Rural households, and especially women, have the most potential for increasing global food supplies, for conserving scarce natural resources, and for improving the quality of life for poor families around the world. Home economics, with its long history in support of rural families, is well-placed to improve the agricultural productivity and environmental conservation efforts of rural households. The author acknowledges the continuing work of ESH staff at FAO/Rome, for continuing to bring these topics into the working agenda of FAO. Their recognition of this fundamental reality and promotion of innovative development activities aimed at achieving environmental sustainability and food security for rural households is an important contribution.
As a forester, I would also like to thank Leena M. Kirjavainen and her staff at ESHW for helping me to understand the evolution that is occuring in the discipline of home economics. In particular, I would like to thank Ms. Kirjavainen and Ms. Cornelia Koenraadt for their support and guidance in the preparation of this draft.
A number of FAO staff generously took the time to provide their comments and suggestions, including Ms. M. Allara, Mr. T. Contado, Mr. S. Erozer, Mr. R. Gallacher, Ms. M. Hoskins, Ms. P. Howard-Borjas, Mr. W. Lindley, Mr. S. Lund, Mr. F. Nachtergaele, Ms. N. Schialabba, Ms. I. Schreuel, Mr. D. Sims, and Ms. V. Wild. Editorial assistance at FAO was provided by Ms. M. L. Montuoro. In addition, I am grateful for comments on the draft provided by Ms. M. Smale.
I have tried to incorporate and build upon the suggestions and previous work of FAO staff and consultants and other writers wherever possible. In particular, the document borrows heavily from the work of Ms. R Balakrishnan, Ms. M. Bubolz, Ms. L. Engberg, Ms. M. Seltzer, Ms. C. Weidemann and others who have laid the theoretical groundwork for the present document, which is aimed at a first step toward operationalizing their concepts. However, in the end the author bears full responsibility for the final output. It is unlikely that this document will completely satisfy all readers, as the subject matter is not only interdisciplinary but also in a state of evolution. As such, the suggestions contained in this document must be modified, adapted and revised in the field as needed. Hopefully it will serve as a useful guide for trainers, and make a small contribution toward the reorientation of home economics curricula in developing countries.