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Chapter 12

A qualitative assessment of the EET programme:
an educator's perspective

Professor Dr Tim L. Wentling
Grayce Wicall Gauthier Professor of Education
and Department Head
Department of Human Resource Education
University of Illinois
Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA

This chapter reflects a careful analysis of the development effort that has been described in detail in the prior chapters of this book. The purpose of this analysis was to provide evaluative judgements about the procedures and products of the FAO-supported EET activities and to identify lessons learned. The outcomes of this analysis are directed to the improvement of this and other development activities.

The analysis of the EET programme was accomplished from several perspectives. The first involved participation in the first workshop where the concept was discussed and the ideas were generated. Second, an analysis of project documents was conducted. These documents included proposals prepared by workshop participants from six different countries. Additionally, reports of progress were reviewed for each of the country projects. A final phase of the analysis included participation in a follow-up workshop where projects were presented and discussed.

This chapter presents a description of the setting, an overview of the overall strategy and the presentation of a set of conclusions that have been drawn from the analyses.


FAO's initiative in integrating and developing EET through agricultural extension programmes started in 1987 through a pilot project on "Community education and training in environment conservation and protection" (TCP/INS/4514) in Indonesia. The AAET, MOA, Indonesia developed an EETM and used it for training agricultural extension workers. It was then expected that the Indonesian EETM would provide guidelines to help other countries develop similar training modules.

In response to this, FAO initiated another important activity to bring together several countries that were concerned with rural environmental issues. Hence, in June 1994, the Agricultural University of Malaysia, in collaboration and with assistance of FAO, organized the first regional workshop on EET through agricultural extension. This six-day workshop was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and attended by 22 participants from selected countries worldwide, including Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal, Philippines, Australia, Tanzania, the United States and Malaysia as well as FAO. The participants consisted of educators, trainers and planners who were involved in the areas of EET and agricultural extension.

The objectives of the Kuala Lumpur workshop were to enable participants to discuss the needs, problems and strategies for incorporating environment education through agricultural extension and training; discuss a prototype EETM to determine its content appropriateness for possible use in other countries, to explore its adaptation, testing and translation requirements and discuss other relevant issues and recommendations in the incorporation of environment education in extension and training.

The workshop was able to accomplish all its stated objectives and generated several important outputs. Among the key accomplishments were: (a) a proposal for a framework and generic process for EETM development; (b) identification of important environment concerns and issues; (c) clarification of primary target groups for EETM development. In view of the importance of environment education, eight other training institutions from six participating countries made commitments to embark on the development and utilization of EETM for their training programmes and activities. FAO subsequently provided some financial assistance to these countries (China, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh and Malaysia) to develop the EETM.

Eight EET modules are being developed by training institutions in the six different countries in Asia. The stages of development and utilization of these modules vary from country to country. While in Indonesia the modules have been reproduced and used by AETs to train FEWs, in other countries the modules have passed the tryout or pretesting stage.

In view of the significant progress made by the various countries in the EETM development process, an avenue was given to the project leaders of the module development team and some of the module writers from the participating countries to present their valuable experiences in a workshop setting. The workshop was organized by the AAET in collaboration with FAO. It was held in Bali, Indonesia from 16 to 20 October 1995. There were 21 participants representing agricultural extension agencies, academic/university institutions and NGOs from Bangladesh, China, Malaysia, Malawi, Nepal, Australia, the United States, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia and a representative from FAO.


A design for the analysis was formulated to guide the systematic consideration of the EETM development process and to produce results that will be useful in the environment education development process. The analysis design is comprised of the following elements:

2.1 Purpose of the analysis

The purpose of the analysis was to identify strengths and weaknesses of the EETM development efforts in an attempt to incorporate strengths into the EET effort. Moreover, recognition of obstacles or problems in EETM will facilitate avoidance of these in environment education activities.

2.2 Key analysis questions

  1. How broad has the EETM implementation been?
  2. What processes have been used in EETM development?
  3. What have been key success factors in EETM development?
  4. What have been constraints or problems with EETM development?
  5. What recommendations can be made for future environment education module development and training?

2.3 Sources of information

2.4 Analysis methods

2.5 Timeline for the analysis

June 1994 - August 1997


In formulating a list of lessons learned from the EETM development process, several paradigms were considered. These included: curriculum development, development strategy and project management principles.

3.1 Involvement

Involvement in the EETM development process has been extensive and this has resulted in a very high level of buy-in and efficient development.

The CACs, the individuals who have taken the initiative to design and implement activities, have done an excellent job in involving a good mix of people. Efforts such as these require the involvement of those in highly respected positions or positions of power as well as individuals who have the technical expertise to develop and implement products.

There appears to have been involvement that spans government offices and training institutions. Efforts such as EETM require more than government and training institution involvement. The combination is necessary to ensure follow-through and results. Also, appropriate involvement is critical to the sustainability of efforts such as EETM.

Cross-country involvement has also been a positive event in EETM. The fact that several countries have shared their expertise with each other has resulted in effective and efficient development. The four workshops organized by FAO have also precipitated a great deal of sharing and collaboration among participants from different countries.

3.2 Credibility

Credibility of the EETM development effort within country and internationally has been very high.

The credibility of an effort such as EETM development is very important to its ultimate acceptance and implementation. The involvement and sponsoring by FAO has contributed greatly to the credibility of EETM. Even though funding levels are low, having an international agency's support and name can enhance acceptance and involvement. The personal involvement of Dr. Adhikarya has added to the credibility of EETM.

Credibility has also been augmented through the involvement of high-level government and training institution officials who have been involved in EETM development. Their involvement signals the fact that this is an important endeavour and others will have respect for the process and products of the activities.

The instructional materials or modules themselves provide a source of credibility. Materials that are logically organized, well-designed, pretested and published in large quantities enhance the credibility of the effort. The materials look professional and well-planned.

3.3 Quality

The quality of EETM development processes and products is very high.

The materials prepared by country participants have undergone review by in-country personnel, and this has resulted in improvements and refinements. Also the materials have been reviewed by participants from other countries that have been involved in EETM. Usually, these reviews have been made in the FAO-sponsored workshops. Additional review has occurred by FAO staff and constructive input has been provided. These internal and external reviews have contributed to the high quality of the instructional materials.

The quality of procedures has also been high. The procedures for design, development and implementation have been reviewed centrally by FAO staff and it is apparent that these reviews have resulted in improved strategies and have provided a means for sharing across country boundaries. For example, FAO review of one country's procedures may identify exceptionally good practices which can be shared with other country groups by FAO staff when their materials and plans are reviewed.

3.4 Cooperation

Cooperation among country groups and between countries has been a strength in effectiveness and efficiency.

Cooperation, like involvement and communication, is a key to success in major training activities. The cross country cooperation that has been evident among several of the participating countries is very positive. Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines have all had some form of formal cooperation. These efforts minimize duplication of effort, allow for learning from one another and facilitate the development of self confidence.

Cooperation has also been fostered through the EETM workshops held in Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Beijing and Toronto. These meetings have helped to promote contact among key people and have created a connection for further cooperation and collaboration.

3.5 Adaptability

The materials that have been developed for EET by country projects have been easily adapted to specific contexts.

Adaptability is an important trait for the developmental phases of training as well as in the training materials themselves. The EETM development procedures, as suggested by FAO staff, have been adapted to the local conditions and arrangements of the countries involved. This speaks very strongly for the way in which the procedures were conceived by FAO and how well country staff have adapted the procedures to their own situations.

Adaptability has also been incorporated within the modules and instructional materials formulated by country project staff. For example, the amount of time available for training must be taken into account. The training effort must be adapted to the local time constraints. Adaptability in content is also an important attribute. In several countries training materials can be adapted by selecting the most relevant topics from a set for a specific group. Essentially, this involves a format that allows for a selection based on need.

Adaptability is also evident in the materials through the use of case studies or example problems that are especially relevant in a local region. Environment needs may be very different in a mountainous region from a plains region. The materials, to be adaptive, are often designed to fit both situations by having multiple examples and cases.

3.6 Relevance

The EETM development efforts have been closely aligned with the international priority of environmental protection. Local needs have also been closely related to the efforts.

The topic of environment is an important issue worldwide. The importance of the topic contributes greatly to the attention it receives in both the design of education and training activities as well as the attention received by potential trainees. Though generally perceived as important, most EETM projects still emphasize the importance of the topic within their country by building in awareness activities and information.

Projects in each country also relate their efforts to the specific environmental concerns of their country as they relate to their specific natural resources. This local emphasis makes the curriculum closely aligned with local priorities and needs and results in a more relevant curriculum and training effort.

3.7 Timeliness

The EETM effort has achieved prompt development and exceptional levels of implementation in a very short time period.

The rate at which country projects have been conceived, planned, developed and implemented is a major positive trait of EETM. In reviewing each of the projects, it is apparent that a great deal has been accomplished in a very short period of time. For some projects, in less than a year, materials have been developed and implemented. This speed of development is due to several factors. First, the right people appear to have been identified and engaged in this activity. These have been individuals who were hand-picked based upon their positions, background expertise and history of performance on similar tasks. This selection, though possibly informal, has been a key success factor.

Second, the use of seed money from FAO to facilitate development has been a contributing factor to timely development. In many instances this small amount of money has provided the base for acquiring additional resources or it has allowed for action outside typical bureaucracies.

Third, the personal commitment of FAO staff appears to have had a very positive impact on timely progress. FAO staff have maintained close lines of communication with key country people, providing both motivation and support for in-country activities.

3.8 Funding

The funding of EETM development has been small in size, but it has been leveraged with local funds, committed staff and exceptional support from FAO.

The level of funding for the support of country EETM development activities has been limited to small grants that had the intent of getting things started. These small grants appear to have worked very well at providing seed money for development. In almost all situations, the external support funding from FAO has been augmented with country resources which have included financial support for development, duplication and training. More important, country commitment in terms of people's time has been very significant.

This approach to funding, small grants tied to specific activities with specific people, appears to be an exceptional way to gain results. The population education scheme should build on the concept utilized in EETM.

3.9 Communications

Effective communication has contributed greatly to the success of EETM.

The communication regarding EETM development has been a very positive force. Communication helps to keep people on task and committed to what they have planned. and helps people in gaining assistance and feedback about what they have done or planned. Communication is also useful in providing reinforcement and motivation.

A number of forms of communication have been used in EETM. FAO has maintained telephone, fax, and postal communication with country personnel. This communication has resulted in information sharing, consultation and monitoring of progress. Communication has also existed between country personnel in different countries many of whom have communicated with each other, some even meeting to help each other.

The annual workshop concept has contributed greatly to communication effectiveness. The meetings provide for sharing, learning and monitoring, they also provide a mechanism for FAO to facilitate changes and adjustments in country activities. The meetings give country participants a reminder of the importance of what they are doing. In addition, participants know they will be asked to report on their progress and share their results, which serves as an additional motivating factor. This expectation of reporting and sharing tends to encourage participants to progress and in some cases to feel a little friendly competition.

The recent experimentation of combining individuals across project topics appears to be beneficial. Involving several people from PETM project with people involved in EETM appears to provide an advance on the learning curve for those who are just beginning.

3.10 Standardization

The development processes and products of EETM development within countries have been standardized to a certain degree. However, the standardization must be weighed against flexibility and relevance.

Standardization is a concept that has mixed views. Highly standardized materials and processes can lead to inflexibility and missed local needs and lack of standardization can result in haphazard coverage and inconsistent information and training. A balance is essential.

The EETM development effort appears to have a proper balance on the standardization continuum. There is a standard format for most training materials, although there is flexibility to match materials to what is typical in a certain country. There is standard content, but it can be related to local problems and issues. The duration of training is flexible enough to meet the constraints of country groups.

3.11 Education base

The EETM development process is soundly grounded in widely accepted curriculum development practices. Action learning is also emphasized within the approach.

The EETM approach has been built on internationally accepted practices of curriculum development. These practices include needs identification, needs analysis, formulation of objectives, structuring of content and learning assessment. Following these practices and incorporating these elements helps ensure that the acquisition of knowledge and skills will be effective and efficient.

Overall, the strategy for development is logically structured and well grounded.

3.12 Project management

The way in which the project is managed is exemplary.

The overall management of EETM development is a model that should be followed in developing training modules of other topics. The extent to which FAO staff involve themselves in planning, organizing, communicating and facilitating the efforts in various countries is outstanding. The commitment that is shown goes well beyond the typical level associated with development projects.

The management strategy that is used provides necessary support to country personnel and it gives everyone the perception that FAO staff care and will expect a great deal from them. This has a very positive impact on their motivation and feeling of importance.

From an accountability perspective the management structure provides all the necessary monitoring information. It is easy to gain a picture of what is happening in each country and to identify potential problems. This is especially valuable considering the wide geographic, cultural and organizational spectrum.


  1. Utilize essentially the same process for more countries to become involved in EETM development.
  2. Emphasize the same curriculum development process in other FAO-funded activities.
  3. Explore and experiment with additional communication schemes. Consider having project leaders gain Internet access to facilitate communication with FAO as well as with other project leaders.
  4. Establish a site on the Internet for EETM and use it for communication among project leaders and other country leaders.
  5. Utilize the concept of an annual workshop to facilitate communication and to monitor progress.
  6. Continue to experiment with the use of combined meetings across topic boundaries to facilitate learning, efficiency and communication.
  7. Consider funding a comprehensive evaluation of EETM activities to show accountability and use the fundings to improve future EET programmes.

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