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We live in a changing world. Populations are expanding, budgets are tightening, and demands for services are on the increase, creating new challenges for governments as they deal with policies and programmes to increase food supplies and conserve natural resources. As new issues and problems arise over land and resource use, the old approaches seem less and less effective. In today's changing world, people in positions of responsibility need better information, new ideas, and practical tools to deal effectively with emerging issues and opportunities. This document is intended to help trainers in the areas of educational development, rural development, extension services, and technology transfer as they grapple with new challenges by providing guidelines and suggestions for more effectively reaching rural households.

The purpose of this document is to provide the (educational) government staff, and others responsible for rural development, with a practical, technical document to support the integration of environmental concerns into home economics and agricultural curricula.

The target audience of this document are medium to high-level government staff responsible for planning, i.e. programming and implementation of educational and extension curricula. Other development organizations, including FAO and other United Nations staff, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and others involved in rural development and training programmes, may also find the document useful.

Part One briefly summarizes the changing nature of the environment and of rural families in developing countries, and briefly introduces the need for reorientation of home economics. It relates the relevance of home economics to environmental change, and introduces some practical suggestions and applications that can be taken in home economics curricula to ameliorate or prevent environmental degradation. Part Two focuses specifically on curriculum development and training, and suggests some approaches to reorienting conventional training curricula. Part Three contains some recommended environmental topical chapters that form the basis for training modules. Part Four presents some conclusions and recommendations.

Hopefully the document will provide guidance to trainers that is not simply academic, but which will have practical and meaningful applications in the reorientation of curricula. It is also hoped that the document will have an impact on those responsible for curriculum development through an increased recognition of the potential of rural women to improve the well-being of themselves and their families, and to contribute to national development.

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