock production. Participants identify and formulate possible solutions or alternatives to address the environmental concerns.
Microenvironment management and environmental conservation:
The topic introduces the basic concept of microenvironment and then identifies concepts or practices useful in agriculture and environmental conservation.
Introduction to community organization:
This session focuses on the rationale of organizing communities which can be used for environmental action, processes and techniques in facilitating people's participation in these areas of development.
Plant genetic resources:
The topic covers the identification of the following: the importance and use of plant genetic resources, the effects of human activities in agriculture on plant genetic resources and the importance of conservation in order to protect remaining plant genetics resources for future use.
Recycling of farm biological resources:
The topic introduces the concept and importance of recycling bioresources. It discusses the significant impact of the effects of recycling farm bioresources to sustainable agriculture and the environment. Participants are asked to design their farm bioresources flow based on introduced enterprises on their existing natural resource type.
The session starts with an explanation of the process and cause of soil erosion and its relationship to agricultural production and the environment. Subsequently, the participants are asked to formulate methods of controlling soil erosion through a group action plan.
Watershed management approach to environmental problems:
This topic covers the following: identification of environmental problems and how they are linked with watershed ecosystem, the effect of human activities on the water cycle and the application of watershed approach in solving environmental problems.
Training support materials
Various training support materials such as cases, exercises and suggested readings were used to facilitate the training process. Through cases and examples, the module documented the experiences in environmental education especially on projects that had national or community priority and impact. New areas of development such as integrated area development compared with other curative approaches were explored. Exercises were included to further hone the skills learned from the module. Outlines and enumeration were resorted to when feasible to facilitate easy reading.
The primary audience and/or target beneficiaries of this training course were the field workers engaged in developmental work. They may be from government or non-government development agencies or even from the local community leaders who would mobilize the community on environmental projects. The participants may also have considerable practical experience for various development projects as well as experience in dealing with people in rural settings, listening to their problems, needs and aspirations. This course should also be useful for farmer leaders who seek to mobilize people more effectively. Many of them may have discovered that they are not adequately trained to mobilize their communities effectively to participate or even cooperate in the implementation of development projects. This course seeks to help fill this need. It is further intended that upon completion of this course, participants can train and mobilize others in the application of environmental concepts to agriculture.
Another important target audience and/or beneficiaries for this training were the teachers/trainers from the agricultural colleges and training institutions. This module should also be useful for planners and managers of development programmes since a good understanding of environment education and its use is vital to the success of all development programmes.
Guide for the module instructor
The role of the instructor of this module on environment education will be to guide the participants in the sharing of knowledge. Sharing is the main learning device used in the module. Resource persons may be invited to share their knowledge on particular topics with the participants when they are available. Where no resource person is available, the materials from this module will provide the basis for discussions, games or role-playing.
A summary of the important lessons expected to be learned from each topic in the module should be made. Reading the respective texts before undertaking each topic is highly recommended. Most of the information included in each topic is drawn from actual situations and probably those that the participants may have already experienced. The way they originally reacted or responded to these situations may differ from their new response because of the reorientation they are expected to get from the topics in the context of environment education.
The course should be a learning situation for the instructors as well as for the participants, since the approach suggested was that of learning by interaction.
To prepare for the course, the instructor will need some basic information about the participants. This can be obtained from the information sheet/questionnaire which they filled in when signing up for the training.
The course instructor should take an interest in the physical accommodation during the course. Whether or not the participants were able to get a good night's sleep or nourishing meals can also affect the effectiveness of the course. Make the course as informal as the learning situation will allow. Learning is facilitated when one does not have to stand on ceremony or is not afraid to speak up for fear of saying the wrong things.
The monotony of learning sessions can be broken with social activities such as games or jokes during the sessions. A song and dance evening could also get the participants better acquainted with each other and sharing of knowledge and experience easier to do. Do not overload the day with too many topics; two to three topics per day are recommended and night sessions should be avoided. If possible, confine the contact hours to about six hours per day, three hours each in the morning and afternoon sessions. Participants may also be divided into small groups which will take turns to organize social events and facilitate contacts.
Using the module
The module comprises 14 topics. Each topic can stand on its own, i.e can be taught/learned independently. Any topic can be chosen based on the results of the TNA (a simple TNA tool was discussed earlier). Each topic in the module consists of the following:
a title that captures the essence of the session
a brief description of the topic and its rationale
the objectives set on each topic state the learning and performance expectations for the session
How to conduct the session
Participatory or evocative group discussions and field trips to nearby agricultural sites. This section also provides a step by step guide on how to conduct the session. Guide questions and answers for the facilitator are included. Action planning is suggested before the end of some of the sessions. However, it should be noted that this section merely suggests how to conduct the session. The facilitator should feel free to adapt his/her own approach and set of exercises or use discretion and creativity.
All topics conducted in the classroom situation require a blackboard, chalk, brown paper and marker pens. Additional materials/resources are listed in each topic. Use resources that are available in the community. You will note that there are times when participants are asked to write some answers on sheets of papers to be grouped, revised or deleted in a matrix. Prepare the matrices on big sheets of brown paper before the training starts.
This contains the minimum information needed by the instructor to conduct the session effectively. Posters and matrices are provided for all topics.
These will test the progress of each participant. Use resources that are available in the participant's work location.
List the annexes whenever required.
Ideally, it should take four days to cover all the topics. An abbreviated course may run for two days. However, if only selected topics are to be taught, the time required will vary some topics that require detailed discussions and explanation may take longer.
Evaluating the course
In order to determine if the training course has achieved its objectives, a pre- and post-training evaluation needs to be conducted. The determination of knowledge gained may be tested with a set of questions before and after the training. Skills may be measured by the quality of output produced during the exercises and attitudinal gains can be gleaned from close observation as well as from the final evaluation whereby the participants can comment freely what they feel.
Post training evaluation will help determine the effectiveness of the module and if the objectives have been accomplished. These evaluations will serve as the basis for producing improved editions. Helpful comments, suggestions and contributions will be elicited to further increase the module's usefulness as a training guide. If an evaluation needs to be conducted at the end of each topic (apart from the final evaluation) there are simple evaluation tools that can be used. Depending on resources available, a more sophisticated evaluation may be used.
The EETM project was designed to ensure that activities can be sustained. A few years should give enough time for IIRR to consolidate its effort and resources in the training of master trainers in EET, including the publicity of the training manual/kit. It is strongly believed that the institute has generated an interest based on the quality of previous IIRR-EET TOT alumni and that enough full fee-paying participants from the NGOs will apply for the course. This will generate funds to sustain and implement the project activities and eventually become a regular training activity of the institute. IIRR is quite confident that a significant number of field workers will order the training materials for environment education. The income from the sales of these materials will be spent in their distribution to smaller NGOs in the Philippines. In addition, as an indirect result of this project, an international course on "Environment management: integrated conservation and development" has been developed and conducted regularly at IIRR. This course is self-sustaining and operated on the budget derived from the course fees.
Although this project was not designed to directly reach the final target beneficiaries (the farm families of the Philippines), it focused on the training of personnel who would then train other trainers of the NGOs outreach workers. These workers would then convey to the farmers environmentally sound methods of cultivation. Thus, the EETM developed are used for training personnel who are two levels from the actual final target beneficiaries.
The persons to be trained are carefully selected from among the NGO extension services personnel and rural development workers. One of the criteria for participants to be selected to attend training conducted by IIRR is that the candidate has to be actively involved in training workers who are engaged in agricultural technology outreach programmes for the small and disadvantaged farmers of the Philippines. The participants selected are expected to maximize the "spread effects" from the training they received by training many other workers. The participants selected may be between three to five outreach workers from smaller NGOs and five to ten or more from the bigger NGOs.
To ensure that the EET is sustainable, IIRR will train 54 master trainers during the first four-year period and will also develop the training support materials for these trainers to conduct their training programmes for the agricultural outreach workers. Each of these master trainers should be a catalyst to initiate EET programmes on sustainable agriculture within his/her institutions and train at least five other trainers (i.e. the outreach workers). In turn, each of these outreach workers is expected to train at least 50 farm families per year. On the basis of IIRR field experience, for each farm family that has successfully adopted an improved practice, at least five other neighbouring families will copy its success.
Based on these statistics, it may be projected that the key environment messages contained in the EETM developed by the project should ultimately reach about 300 000 targeted farm families within the four-year planned period. Even if these messages do not reach the final target beneficiaries
within the planned period, the key trainers of agricultural outreach workers at least have the potential to convey the intended environment messages to thousands of farmers within a few years.
Furthermore, it is relatively safe to predict that at least some meaningful environment messages will get to the agriculture outreach workers who will be able to convey them to the farmers they contact. Provisions have also been made to evaluate the effectiveness of these messages in changing farmers' behaviour.
The future plans for EET will include scaling-up and roll-out activities which will be carried out as a direct result of the experiences gained from this project. One of the key accomplishments is the development of a training course/module on "Environment and sustainable agriculture" which will be conducted at IIRR on a regular basis.
In order to maximize the impact of training, it is necessary to provide a follow-up programme. IIRR is now working on a systematic programme of follow-up activities. These include correspondence, a regular newsletter, continuing information on other environment education courses and visits by IIRR staff. Direct follow-up is the most effective means of rekindling the spirit of the sound environment principles among the EET alumni.
IIRR was not originally established as the centre of operations for a new environment education programme and sustainable agriculture but primarily as a training and research centre. While it has inspired many rural development programmes in the Philippines and other countries, IIRR currently does not implement its own environment projects in the Philippines. IIRR sees its present role as primarily to learn from, guide and strengthen the rural development programmes of indigenous movements and to assist in documenting these experiences that may subsequently be incorporated into the IIRR training curriculum.
However, IIRR does implement many rural development projects with an environment component in order to generate knowledge on critical issues and to provide an additional basis for sharing its mission. IIRR is also considering the implementation of a major intervention in a depressed area of the Philippines. If implemented, this new rural reconstruction programme will be modelled entirely on rural reconstruction principles and philosophy. It will become a demonstration of the fourfold integrated approach to rural reconstruction in the selected area. It will provide a reflection of the state of the art as it has now evolved, capitalizing upon the experiences and lessons learned in both the recent and more distant past.
The nature of the EET participants themselves is also changing dramatically. Rural reconstruction principles are today being implemented by many development organizations including those who have never heard of rural reconstruction or IIRR. As various approaches to rural development have been discarded as inadequate, ill-conceived or incomplete, concepts of planning with the people, integration, release of potential, self-reliance and insiders doing the job have all become more widely accepted. With so many enlightened agencies doing such work, IIRR's pioneering work is an advantage.
It is therefore inevitable that the EET programme of IIRR shifts its emphasis from merely demonstrating to the clientele how to conduct EET and sustainable agriculture programmes to a highly participatory training design that encourages an atmosphere of mutual learning and sharing of knowledge.
The attainment of the EET targets will depend on an expansion of the institute's present training staff and an increase in the number of experienced field workers who will implement training activities. Steps are being taken to improve the quality and impact of the EET programme. Recruitment will be increased and a number of depressed areas in the Philippines not previously targeted by IIRR will be specifically encouraged to send participants for training. The selection and pre-training orientation procedures will also be more comprehensively and vigorously applied.
Local EET in other provinces will be supported by IIRR to make training for rural reconstruction workers available at a local level. Such training can be conducted using local languages and the contents and methodology adapted to suit local conditions. Whenever possible, national movements, experienced alumni and local consultants may be used to plan, implement and evaluate such courses. The training at IIRR will focus on the master trainers in rural development programmes. Courses will be shortened and emphasis placed on specific issues and problems of the communities/participants.
Post-training evaluation activities will also be increased to provide comprehensive feedback from participants at regular intervals after training. This will be used to identify other follow-up needs and improve future curricula. Impact indicators will be selected and relevant data collected to provide more objective information about the long term results of EET.
At this stage, IIRR has not pursued this EET programme to generate income or even cover costs. The generation of knowledge for sharing, documentation, recruitment and follow-up and the provision of training facilities are all major expenses that cannot be recovered in the short term, particularly with only a few training courses conducted each year. Many plans therefore depend on the institute's capacity to maintain and increase adequate levels of financial support. However, during the next few years, IIRR will attempt to make its EET programme more cost effective and eventually strive for its own independence.
The target beneficiaries of this training course will also be the field workers engaged in developmental work. They may be from government or non-government development agencies or even local community leaders who would mobilize the community on environmental projects. However, many of these target beneficiaries may not have been adequately trained to mobilize their communities effectively to participate and/or cooperate in the implementation of sustainable agricultural development projects concerning the environment. The scaling-up and roll-out activities as part of the future plan of EET should therefore prepare these participants for this endeavour as well as train and mobilize others in the application of environmental concepts to sustainable agricultural development. The teachers/trainers from the agricultural colleges and training institutions should also be targeted for this activity. In addition, this module should also be useful for planners and managers of development programmes since a good understanding of the environment is vital to the success of all sustainable development programmes.
Environment education in its basic form is an abstract and vague concept to many farm families. Although they are mostly aware about the issues of environment they are generally not truly concerned. They have other priorities to attend to such as the basic necessities of life-food, education of children, clothing, housing, etc. In order to achieve the desired results (of environmental conservation and protection) environment education concepts must be translated into agricultural practices and appropriate technologies that are accepted within the farming community. They must be incorporated into the system of development. Like any other development input, they must be combined with other factors like technology, institutional services, etc. It is for these reasons that most of the topics in this module are related to agriculture and interfaced with the environment.
The EETM development process is an invaluable and continuing process of learning, action and reflection that will lead many participants and their NGO agencies towards the implementation of more agricultural practices that are environment friendly. The EET course on its own is unlikely to accomplish this, although there have been several participants in the past who have returned home to implement their own programmes after training.
There are constraints on the application of environment principles after training. Some participants are constrained by the policies and procedures of their agencies. Others cannot generate sufficient support from colleagues to implement new ideas. Still others are not sure how to implement their new ideas and some not sufficiently inspired or informed to pursue any new ideas.
The participants of EET programmes should also have considerable practical experiences on development projects and in dealing with people in rural settings, listening to their problems, their needs and aspirations. The EET course should therefore prove useful for farmer leaders who seek to mobilize people more effectively on sustainable agricultural development activities.