Bangladesh is a low-lying agricultural country and is one of the ten most populous nations in the world. The total population in the country is about 125 million living in 20 million households. Almost 80 percent of the population live in rural areas and the agricultural sector employs about 62 percent of the work force, contributing 34.5 percent to the GDP. The land topography is mostly lowland plains with the highest peak at only 1 200 m. The temperature is moderate and a wet climate prevails with high uneven distribution of rainfall ranging from 1 500 mm to 6 500 mm (GoB, MOA, 1995). Contrary to common belief, Bangladesh has a wide spectrum of environment conditions, thus providing a wide range of opportunities for agricultural development. Due to the complexity of soil, hydrological and climatic conditions there is an urgent demand for environment - specific agricultural development activities to be included in education, research, extension and training programmes (GoB, Task Force Report, 1991).
The Government's perception on environmental problems and how to deal with them are explicit in the Fourth five year plan (FFYP, 1990-95) and the National conservation strategy for Bangladesh (IUCN, 1993). In these documents, the Government identified 15 major local, regional and trans-frontier factors affecting the environment, ranging from population density and pressure on resources to transboundary movement and dumping of hazardous wastes. In view of these factors the Government has formulated several objectives and strategies to counteract environmental problems. The major objectives are: to control and prevent environmental pollution and degradation related to soil, water and air; promote environment-friendly activities in development areas; preserve, protect and develop natural resource bases; strengthen the capabilities of public and private sectors to manage environment concerns as a basic requisite for sustainable development; create people's awareness for participation in environment promotion activities (IUCN, 1993).
Population pressures and development activities including agricultural development have made a tremendous impact on almost all the major ecosystems of Bangladesh. A large section of the population depends on agriculture, forestry and fisheries for their livelihood and economic development. Within agriculture, the crop sector dominates the major activities and determines the labour absorption capacity. Unplanned development, the large population and its high rate of growth at 1.9 percent per annum, poverty and inappropriate policies have all contributed to a decline in the quality of the environment and a depletion of the country's natural resources. Similarly, the indiscriminate and unplanned use of pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals coupled with soil erosion and loss have become a great problem for the environment. In the process, environmental degradation has become a great threat to the increased agricultural production in Bangladesh.
The land and water resources of rural Bangladesh are under considerable environmental strain, particularly from intensification and extension of agriculture, deforestation and loss of natural vegetation cover. Population increase, low per capita income, industry and urbanization are the main causes of such pressure. Recently, several options to overcome environmental damage have been identified in Bangladesh.
The main objectives of the Government's agricultural policy are to: (1) increase the food supply for the growing population; (2) provide income and jobs for rural people; (3) protect the environment (DAE, GoB, 1995). Land being scarce in Bangladesh, these objectives can only be achieved through efficient, productive and sustainable use of farm land with due consideration to protecting and preserving the environment. Extension has a great role to play in human resource development through education and training in respect of environmental issues affecting agriculture.
Agriculture and environment are highly interlinked in Bangladesh as the environment is not entirely benign. Environment degradation is also associated with the diffusion of modern agricultural technology. The Government's policy of increasing agricultural production sometimes contradicts with the protection of environment. The new agricultural extension policy reiterated the need for self sufficiency in food grain production, ensure sustainable agricultural development, introduce high quality appropriate agricultural technology, maintain the ecological balance in the natural environment, establish export-oriented processing industries and provide integrated environmental support (DAE, GoB, 1996). This poses a major environment and agricultural development challenge to the agricultural sector, particularly the DAE.
The training wing of the DAE has prepared a master training plan to train all the professionals, non-professionals and selected farmers in various subject-matter areas. However, no training programme has been developed on environment-related issues affecting agriculture (DAE, MOA, 1995-96). This clearly shows a gap between the new extension policy of the government and its training policy. The EETM presented in this chapter signals an urgent need for government organizations (especially the DAE) and other NGOs to ensure that the training activities are in line with the national agricultural extension policy.
There are four categories of organizations that are responsible for conducting agricultural EET and support service activities in Bangladesh. These are: (1) government agencies such as the DAE; (2) NGOs; (3) support services agencies such as banks (for providing credit), the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC, for providing seeds, irrigation facilities, etc); (4) the agricultural universities, colleges and research institutions to provide training and extension services in addition to their regular formal teaching.
The DAE is the primary and largest government organization under the MOA with the responsibility to disseminate agricultural innovations and provide in-service training to the extension specialists, agents and farmers. The DAE is headed by a director-general and comprises seven divisions: (1) field services, (2) food crops, (3) cash crops, (4) plant protection, (5) training, (6) administration and personnel management, and (7) planning and evaluation. The training wing is responsible for providing pre- and in-service training of the extension agents through its 12 ATIs and one Central Extension Resources Development Institute (CERDI). The ATIs employ a total of about 120 instructors who are mainly responsible for conducting the pre-service Diploma in Agriculture programme and CERDI with a core training staff of about 15 which is responsible for providing all types of in-service training for various extension specialists and field extension agents.
There are approximately 2 650 extension professionals (SMSs, SMOs, TAOs, JAEOs and AAEOs) and 1 200 field extension workers (BSs) serving the DAE. All these personnel need to be trained on a regular basis in various aspects of agricultural extension. Training is usually conducted at the regional, district, thana and block levels, whereas at the field level the block supervisors provide extension services to the farmers. One of the main functions of the training wing is to design a personnel development plan and execute the same for all the personnel of DAE. A master training plan was developed in 1995 for all categories of extension agents and selected farm leaders but its training programme never included environmental issues. There was, however, a felt need to train the extension personnel on environmental issues and this prompted the DAE and the Graduate Training Institute (GTI) to develop the EETM for agriculture in collaboration with FAO.
The Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU)
The BAU has a training wing, the GTI, which is responsible for training professional-level agricultural extension personnel of the DAE, staff of the research institutions as well as various NGOs. The GTI as the apex in-service training institute in the field of agriculture therefore has the responsibility to develop and implement such training programmes. It has a core staff of 10 training specialists who are supported by 400 qualified academic staff of the university representing various disciplines in agriculture. In addition, other training specialists from the DAE, research institutes and other GOs and NGOs also serve as resource persons when needed. Since the GTI is centrally located in the country it has the advantage of cooperation with other national personnel development agencies. The BAU also has extension service functions in addition to training. These extension functions are carried out by the Bangladesh Agricultural University Extension Centre (BAUEC). BAU therefore performs both training and extension responsibilities and functions in addition to its regular academic teaching and research activities.
There are about 4 000 registered NGOs in Bangladesh, each with its own personnel development training programme. There is an expressed need for field staff to be trained in various aspects of environment education in agriculture.
The main activities of the NGOs in Bangladesh are: (1) relief and rehabilitation, (2) income generation, (3) awareness raising, (4) education, (5) health and family planning, and (6) environmental conservation. Although some of the NGOs may specialize in one or several of these activities, most of them tried to provide package programmes containing a combination of activities (IUCN, 1992). Hence, the demand and need for the EETM have also been felt among many NGOs in Bangladesh. The NGOs working on environmental issues in agriculture include: the Rangpur-Dinajpur Rural Services (RDRS), the Village Farm Forestry Project (VFFP), the Gonoshahjjo Sangstha (GSS), and the Enfants du Monde/Department of Soil Science (EDM/DSS). Some of these NGOs not only train their own staff but also offer training to government staff.
On the basis of the above, it is clear that the need for EET in agriculture in Bangladesh is essential. However, this micro-level need was non-apparent due to the importance given to the more generic conception (or misconception) of environmental pollution which was limited only to air pollution, water pollution, deforestation, etc. It is perceived that a latent and unexpressed need had prevailed in the minds of extension workers of Bangladesh (perhaps also in many other countries) about the preservation of agricultural environment and the need for training in this area. Prior to 1994 no attempt was made by government organizations, donor agencies or NGOs to develop a training module pertaining to environmental issues to train the extension workers and farmers of Bangladesh.
This perceived need was commonly expressed by the participants of an international workshop held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in mid June 1994, on "EET through agricultural extension". The workshop was initiated and sponsored by FAO and organized by the Universiti Pertanian Malaysia. As a follow-up to this workshop, a "participatory, needs-based, problem-solving and output-oriented" programme to develop the EETM for the extension personnel of DAE, MOA was prepared by a "multi-disciplinary, cross-sectoral and inter-agency" team of six members representing different fields of expertise. The programme was partially funded and technically assisted by FAO.
The DAE and GTI were the focal and local organizations which actively coordinated and collaborated with their resources in planning, designing and implementing the EETM development activities. The secretary of the MOA,director-general of DAE and vice-chancellor of BAU actively cooperated during the process of development of the EETM. The author of this chapter who had served as the director of GTI, director of extension centre of BAU, rector of the Institute of Post-graduate Studies in Agriculture (IPSA) and as professor in the Department of Agricultural Extension Education, BAU acted as the coordinator of this module writing team. The team comprised of six writers (from DAE, GTI and IPSA) who worked through the entire process of developing the EETM. These writers included a curriculum development specialist, training specialist, environmental specialist, soil and irrigation specialist, IPM specialist and a field extension specialist.
The mandatory responsibility of training all the extension personnel serving in DAE lies with the training wing of DAE and GTI/BAU. The training wing of DAE has direct jurisdiction of the ATIs and CERDI. In addition, the Director of the training wing is also a member of the governing board of GTI which makes the policy for designing the master training plan of GTI. The training wing and GTI are also functionally linked to develop, design, implement and evaluate all the training programmes for the extension personnel of MOA. In addition, CERDI and GTI offers training courses for other GOs and NGOs as well as research institutions on request in various fields of agriculture. Furthermore, IPSA, a postgraduate agriculture training institution for masters and Ph.D. level also conducts an outreach programme to disseminate technologies and specialized training courses in agriculture. IPSA is directly supervised by the MOA and was thus involved during the second phase of the EETM development. Hence, the three agencies, GTI, DAE and IPSA were directly involved in the EETM development process and they collaborated with FAO to develop the module for Bangladesh.
The project to develop the EETM for Bangladesh as part of the EET programme has produced many useful results and benefits for both the agencies involved and the intended target beneficiaries. These may be summarized as follows:
The EETM development is a participatory-oriented activity that may be divided into two main phases, Phase 1: In-country EETM development activities, and Phase 2: Experience sharing and final revision of the EETM.
Phase 1: In-country EETM development activities
The CAC for the Bangladesh EETM development team attended the first regional workshop on EET through agricultural extension" held from 20 to 25 June 1994 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The workshop was sponsored by FAO and organized by the UPM. At the end of this workshop the participants of several countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, China and Bangladesh indicated their interest in undertaking the preparation of training modules relative to environmental issues affecting the agricultural sectors and to train extension personnel in their respective countries.
An initial proposal to develop this EETM was prepared and submitted to FAO immediately after the Kuala Lumpur workshop. The formal proposal was submitted later as a formal country request after some formalities had been completed with the agency concerned, i.e. the DAE as its official consent for active participation in the EETM development process was necessary. This was also important as DAE would have the final responsibility to utilize the EETM for training all the extension workers of Bangladesh. A Letter of Agreement (LoA) was finally signed between FAO and GTI, BAU (as the implementing agency for DAE) to prepare an EETM for Bangladesh's agricultural sector. Work on the module development subsequently started in November 1994 by a consortium of training institutions, headed by the CAC and six module writers.
The process of developing this module is illustrated and presented in Appendix A: EETM development process in Bangladesh. The first step in the process was to select module writers from different training institutions with relevant background and experiences. These module writers were selected from DAE, GTI-BAU and IPSA, the consortium institutions. The second step in the process was to identify the intended target beneficiaries for whom the EETM would be prepared. In this case the immediate target beneficiaries were the SMS and SMOs, the agricultural professionals serving under DAE. The third step was to assess training needs and identify relevant training contents for the Bangladesh situation. This step was followed by a review of literature, setting goals and objectives, consulting with the experts, users and beneficiaries. The step to determine the relevant module contents and selecting learning methods and multi-media materials was a very important activity. However, at this stage to prepare the first draft EETM, this activity was undertaken only by the module writers. Several writers'workshops and discussions were held among the module writers during all these stages of the process.
The preparation of the first draft of EETM was completed in about six months. Following this, an expert review meeting was conducted. Participants included resource persons representing various government agencies, NGOs as well as the private sector agencies who were engaged in agricultural production activities. The draft EETM was revised after the review meeting and a try-out training activity was conducted with a group of 25 master trainers to get a feed back from them. After this tryout training the EETM was again reviewed and revised and a final draft submitted to FAO. Simultaneously, about 100 copies of this prototype EETM were reproduced and distributed to DAE and other concerned government agencies and NGOs.
Phase 2: Experience sharing and final revision of the EETM
The draft EETM of Bangladesh which was prepared at the conclusion of the first phase (September 1995) was presented in a regional workshop on "The development and utilization of EETM for agricultural extension workers" held in Bali, Indonesia, from 16 to 20 October 1995. This workshop was sponsored by FAO and organized by the AAET, MOA Indonesia and attended by all the CACs and/or TMs of EETM development participating countries as well as the EET network members and some resource persons. At this workshop several suggestions and recommendations to improve the module were made. Consequently, a proposal for a second EETM phase development was submitted to FAO for provision for further partial financial and technical assistance in order to review and revise the EETM according to the recommendations of the Bali workshop.
With additional support provided by FAO the consortium was able to complete the activities planned for the second phase. During this phase, both the GTI-BAU and IPSA were given joint responsibility to carry out the activities as the CAC had been transferred to IPSA from BAU. Another LOA was signed by FAO and GTI/IPSA to finalize the production of the EETM based on the Bali workshop recommendations. The tasks were successfully completed as scheduled.
Among the major activities performed during Phase 2 were the following:
The structure and contents of the training module are summarized and presented in Figure 2: Structure of EETM Bangladesh (Appendix B). The contents are made up of two major units: (1) general aspects of the environment; (2) protection and conservation of agricultural resources. The first unit is divided into three activities (lessons) which include: (a) major components of environment; (b) farm environment and agro-ecosystem; (c) environmental hazards and associated problems, while the second unit has five activities including: (a) soil pollution and its protection, (b) hydrology, water pollution and its protection, (c) tree and homestead management (d) organic farming and environment (e) integrated pest management.
To facilitate understanding and use of the modules by the trainers, each activity is accompanied by: (i) an activity fact sheet covering the activity title, objectives, equipment, materials needed, time frame and delivery steps; (ii) training aids (OHP and slides); (iii) pre- and post-test sheets including the key answers; (iv) hand-outs. In addition, there is a checklist of topics discussed in the training module (syllabus) so as to ensure that at the end of the training the trainees should have gained the knowledge and skills listed in the units and activities of the module.
The EETM developed for Bangladesh is described and summarized as follows:
EETM for agricultural extension workers in Bangladesh (22 hours)
Unit 1: General aspects of environment (9 hours)
Activity 1: Major components of the environment (2 hours)
The contents of this activity include: (a) the meaning of environment and its importance, (b) the components of environment and their interaction and (c) the human interventions in environment.
Activity 2: Farm environment and agro-ecosystem (3 hours)
This activity describes the linkages of different components in a farming system and explains the cause and effect relationships of related farm activities affecting farm environment.
Activity 3: Environment hazards and associated problems (4 hours)
This activity is written so that the trainees can learn to: (a) identify the major environmental problems, (b) explain the causes of environmental degradation and their possible effects, (c) manipulate strategies and plan actions so that some of these problems can be solved, (d) explain the harmful effects of pesticides and their safe use, (e) describe the use of botanical and microbial insecticide.
Unit II: Protection of agricultural resources (13 hours)
Activity 1: Soil pollution and its protection (2 hours)
This activity aims to provide knowledge and skills to the trainees so that they can: (a) identify the factors of land degradation and pollution, (b) recommend actions to solve land degradation problems.
Activity 2: Hydrology, water pollution and its protection (3 hours)
This activity aims to enhance the knowledge and skills of the trainees so that they will be able to (a) identify factors affecting water pollution, (b) explain needed actions to reduce water pollution.
Activity 3: Tree and homestead management (3 hours)
This activity should provide knowledge and skills to the trainees about: (a) the important functions of trees, (b) the factors contributing to deforestation, (c) actions needed to solve deforestation problems, (d) the functions of homestead environment, and (e) potential strategies of maintaining a healthy homestead environment.
Activity 4: Organic farming and environment (3 hours)
This activity is designed to improve the knowledge and skills of the trainees on: (a) the principles of organic farming, (b) use of organic waste in farming, (c) method and procedures to promote organic farming, (d) major activities in the waste management system.
Activity 5: IPM (3 hours)
This activity is designed to improve the trainees' knowledge so that they will able to: (a) appreciate the concept and state the components of IPM, (b) use the given model of flow chart to control the major pest of a particular crop.
How to adapt the module?
All the activities described above require approximately 22 lesson hours in a training programme. The module was developed in such a way that any trainer can adapt it to the specific needs of a training programme according to its purpose, time available, type of audience, etc. Each unit and/or activity can be a stand-alone instruction or the trainer/trainees may decide to: (a) select only one unit or a few activities which are more meaningful to the training or (b) include all of them in a training programme in the time frame as outlined in the module. Alternatively, it may also be integrated into other training modules in any order. For example, when one decides on a content to select, one may either consider Unit 1 and highlight the basic concept of environment or may consider Unit 2 which deals with the protection and conservation of agricultural resources with respect to soil and water. All the units and activities can be easily integrated with other modules. One also has the option of making changes in delivering the subject matter to adapt the module based on the needs of the clientele.
The trainers need to study the contents and delivery steps in each activity before using the module. All the training materials need to be prepared in advance for each of the teaching-learning activities/sessions. It is also necessary to prepare a work plan for the presentation of the activities/lessons. The trainers should consider the importance of timing and sequence to arrange the contents and teaching/learning points in each activity so as to ensure they are completed on time. The trainer should also remember to prepare handouts, pre- and post-test sheets, OHTs, etc. to ensure that the training programme is run successfully.
Implementing the module
DAE and GTI-BAU have so far organized four TOT programmes for four groups of participants. These training activities were mostly related to tryout and content validation workshops during the process of EETM development. A total of 115 trainees have participated in these workshops; 75 of them were from DAE, 20 from BAU including GTI, 15 from different research institutions and five from NGOs. The DAE participants were mostly instructors of ATI, district training officers, SMSs as well as the trainers of the training wing of DAE including CERDI. The participants of research institutes were mostly the trainers of various research stations.
As an initial process of institutionalization for the EETM, the DAE started to conduct this EETM training programme at the district level on a limited scale. DAE, however, plans to conduct such environment training (using EETM) throughout the country. This training activity has been included in the master training plan of DAE. To effectively widen the utilization of the EETM, the ASSP, which is attached to the DAE as a foreign donor-assisted project, has reproduced 1 500 copies of the Bengali version of this EETM. Hence, this type of training programme will be conducted at the thana level where the block supervisors (BS) of DAE will also be trained. In addition, selected farmers from different locations will be trained on environment issues as part of its built-in system. The ASSP will provide partial financial support to DAE, especially in the preparation of teaching aids and training packages.
Some NGOs such as the RDRS, VFFP, GSS, EDM/DSS, MCC and several others have also started to train their agricultural extension workers on environmental issues. They will also use the Bengali version of the EETM reproduced by the ASSP. In 1997 these NGOs started their EET programme in five divisions covering 22 districts and 83 thanas of Bangladesh. A total of 950 individual core farmers from 83 thanas have been identified and will be trained in such a programme.
In addition to the above activities, the Technical Education Board, Agricultural University, colleges and ATIs have included some selected contents of EETM in their academic syllabus. Institutions such as IPSA and BAU which have established new departments such as the Department of Agro-Forestry and Environmental Science in Agriculture have also included this EETM as their reference resource materials.
The above discussions on the implementation and institutionalization of training using the EETM are expected to lead to some level of sustainability of the programme. It is apparent at this point that the use of the EETM and its relevant contents by several agricultural and academic institutions such as the BAU, agricultural colleges, ATIs and the school text book board justify the sustainability of the EET programme. Furthermore, not only are the DAE and NGOs using the EETM but other national-level agricultural agencies have also benefited from it. In this regard, the EETM was institutionalized as a built-in-system in their training programme. The main concern of these institutions was to modify and adapt the contents of the module to suit their own needs. In all cases, written consent to use the EETM in their respective training programmes has been given.
The future of EET in Bangladesh is very bright as environmental issues are not only country-specific but also a global concern. Moreover, this is a demand-driven output instead of a supply-driven one. Such initiative needs to be taken by someone who has a clear vision of the different aspects of EET in the future. The EET will be sustainable and useful in Bangladesh on its own merit.
In Bangladesh, it is expected that several other modules on EET encompassing other aspects of agriculture will be developed soon. Various government agencies and NGOs have already taken on the training programme on EET and several others are expected to follow. Different types of leaflets, bulletins and popular writings on environmental issues in agriculture to teach and educate the population have been produced. Several videos and popular advertisements are also being shown on national TV and radio programmes on the issues related to environment in agriculture. The EETM developed through this project does not take sole credit for this but it could have aroused some interest and motivated the agricultural extension policy-makers, planners and workers in certain aspects of environmental issues in agriculture.
The EETM produced by this consortium (DAE, GTI-BAU, IPSA and FAO) has been disseminated and used by many other development agencies in different ways in Bangladesh. It is expected that this EETM development endeavour is just the beginning. However, an evaluation on the use of this EETM should be conducted to measure its usefulness and drawbacks.
Every project that is undertaken has some positive and negative aspects behind its success or failure. There are several key points in successfully developing and producing this EETM; among them are the following reflections on the development process:
For the preparation of a similar type of EETM in the future, several suggestions for improvements should be noted. Every endeavour attempted and work undertaken has scope for improvement. The CAC for Bangladesh (the author of this chapter) believes that in future the development and production of such an EETM should require less time and the contents be more appropriately selected to reflect the context of the respective country. In this EETM for Bangladesh, many examples of the contents of the module cited did not actually reflect the specific conditions of the country. Some of them are generic or generalized concepts but could have been made more specific in the context of Bangladesh conditions if more location-specific examples and illustrations had been used.
In future, the module writing team who will work for such a module development project should be committed full time to prepare the module. Otherwise, it might be difficult to sustain the interest of the module writers for such a long time. In the process, some of the module writers may leave the job or be transferred elsewhere before the EETM is completed. This happened in the process of developing the Bangladesh EETM and created some problems. It is therefore suggested that the module writing job should be a full-time one with a team of committed professionals for a specific period of time. Past experience was not too good in terms of the need to assemble all the module writers at one time and brainstorm together on specific issues. This was due to the fact that everybody was busy with their own mandatory assignments of the respective departments and could not focus on the work on a part-time basis. The effort by the module writers to prepare this EETM was therefore almost voluntary. These suggestions should be kept in mind when preparing an EETM in future.
DAE, master training plan. MOA, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh (GoB). New agricultural extension policy. MOA, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
GoB. Agricultural extension manual. MOA, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
GoB. Handbook of agricultural statistics. MOA, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
GoB. Report of the task forces on Bangladesh development strategies for the 1990s - environment policy, Vol. No. IV. University Press Limited, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Halim, A., Hossain, A. et al. Environment education training module for agricultural extension workers in Bangladesh (EETM). GTI, IPSA, DAE and FAO, Rome.
International union for conservation of nature and natural resources (IUCN). People's development and environment complex interlinkages in Bangladesh, Proceedings of a national symposium held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 3-4 November, 1992.