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Part three: Topical chapters

Part three: Topical chapters

Suggested Topical Areas for Incorporation into Reoriented Home Economics Curricula

Environment, conservation and gender concerns encompass an enormous range of topics and issues, all of which are not appropriate, cost-effective or feasible to cover in a single curriculum, or in a single country. Consequently, the trainer should be selective about which environmental and gender tonics should be included in the training program and at what scope, and choose those that relate most directly to the prevailing environmental and socioeconomic conditions in the country.

The curricular planner or trainer will need to become familiar with a wide range of gender and environmental issues when reorienting home economics curricula.

The curricular planner and trainer will likely need to do some research and investigation into both local and non-local subsistence-based and commercial land use practices, government policies, and other areas prior to reorienting the curriculum and organizing training activities. For example, where crops are grown commercially for export or local markets, pesticide use may affect workers or neighboring communities from atmospheric drift or runoff into groundwater, and have environmental impacts that extend well beyond the sprayed area. Knowing the various forms of herbicides and pesticides used in the country for various purposes, as well as what pest control training programs are already available for rural farmers, will be necessary before organizing the unit dealing with agrochemicals (Chapter 15). Consequently, the trainer will need to become familiar with a wide range of environmental and gender issues as the curriculum is undergoing revision.

This section suggests a number of broad topical areas or units for consideration by educational planners and trainers for inclusion in the curricula that they work with. These topical areas represent the general outlines for a study program for instructional units to be introduced in the curricula of agricultural, home economics, and rural development educational institutes and training programs. The particular prescriptive or treatment measures for each topic will vary depending upon the conditions and circumstances prevailing in each country or region. For example, measures to control soil erosion, such as bench terracing or mulching, will differ greatly from one place to another. As such, specific issues, treatments and technologies will need to be identified within the country, based upon discussions with experts from related disciplines. Many topical units, such as family planning or watershed management, may be subject to various government policies or programs; trainers are urged to determine government policy on the issue prior to finalizing curricula, particularly on issues that are likely to be controversial.

It is recommended that a section on information resources in the country, or where to go for further information, be prepared for each unit. The trainer should include in this section any materials, information, or institutional resources that are available in the country that the trainee may consult for further information. These may include extension and research programs or staff, nongovernmental organizations, international organizations, and others having practical materials or information on particular topics of interest to the extensionist trainee, and eventually, to the farmers that the extensionist assists.

The general topical organization and structure provided in the following chapters are only suggestions for the outline of a study program and instructional units. The trainer is strongly encouraged to adapt and change the topics according to national and local conditions and opportunities.

Chapter 4: Sustainable agriculture and rural development

Trainers can help rural households reduce their vulnerability to food insecurity by assisting farmers in learning not only food production and resource conservation techniques, but also by informing farmers of broader sustainability concerns. Sustainable agricultural and rural development has become widely known as both an approach to and a goal of development programs (Eckman 1993). It has been variously defined as:

Trainers can help rural households reduce their vulnerability to food insecurity by assisting farmers in learning not only food production and resource conservation techniques, but also by informing farmers of broader sustainability concerns.

There has been growing interest in fostering sustainable agricultural and land use systems around the world, to avert growing problems with land degradation. Broad environmental indicators have shown a continuing decline in the earth's physical condition, at the same time that living standards have fallen for one-sixth of humanity.

In the last two decades, farmers have lost nearly 500 billion tons of topsoil to erosion, at a time when they were called upon to feed 1.6 billion additional people (Brown et al. 1993). Globally, 24 billion tons of topsoil is estimated to be lost from croplands every year (Brown et al. 1993). A recent UNEP study found that an area the size of China and India combined has suffered moderate to extreme soil degradation in the past 45 years, caused mostly by agricultural activities, deforestation and overgrazing (World Resources Institute 1992). This degradation represents 1.2 billion hectares, or almost 11% of the earth's surface.

Environmental degradation, along with emerging agronomic constraints, is slowing the growth in world food output. There has been a 6 per cent decline in grain output per person between 1984 and 1992, showing a loss in momentum in food production growth (Brown et al. 1993). This is happening because of slowing in the expansion of cropland, a slower growth in irrigated lands, and a falling yield response to fertilizer (Brown et al. 1993).

As less arable land is available for conversion to agriculture, all growth in output must now come from increasing productivity on existing cropland. But declines in the productivity of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers call into question the ability of farmers to increase their production (Brown et al. 1993). Irrigation and fertilizers are beyond the reach of most of the world's farmers, who rely primarily on rotation, manure and swidden methods to restore fertility to the soil. These trends indicate that rural households and national economies are increasingly vulnerable to food insecurity and environmental decline.

If current predictions of population growth prove accurate and patterns of human activity on the planet remain unchanged, science and technology may not be able to prevent either irreversible or continued poverty for much of the world.

Royal Society of London and U.S. National Academy of Sciences, 1992, in Brown et. al. 1993.

Arming rural producers with an understanding of global and local linkages, and of the basic dimensions and elements of sustainable agriculture is an essential foundation for further training efforts. Therefore, an introductory unit is recommended that places the rural farming household within the context of local, regional, national and global sustainability. A basic outline for this unit is provided below.

Topic 1: Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development

This instructional unit is intended as an introduction to sustainable agriculture and rural development. It should provide an overview, background information, rationale, and context to the remainder of the study program, outlined in the following chapters.

Box 4.1: Basic References for Trainers on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development

Brown, L. et al. State of the World 1994. New York, Worldwatch Institute, W. W. Norton, 1994. 265 pp.

World Resources Institute, United Nations Environment Programme & United Nations Development Programme. World Resources 1992-3: A Guide to the Global Environment. New York, Oxford University Press, 1992. 385 pp.

World Commission on Environment and Development. Our Common Future. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1990. 400 pp.

Chapter 5: Agroecology

The stability and sustainability of most indigenous agricultural production is based upon crop diversity. Subsistence-based farmers traditionally plant several crop species and several varieties within both time and space, to hedge against risk (Altieri and Hecht 1989). These cropping patterns are supplemented by the products derived from many native species collected from forests that also reduce household vulnerability. Preservation of traditional crop genetic resources, combined with the conservation of indigenous natural resources, are at the basis of agroecology.

Agroecology is defined as an approach to farming that promotes sustained yields through the use of ecologically sound farm management practices (Altieri 1983). The agroecology approach regards farm systems as ecologically integrated units, but with human influences on ecological processes. In agroecology, the intent is to maintain optimum nutrient and organic matter recycling, closed energy flows, balanced pest populations, and enhanced multiple use of the landscape (Altieri 1983). Agroecology relies on low levels of inputs, indigenous knowledge and appropriate technologies to achieve sustainable agricultural production.

A sound understanding of natural ecosystems and human-managed ecosystems is a fundamental requirement for extensionists, and is the basis for much extension information that is passed on to rural farmers. It is also an essential unit for farmers wanting to learn ecosystem-based techniques such as integrated pest management (IPM). This chapter summarizes the main elements for a topical unit focusing on agro-ecological principles.

This broad-based unit should cover various aspects of agroecology as they pertain to actual conditions existing in the country or region. The unit covers fundamental environmental and ecological processes, and relationships between communities of different species (plant, animal, insect, etc.). This important preparatory unit lays the foundation for the more detailed ecological topics that follow, such as biological diversity and population dynamics.

The following elements are considered to be a basic introductory instructional unit for trainees with limited previous exposure to agriculture and ecology. The level and depth will depend upon previous exposure of the trainees to agricultural curricula, as some extensionists will have had more training than others. The first three elements are considered to be optional, if the trainees have had previous training in the fundamentals of agriculture. Naturally, the unit must be adapted by the trainer to fit pre-existing agricultural and environmental conditions in the country.

Title of Topic: Agroecology

Box 5.1: Basic References for Trainers on Agro-ecological Concerns

Altieri, M. A. Agroecology: The Scientific Basis of Alternative Agriculture. Berkeley, University of California, 1983. 162 pp.

Altieri, M. A. & Hecht, S. B.. Agroecology and Small Farm Development. Boca Raton, CRC Press, 1990. 262 pp.

Carroll, C. R. editor et al. Agroecology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1990.

Dupriez, H. & de Leener, P. Agriculture Tropicale en Milieu Paysan Africain. Dakar & Paris, ENDA, Editions L'Harmattan, 1983. 280 pp.

Jaiswal, P. L., editor. Handbook of Agriculture. New Delhi, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, 1980. 1303 pp.

Kotschi, J., editor. Ecofarming Practices for Tropical Smallholdings. Weikersheim, Verlag Josef Margraf, 1990. 185 pp.

Kotschi, J. et al. Ecofarming in Agricultural Development. Weikersheim, Verlag Josef Margraf, 1989. 132 pp.

Singh, S. P. An Introduction to Animal Ecology: Environmental Biology. Jodhpur and Meerut, Rastogi Publications, 1980. 220 pp.

Chapter 6: Forest dependency

Forests are an important resource that support both national economic development as well as the subsistence needs of rural people. Forests also have many important ecological benefits, including the protection of soil and watersheds from erosion, as habitat for flora and fauna, the maintenance of biological diversity, and for hydrological and climatological stability.

In many areas, forests and trees grown on farms and homesteads play an important role in household food security, and supplement food crops grown on farm fields, especially in subsistence areas. Forests and trees contribute to many household needs in addition to food, and it is therefore difficult to separate the contribution forests and trees make to food security from the other benefits that they provide (FAO 1989a).

Trees are widely grown in agricultural systems in the southern hemisphere, and provide a wide range of economic, aesthetic, and ecological benefits. Forests are also the source of a considerable array of wild foods and fruits consumed by rural households. Other uncultivated areas, such as grazing areas, streambanks, and drylands, may also provide a variety of roots, nuts and berries, honey, wild game or bush meat, fish, and edible insects. These gathered foods are especially important during periods of drought, famine, or dry seasons. Consequently, forest resources can make a significant contribution to the food security of the family.

In rural households, forests are valued for a wide array of nonedible products that form an integral part of the household economy (FAO 1990d). Forests provide raw materials for construction of houses and farm structures, fodder for livestock, fencing, rope, handles for implements, and fuelwoood for cooking, indoor heating, and light.

Environmental degradation is a general decline over time in the condition of the natural resource base. It can seriously impact the economic security of rural households, as well as household nutrition (FAO 1989a). In many regions people must rely on decreasing forest resources, impacting the availability of fuel, forest foods (such as fruits, bushmeat, and nuts), fodder, housing materials, and other resources necessary for daily life. Perhaps the worst impact of the loss of forest foods is that poor people's food options will be further reduced, especially during seasonal and emergency hardship periods (FAO 1989a).

Deforestation is the result of tree cutting and clearing that exceeds natural regrowth, and is in the range of 17 million hectares per year in tropical lands alone (Brown et al. 1993). Excessive deforestation not only removes an essential economic resource base, but also contributes to a loss in biological diversity, increased soil erosion and a deterioration in water supply and availability. Soil erosion due to deforestation is especially serious in drylands, which account for 40 percent of the earth's land mass. The loss of forest cover, biological diversity, and habitat can greatly affect the economic stability and resilience of rural households, and can represent a serious loss to the national resource base which supports economic development.

Environmental change may imply either improved or worsened food supplies, depending on the nature of the change. A country with adequate or even surplus food supplies may mean that some do not have access to food, and a distribution problem may exist. Where access or distribution problems occur, environmental degradation may result. This unit is intended to relate such environmental change with the potential for food availability and supply at the household, national, and international levels.

The general topical organization and structure provided below are only suggestions for the outline of a study program and instructional units. The trainer is strongly encouraged to adapt and change the topics according to national and local conditions and opportunities. Some suggested topics are as follows.

Title of Topic: Forest Dependency

Box 6.1 Basic References for Trainers on Forest Dependency

de Beer, J. H. & McDermott, M. J. The Economic Value of Non-timber Forest Products in Southeast Asia. Amsterdam, Netherlands Committee for IUCN, 1989. 178 pp.

FAO. Fruit-Bearing Forest Trees. FAO Forestry Paper 34. Rome, 1982. 177 pp.

FAO. Food and Fruit-Bearing Forest Species: Examples from Latin America FAO Forestry Paper 44/3. Rome, 1983. 308 pp.

FAO. Some Medicinal Forest Plants of Africa and Latin America. FAO Forestry Paper 67. Rome, 1986. 252 pp.

FAO. Household Food Security and Forestry: An Analysis of Socio-economic Issues. Rome, 1989. 147 pp.

Chapter 7: Watersheds and water quality

Another critical environmental element affecting the quality of life of rural households is water and watersheds. Water is a fundamental resource necessary for rural life, and an essential element in any development strategy whether the focus is food, energy, or any other natural resource product. Providing a reliable supply of usable water is also essential for human health and economic development (Gregersen et al., forthcoming). With agriculture using two thirds of all freshwater taken from watersheds globally, it is essential to move toward more sustainable water use in rural areas (Brown et al. 1993). Industry, too, consumes water for manufacturing purposes, and often contributes to a decline in water quality through pollution and waste.

Watersheds are imaginary boundaries that chart the course of a stream as it drains from its source (headwaters) to downstream areas. Watersheds are important landscape features that provide rural populations with water, soil, pastures, wood, nontimber products, and other goods essential for the wellbeing of people. Water flows downhill regardless of international boundaries or community limits, and upstream misuse of water can seriously affect the well-being of downstream dwellers through situation, pollution, and a deterioration of water quality.

More water devoted to human needs means less for the sustenance of ecosystems.

Watershed management is an approach to guiding and using land and other resources on a watershed to provide goods and services without adversely affecting water and soil resources (Brooks, Gregersen, Lundgren and Quinn 1990). Embedded in the concept of watershed management is the recognition of the interrelationships of land use, soil, and water, and the linkages between uplands and downstream areas (Brooks, Ffolliott, Gregersen and Thames 1991). Watershed management is not only a set of tools and techniques (e.g. physical, regulatory and economic) for responding to potential problems within a watershed, but also an integrative way of thinking about how all human activities in a watershed have effects on, or are affected by, water (Brooks, Ffolliott, Gregersen and Thames 1991).

Rural households that are positioned on a watershed, either upstream or downstream, are interdependent in terms of both water supply and water quality. The loss of forests, overgrazing, and improper cultivation practices also affect the quantity and quality of water supplies downstream.

In many countries economic growth, industrialization, and population growth has outpaced the supply of available water that can be sustained comfortably, causing serious water scarcities (see Box 7.1). More water devoted to human use means less for the sustenance of ecosystems (Brown et al. 1993). People need better access to information that can help them to conserve water resources, and avoid degrading the watershed. This is especially important for newer arrivals who cultivate higher, marginal slopes on the watershed, and who may bring with them farming practices more appropriate for flat lands.

Box 7.1 The Links Between Economic Growth and Water Scarcity

A total of 26 countries have water supplies that are inadequate to support their economic development strategies and accomodate their populations, according to a recent publication of the Worldwatch Institute. Nine of the countries are located in the Near East and eleven in Africa It is anticipated that 300 million people will be living in water-scarce areas by the end of the decade. Conservation and technological innovations, such as water harvesting and spreading methods, likely cannot meet water needs in these countries unless population growth is curtailed. At current rates of growth, populations will double in 18 of the 20 countries within the next generations. No set of imaginative technological feats can win that race, although it is likely that water harvesting and conserving technologies can help.

Source: Adapted from Postel 1992.

Given the high investment costs of irrigation and of developing new sources of water supplies, it makes sense to focus on the sustainable use of water by rural farm families. Many donors and governments are fuming toward the potential of smaller-scale water projects that emphasize conservation and re-use, such as water-conserving cultivation techniques, catchments, rainwater harvesting, and other techniques. These technologies can greatly improve food production and security in rural areas while using locally available resources (see Box 7.2). The challenge is to place information about such techniques in the hands of rural farmers, to improve their food and water security, and to maintain environmental quality.

Box 7.2: Improving Rural Water Supplies

Rural families in the Yatenga province of Burkina Faso have constructed low stone walls, or bunds, across the contours of their fields. The bunds cause rainwater to spread out and slowly infiltrate the soil, rather than running off the field. Planting holes helps to concentrate rainfall around the crops. The bunds can raise yields by 30 to 60% even in the first year. The treatments help prevent total crop failure in very dry years, greatly enhancing household food security. By the end of 1989, more than 400 Yatenga villages and 8,000 hectares were benefitting from these techniques.

Source: Brown et al. 1992:32.

Water quality is a closely related issue that directly impacts the well-being and productivity of rural households. Water quality refers to the chemical, biological and physical condition of water, in terms of its suitability for human use, and in particular! for drinking. In areas that are overpopulated or that are experiencing environmental degradation, water quality generally suffers.

Water is a primary natural resource that is fundamental to life, well-being, and to the production of food, and as such, its availability and quality is of critical importance to rural households. A decline in water availability can quickly threaten the health and food security of a community. Broadening home economics curricula to include issues of water supply and quality is one of the most important means of addressing the immediate resource and information needs of many rural households. The following elements generally relate to issues of watershed management and water quality.

Title of Topic: Watersheds and Water Quality

Box 7.3: Basic References for Trainers on Watershed Management sad Water Quality

Brooks, K. L. et al. Manual on Watershed Management Project Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. College, Laguna Philippines, ASEANUS Watershed Project, 1990. 274 pp.

Brooks, K. L. et al. Hydrology and the Management of Watersheds. Ames, Iowa State University Press, 1991. 392 pp.

Dani, A. A. & Campbell, J. G. Sustaining Upland Resources: People's Participation in Watershed Management. ICIMOD Occasional Paper No. 3. Kathmandu, Nepal, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, 1986. 121 pp.

FAO. Hydrological Techniques for Upstream Conservation. FAO Conservation Guide 2. Rome, 1976. 134 pp.

FAO. Guidelines for Watershed Management. FAO Conservation Guide 1. Rome, 1977. 293 pp.

FAO. Strategies, Approaches and Systems in Integrated Watershed Management. FAO Conservation Guide 14. Rome, 1986. 232 pp.

FAO. A Forester's Guide for Community Involvement in Upland Conservation With Special Reference to the Asia and Pacific Region. Rome, 1986. 125 pp.

Ponce, S. L. Water Quality Monitoring Programs. Fort Collings, USDA Forest Service Watershed Systems Group, 1980. 66 pp.

Chapter 8: Biological diversity

Biological diversity encompasses all of plants, animals, and microorganisms, and the ecosystems and ecological processes in which they live. Biological diversity (or simply "biodiversity") is defined as the variety and variability among living organisms and the ecological complexes in which they occur. As the fundamental building blocks for development, biological resources provide the basis for local self-sufficiency. At the same time, biological diversity is a global asset, bringing benefits to people in all parts of the world (McNeely et al. 1990).

Rural households have an important and direct role to play in conserving the world's genetic resources. Worldwide, women have primary responsibility for the selection and preservation of agricultural seeds and rootstock from one season to another. Rural people also have considerable knowledge about the characteristics, distribution, and site requirements of indigenous trees, bushes, and plants. Insects, constituting the largest number of species, are well-known to rural people for their economic utility, edibility, and other practical values. Traditional healers and birth attendants are a storehouse of information about indigenous plants and trees with medicinal or spiritual properties.

Rural households have an important and direct role to play in conserving the world's genetic resources.

The local management of these genetic resources is crucial to the viability and sustainability of biological systems and to biological diversity. But where local management systems are threatened by demographic change, misguided policies, or other factors, biological diversity can be seriously affected. Deforestation, desertification, misuse of watersheds, and other forms of land degradation can also have serious impacts on the diversity of genetic resources in an area

The rapid destruction of the world's most diverse ecosystems, especially in the tropics, has led most experts to conclude that perhaps a quarter of the world's total biological diversity is at serious risk of extinction during the next twenty to thirty years (Raven 1988 in McNeely et al. 1990). Land and water degradation causes the loss of habitat for organisms such as fish, soil flora, birds, plants, and other organisms. Deforestation or burning of fields can destroy soil microorganisms that are important for maintaining soil fertility, and for decomposing biomass. The result can be a loss in soil fertility, and ultimately of agricultural productivity. Loss of biological diversity can also occur through pollution, over-harvesting (especially through the exploitative use of forests and water), climate change, by introducing new species (especially invasive or opportunistic plants) that replace native species, and by habitat alteration.

While the specifics of the problems will vary from one place to another, the main source of all these symptoms can be found in the distribution of costs and benefits of both exploitation and conservation. Those who have reaped the benefits from exploitation have not paid the full costs, and those who paid most of the costs of conservation have gained few of the benefits (McNeely et al. 1990).

In presenting this instructional unit, trainers should seek to integrate issues of biological diversity with other related natural processes, so that the trainee will have an appreciation of how human influences can alter genetic diversity and species composition. The economic importance of loss of biological diversity should also be stressed, as well as relevance of biological diversity to environmental sustainability. Suggested elements for the unit are summarized below.

Title of Topic: Biological Diversity

Box 8.1: Basic References for Trainers on Biological Diversity

McNeely, J. A. et al. Conserving the World's Biological Diversity. Washington, The World Bank, World Resources Institute, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Conservation International and World Wildlife Fund - U.S., 1990. 191 pp.

Miller, K. R Balancing the Scales: Managing Biodiversity at the Bioregional Level. Washington, World Resources Institute, 1994. 150 pages.

Miller, Kenton and Tangley, L.. Trees of Life: Saving Tropical Forests and Their Biological Wealth. Washington, World Resources Institute, 1991. 218 pp.

World Resources Institute. Global Biodiversity Strategy: Guidelines for Action to Save, Study, and Use Earth's Biotic Wealth Sustainably and Equitably. Washington, World Resources Institute, 1992. 260 pp.

Chapter 9: Population, carrying capacity, family planning

People are a valuable, yet often neglected, resource. To a large extent this is because their sheer numbers strain the capacity of the environment to sustain them. Apart from humanitarian considerations, building a healthy, educated, stable population makes economic sense and is a chief element of sustainable development (World Resources Institute, 1992).

Building a healthy, educated, stable population makes economic sense and is a chief element of sustainable development (World Resources Institute, 1992).

Population and demographic trends vary widely across regions and countries. However, population growth rates in the last three decades have risen to unprecedented levels, and many countries will experience a doubling of their populations over the

Global population is increasing at about 1.7% per year; Africa alone is projected to increase its population six times before it stabilizes (Commonwealth Secretariat 1992). The population of Sub-Saharan Africa will double in the next fifteen years and triple or quadruple in the next forty. This growth is in contrast to a decline in African agricultural productivity per capita of about 1% per year (WCED 1990). The majority of world population increases are expected to occur in developing countries, accompanied by significant economic and environmental impacts.

Population growth is not just about numbers; it has social and economic impacts on people.

Yet population growth is not just about numbers (WCED 1990); population growth has social and economic impacts on people. Approximately 80% of the world's poor live in rural areas, and of these, nearly 60% are in regions of low agricultural productivity and high ecological vulnerability (Thomas-Slater et al. 1991). A large and growing proportion of rural populations are youth, with the majority of girls marrying between the ages of 15 and 19 (Safilios-Rothchild, in Seltzer 1983).

Box 9. 1: The Links Between Population Growth and Land Degradation

There are clear links between population and environmental degradation. The equation has three components. First lifestyles, incomes and social organization determine levels of consumption. Second, the technologies in use determine the extent to which human activities damage, or sustain, the environment, and the amount of waste associated with any level of consumption. These two factors determine impact per person. The third factor, population, determines how many persons there are: it is the multiplier effect that fixes the total impact.

UNFPA (1990) in Dankelman & Davidson, 1989.

Carrying capacity is the optimum population size that a given habitat can support indefinitely under a given set of environmental conditions (Jones et al., 1992). Exceeding the carrying capacity occurs when population densities exceed the ability of land to sustain increased levels of use without degradation. The fivefold growth in the world economy since 1950 and the increase in population from 2.6 billion to 5.5 billion have begun to outstrip the carrying capacity of biological support systems without being damaged (Brown et al., 1993).

Exceeding the carrying capacity occurs when population densities exceed the ability of land to sustain increased levels of use without degradation.

As carrying capacity is exceeded, additional stress is placed on land already utilized to the maximum. New land is brought under cultivation, in many cases land that is marginal or not suitable to cultivation. By the end of the century, shortage of land will have become a critical constraint for about two-thirds of the population of the developing countries (FAO 1981a). The socioeconomic and environmental consequences of exceeding carrying capacity are costly both to society and to national governments. Such costs can include irreversible environmental damage, increased conflict over land, water, pastures and forests, increased poverty and human misery, and added demands on national governments and international organizations for goods and services.

Increasing human and livestock populations are a major demographic feature of many countries, and result in increased demands for land, water, wood for construction and for fuel, forage, and for other natural resource goods and products. In response to these increased pressures, rural landscapes are changing dramatically. Population growth, land degradation, and rural poverty are interrelated problems that reinforce each other in a downward spiral, causing unsustainability at many levels: environmentally, economically and politically (see Box 9.1). The crisis of poverty is closely tied to the nature of local ecosystems for it arises in part out of growing scarcities in water, food, fodder and fuel which are associated with increasing ecological destruction (Thomas-Slater et al., 1991).

People are the ultimate resource

WCED 1990.

Environmental degradation contributes to poverty through worsened health, and by constraining the productivity of natural resources upon which the poor depend. Poverty restricts poor households to acting in ways that are damaging to the environment. As we have seen, demographic factors can be involved in complex ways: high growth rates are associated with rural poverty, and directly exacerbate problems of environmental degradation (Mink 1993).

In addition to affecting their health and capacity to work, environmental degradation depresses the ability of rural households to generate income in two ways. First, it requires the poor to divert an increasing share of their labor to routine household tasks such as the collection of fuelwood. Second, it decreases the productivity of those natural resources from which the poor obtain their livelihood, thereby perpetuating impoverishment (Mink 1993).

People are the ultimate resource (WCED 1990), and extensionists should be most concerned with building the capacity of rural people to live sustainably with the resources available to them. Helping rural households to plan their families is an important positive step that extension workers can take to help people cope with these interlinked problems, and to reduce pressure on natural resources. Programs that translate economic growth into education and health care, and contribute to human development, are essential to produce a better life for a nation's people (World Resources Institute 1992). Extensionists can also help to present a more macro view to rural people who may have limited exposure to broader demographic trends.

Many governments have family planning, resettlement, and immigration/emigration policies or programs that should be taken into consideration when planning this unit. Some suggested elements for this topic are given below.

Title of Topic: Population, Carrying Capacity and Family Planning

Box 9.1 Basic References for Trainers on Population Issues

Brown, L. et al. State of the World 1994. Washington, Worldwatch Institute, 1994. 265 pp.

World Commission on Environment and Development. Our Common Future. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1990. 400 pp.

World Resources Institute. World Resources 1992-93: A Guide to the Global Environment - Toward Sustainable Development. Washington, World Resources Institute, 1992. 385 pp.

Chapter 10: Land use and land tenure

Land use and land tenure are concepts that describe important economic and social relationships between people and land. Land use has two distinct definitions:

1. Functional land use is the use of an area of land to meet the requirements of the inhabitants of the area;

2. Current ground cover is the present use of land, for example, for agriculture, industry, or housing (Jones et al. 1992).

In contrast, land tenure is a system of rights regulating the ownership or use of land, and the arrangement governing the relationship between landlords and tenants (Jones et al. 1992). Land tenure refers to the possession or holding of a bundle of rights associated with a parcel of land. This bundle of rights can be broken up, redivided, or passed on to others, either as individuals, groups of people, or political entities. The distribution of rights determines who has access to land and other resources in a rural community.

The distribution of rights determines who has access to land and other resources in a rural community.

Tenure can be extended to other types of natural resources as well. It is not uncommon for tenurial rights to be extended to sources of water or streams, individual trees, forests, and other natural resources. Rights of access can become very complicated, and may overlap within a single place and time, with many people having certain rights of access to the same area. The same space may be used for different purposes by different groups of people at different times (Fortmann and Riddell 1985).

Land use and land tenure may have complex rules that govern how, when, and who use the land. Tenurial relations can be governed by customary, or traditional rules, religious rules or beliefs, and newer constitutional or gazzetted regulations. It is not uncommon for unwritten customary and written official rules to co-exist at the same time, especially in rural areas. In addition, tenurial access to a resource may be determined by gender, age, or other social status.

Land availability is becoming scarcer in many countries because of macro-level economic and demographic changes. Increased privatization and commercialization of land, especially drylands, pushes farmers and herders onto more marginal lands, and limits their access to traditional grazing areas and water sources. Troublesome changes in tenurial relations governing access to natural resources, such as pastures and water can result.

The excessive fragmentation of agricultural land, along with the breakdown of many common property regimes, makes people less secure in their tenure, and less willing to take conservation measure if they believe that they will be forced to relocate (Gregersen et al. forthcoming). Problems of land degradation are likely to increase in degree and in visibility in the future, as populations and economies continue to grow. Governments will be challenged to find sustainable solutions to these interlinked problems of poverty, population growth, and resource degradation. Trainers can support the efforts of governments by providing extensionists with a sound understanding of the complexities of land use and land tenure.

Trainers can support the efforts of governments by providing extensionists with a sound understanding of the complexities of land use and land tenure.

Tenurial patterns vary considerably even within a single country, and trainers will need to become familiar with the prevailing land use patterns and tenurial relations within their own country. In particular, trainers should seek to understand the degree to which customary and official rules governing land use and tenure exist within the country. The basic elements of an instructional unit are outlined below.

Title of Topic: Land Use and Tenure

Introduction to land use systems

Overview of prevailing land use systems in the country

Introduction to tenurial rules and institutions

Types of land tenure systems

(e.g. gazetted land and other public tenure, private land, common property, open access, etc.)

Changing patterns of land tenure and use in the country (e.g. privatization, settlement patterns, etc.)

Gender relations and land tenure

Tenurial relations and other natural resources

Box 10.1 Basic References for Trainers on Land Use and Tenure

Bloch, P. Land Tenure Issues in River Basin Development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Madison, Land Tenure Center, 1986. 154 pp.

Cernea, M. Land Tenure Systems and Social Implications of Forestry Development Programs. Washington, World Bank, 1981. 35 pp.

FAO. Community Forestry: Rapid Appraisal of Tree and Land Tenure. Community Forestry Note 5. Rome, 1989. 90 pp.

Fortmann, L. & Riddell, J. Trees and Tenure: An Annotated Bibliography for Agroforesters and Others. Madison and Nairobi, Land Tenure Center and International Council for Research in Agroforestry, 1985. 135 pp.

Raintree, J. B., ed. Land, Trees and Tenure. Madison and Nairobi, Land Tenure Center and International Council for Research in Agroforestry, 1987. 412 pp.

Chapter 11: Urbanization and migration

Changes in human settlements are occuring around the world. Demographic and economic factors including population growth, industrialization, migration, and urbanization all affect where people live, and under what conditions. When migration occurs under conditions of economic stress, it can strain the cohesiveness of family structures, and ability of rural households to survive and sustain themselves.

Migration is a process where large numbers of people move to another location. People may relocate either within a country, to a city for example, or to another country (emigration). Migration is often motivated by economic, political or social forces, and may be either temporary or permanent. Urbanization is the process of expansion or growth of cities. Both migration and urbanization are based upon demographic changes in human populations and settlements, and the two processes often reinforce each other.

By the year 2000, half of humanity will live in urban areas. Given projected demographic trends, the developing world must, over the next few years, increase by 65% its capacity to produce and manage urban infrastructure, services, and shelter to maintain urban populations (World Commission on Environment and Development 1990). For example, the population of many of Africa's largest cities, including Nairobi, Nouakchott, Dar es Salaam, Lusaka and Lagos, have increased sevenfold between 1950 and 1980. Asian and Latin American cities such as Seoul, Baghdad, Bogota, Jakarta and Mexico City, have tripled or quadrupled. Governments need to develop practical strategies to guide the processes of migration and urbanization, taking pressure off of environmental resources and more closely integrating urban centers with rural areas (World Commission on Environment and Development 1990).

Urban growth often generates economic resources and other opportunities for employment and income generation. Migrants are often drawn to growing urban areas where there may be a greater possibility of employment than in rural areas. In areas undergoing rapid economic or demographic change, there is often a lack of infrastructure, such as adequate sources of clean water and availability of health services, to support growing numbers of migrants. Newly arrived migrants often live in squatter settlements that are often prone to overcrowding, contaminated water supplies, crime, inadequate sanitation, and other problems. Large cities tend to have the highest concentrations of water, sanitation and health facilities, but as many as 30 to 60 percent of the poorest people do not have access to them (World Resources Institute 1992).

Some parts of the developing world face health hazards from industrial pollutants and urban development, which contribute to environmental causes of poor health (World Resources Institute 1992). People living in urban areas tend to have higher levels of exposure to industrial and atmospheric pollutants, and the incidence of communicable illness is also greater than in rural areas, especially for children.

In other cases, governments have actively promoted migration and resettlement to isolated, sparsely populated areas. A more recent phenomenon is the migration of "environmental refugees" areas undergoing extreme land degradation. Most migration in developing countries is from rural to urban areas, where the number of city-dwellers has quadrupled since 1950 (World Commission on Environment and Development 1990). However, migration and urbanization patterns vary widely, and demographic patterns are different in each country.

Changes in human settlements can have significant impacts on both local and non-local environments and economies. Demographic changes can increase disparities among regions in a country, and create economic and social imbalances that can have serious consequences in terms of national unity and political stability (World Conference on Environment and Development 1990). At the household level, the economic, labor and interpersonal relations of rural families can change considerably as different family members relocate or return. Other factors, such as political and military conflict and AIDS, also influence the changing nature and structure of families around the world. The absorptive capacity of families to deal with difficulties of this magnitude is frequently tested both economically and emotionally (Firebaugh 1991).

Finally, changing patterns of human settlements can also have significant environmental impacts. Growing human settlements have fundamental basic needs for energy, water, housing, transport, and sanitation. Urbanization may increase consumption patterns for fuelwood, water, and other resources, and the demand for these resources may place stress on available natural resources.

To combat these trends, governments should emphasize ways of relying more on supporting community initiatives and self-help efforts, and on effectively using low-cost, resource-conserving technologies (World Commission on Environment and Development 1990). Trainers can help government initiatives in this direction by stressing instructional units on community-based environmental action (Chapter 17), conservation-oriented technologies (Chapter 16), protection and maintenance of water supplies (Chapter 7), and production of renewable energy resources (Chapters 6 and 15). In addition, imparting a basic understanding of the environmental impacts of demographic change (e.g. migration and urbanization) is also important. This instructional unit is intended to support that effort.

Some suggested elements for this instructional unit are outlined below.

Topic: Urbanization and Migration

Box 11.1 Basic References for Trainers on Urbanization and Migration

Kritz, M. M. et al., ed.s. Global Trends in Migration: Theory and Research on International Population Movements. Staten Island: Center for Migration Studies, 1991. 422 pp.

Segal, A. An Atlas of International Migration. London, Hans Zell Publishers, 1993. 233 pp.

World Commission on Environment and Development. Our Common Future. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1990. 400 pp.

World Resources Institute. World Resources 1992-93: A Guide to the Global Environment - Toward Sustainable Development. New York, Oxford University Press, 1992. 385 pp.

Chapter 12: Conservation methods

Conservation is defined as the management, protection and preservation of the earth's natural resources and environment. Conservation implies not only the stewardship of natural resources, but also the maintenance of everyday life of human society. A conservation approach avoids disturbance or damage to natural systems and processes as much as possible.

Conservation methods are those techniques which enhance the diversity of plant and animal diversity, reduce erosion and other degradative processes, and rely on recycling of energy and materials to prolong the life of existing and future resources (Jones et al. 1992). There is a very wide range of conservation practices and methods that have been developed to conserve soil, water, vegetation, and other natural resources. Many of these are traditional methods that have evolved locally over many generations, and others are more recent technical methods developed by scientists.

Not all soil and water conservation methods will be appropriate for every environmental context, which will vary greetly from one country to another. As conservation methods and techniques tend to be specific to different ecosystems and environments, they will not be summarized here. The trainer is urged to consult a good reference work on conservation methods appropriate to prevailing local conditions (see Box 12.1).

Apart from the technical aspects of resource conservation, it is important that people be directly involved in planning and undertaking conservation efforts on a sustained basis. Because the condition of natural resources depends to a large extent on human use of those resources, the resource users themselves must be actively involved in conservation efforts, to avoid degrading the resource base. In many places people practice traditional or indigenous conservation techniques, that should be supported and encouraged by extension staff. Newer or "modern" conservation measures should be carefully assessed for compatibility with indigenous conservation methods prior to their introduction.

Many governments have recognized the importance of conserving their country's natural resource base, and have developed conservation policies and programs. The extension trainer is advised to learn as much as possible about conservation policies and programs existing in the country, and incorporate them into the course curriculum as appropriate. The curriculum planner should consult with specialists from related disciplines (such as agriculture, forestry, agroforestry and watershed management) to select the conservation methods and techniques that are most appropriate for the country's natural resource endowments and environmental conditions. The selected methods should have already been field tested and found to be technically effective as well as culturally and economically appropriate prior to their inclusion in the curriculum.

Some recommended elements for the instructional unit are summarized below.

Topic: Conservation Approaches and Methods

Box 12.1: Basic References for Trainers on Conservation Methods

Dani, A. A. & Campbell, D. J. Sustaining Upland Resources: People's Participation in Watershed Management. ICIMOD Occasional Paper No. 3. Kathmandu, Nepal, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, 1986. 121 pp.

FAO. Conservation in Arid and Semi-Arid Zones. FAO Conservation Guide 3. Rome, 1976. 125 pp.

FAO. Special Readings in Conservation. FAO Conservation Guide 4. Rome, 1978. 101 pp.

FAO. Keeping the Land Alive: Soil Erosion - Its Causes and Cures. FAO Soils Bulletin 50. Rome, 1983. 88 pp.

FAO. FAO Watershed Management Field Manual: Vegetative and Soil Treatment Measures. FAO Conservation Guide 13/1. Rome, 1985. 61 pp.

FAO. A Forester's Guide for Community Involvement in Upland Conservation With Special Reference to the Asia and Pacific Region. Rome, 1986. 125 pp.

SADCC Soil and Water Conservation and Land Utilization Programme. Conservation Project Design. SADCC Co-ordination Unit Report No. 14. Maseru, SADCC, 1987. 174 pp.

Weber, F. & Hoskins, M. Soil Conservation Technical Sheets. Moscow, Idaho (USA), University of Idaho, 1983. 94 pp.

Young, A. Agroforestry for Soil Conservation. London, C.A.B. International, 1990. 276 pp.

Chapter 13: Agrochemicals

Pesticides and other agrochemicals are widely used in the southern hemisphere, where the absence of a killing frost means that greater numbers of insect pests and plant diseases exist. Although agrochemicals have considerable potential to increase yields, widespread misuse has led to public health problems and the contamination of water and soils. At least 25% of U.S. pesticide exports are products that are banned, heavily restricted, or have never been registered for use in the U.S. (Weir and Schapiro 1981). DDT continues to be widely used in developing countries because it is cheap and effective, and in East Africa is known as "dawa," the same word used for medicine.

Pesticides and herbicides are often repackaged for sale in rural villages without appropriate labelling or instructions for use. DDT, gramoxone, malathion and other highly toxic chemicals may be sold without any form of labelling. Pesticides are frequently applied without protective clothing, and are widely used by women farmers who may be pregnant or breastfeeding. Pesticide runoff can affect water quality, and can be carried downstream so that distant dwellers are affected by contaminated water supplies. The health risks to rural families and downstream dwellers are high, yet most farmers are unaware of the dangers of unprotected exposure to agrochemicals.

Most pesticide use in the southern hemisphere is concentrated on luxury export crops, although many countries encourage farmers growing basic food crops to use agrochemicals. Government policies and extension programs often support subsidized fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide use by rural farmers, especially where high-yielding "green revolution" varieties (HYVs) have been introduced. HYVs have high requirements for agrochemicals to achieve optimum yields. Overuse of chemicals associated with HYVs can be attributed to improper economic policies, insufficient planning, and inadequate training that sometimes does not target the actual end user.

Trainers should seek to relate the balanced use of agrochemicals with environmental sustainability and human health aspects. Alternatives to agrochemical use, such as organic nutrient recycling, biological controls, and integrated pest management, should also be incorporated into the curriculum. In addition, the economic trade-offs associated with the use or non-use of agrochemicals should be stressed. The trainer should become familiar with pesticide policies, programs, and patterns of use in the country before preparing this instructional unit, so as to target the instructional message to areas needing specific attention.

Some suggested elements for this instructional unit are summarized below.

Topic: Agrochemicals and the Environment

Overview/introduction to agrochemicals

Box 13.1: Basic References for Trainers on Agrochemicals

Bull, D. A Growing Problem: Pesticides and the Third World Poor. Oxford, OXFAM, 1982. 192 pp.

Consortium for International Crop Protection (CICP). Training Program for Pesticide Users - Trainer's Manual. Berkeley, California (USA), United States Agency for International Development, 1985. 333 pp.

FAO. 1978. Fertilizers and Their Use: A Pocket Guide for Extension Officers. Rome, 1978. 52 pp.

Flint, M. L. & van den Bosch, R Introduction to Integrated Pest Management. New York, Plenum Press, 1987. 240 pp.

International Labour Office. Guide to Health and Hygiene in Agricultural Work. Geneva, ILO, 1979. 309 pp.

Singh, J. P. Crop Protection in the Tropics. Vikas, New Delhi, 1983. 378 pp.

Stoll, G. Natural Crop Protection in the Tropics. Weikersheim, Margraf Publishers, 1988. 188 pp.

Youdeowei, A. & Service, M.W. Pest and Vector Management in the Tropics. London, Longman, 1983. 399 pp.

Chapter 14: Pollution and waste

Pollution is the contamination of the biosphere with poisonous or harmful substances, usually agricultural, domestic, industrial, or chemical waste products. Pollution of the biosphere can cause undesirable changes in the physical, chemical, and biological makeup of the earth, and results in impaired performance, reduced growth, lowered reproductive capacity, and ultimately the death of individual organisms (Jones et al. 1992). Waste is unwanted, discarded material that originates from a variety of sources. Waste is the garbage or refuse remaining after consumption, that undergoes a process of decomposition after it has been dumped. Decomposing waste often creates pollution that can contaminate the soil, groundwater, and atmosphere, and may affect downstream communities.

Economic development is often based upon the growth of industries such as manufacturing, mining, logging, and agriculture. These industries use large amounts of materials and energy. The extraction and processing of raw materials are among the most environmentally destructive human activities. The overall aim in reducing pollution and waste is to reduce the amount of materials that enter and exit the economy (Brown et al. 1991).

The overall aim in reducing pollution and waste is to reduce the amount of materials that enter and exit the economy (Brown et al. 1991).

Many industrialized and developing countries carry huge economic burdens from inherited problems such as air and water pollution, depletion of groundwater, and the proliferation of toxic chemicals and hazardous wastes. These have been joined by more recent problems - erosion, acidification, watershed degradation, new chemicals, and new forms of waste that are directly related to the agricultural, industrial, energy, forestry, and transportation base of the country (World Commission on Environment and Development 1990).

Various forms of chemical and waste pollution from industrial activities can threaten ecological stability and environmental sustainability, and negatively impact human health and safety. Pollution and waste can also affect the quality and well-being of human populations, both locally and globally. Airborne pollution from industrial sources or from slash and burn agriculture can affect air quality, and may contribute to global climate change. Soil and groundwater pollution from discarded wastes can migrate by underground movement, and affect people downstream or in distant communities. The impacts of pollution and waste are most concentrated along coastal areas in river estuaries and watersheds, that are frequently inhabited by smallholder farmers, market producers, and fishing communities.

At the level of the rural household, people may be affected by runoff from distant sources. But rural households may also contribute to pollution problems in various ways. The widespread use of agrochemicals by Third World farmers is often done without adequate training, contributing to overuse, misapplication, or mistargetting. Agrochemicals are important sources of toxic atmospheric and groundwater contamination, with impacts on human health and reproduction. On a smaller scale, the disposal of batteries into household fields and gardens, for example, can leach pollutants and heavy metals that are taken up by plants and eaten by people.

Pollution and waste problems require not only global and national action at the policy level to deal with pollution stemming from industrialization, but also more locally-oriented programs oriented toward urban and rural households. Extension trainers should familiarize themselves with programs in their country oriented toward renewable energy, as well as the Three R approach to consumption of materials at the household and community levels: reduce, recycle, re-use.

Rural households have potentially a very significant role in controlling different forms of pollution, and in recycling reuseable materials. In particular, rural households could potentially and significantly reduce pollution and toxic runoff from agriculture, as well as household wastes. In addition, soil conservation measures can help reduce sedimentation and erosion that affects water quality to downstream users. But many households lack information on conservation methods and alternative technologies such as integrated pest management, composting, or organic methods to enable them to reduce their consumption of pesticides, to recycle materials, or to contain organic and inorganic wastes.

Subject matter in this unit will vary widely depending on the nature of waste and pollution problems in the country. Trainers will need to determine current levels and prevailing types of pollution and waste, as well as causes (point and nonpoint pollution, extraction of raw materials such as mining, industry, household resource consumption and disposal, etc.) and effects (downstream pollution, air quality, etc.) that are specific problems in their country. In preparing this curricular unit, trainers will need to conduct research on actual pollution and waste problems facing their constituents, as well as become familiar with potential approaches and technologies to address those specific problems. Elements for a general topical outline on waste and pollution are presented below.

Topic: Waste and Pollution

Box 14.1 Basic References for Trainers on Waste and Pollution

Bull, D. A Growing Problem: Pesticides and the Third World Poor. Oxford, Oxfam, 1982. 192 pp.

Weir, D. & Shapiro, M. Circle of Poison: Pesticides and People in a Hungry World. San Francisco, Institute for Food and Development Policy, 1981. 99 pp.

World Commission on Environment and Development. Our Common Future. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1990. 400 pp.

World Resources Institute. World Resources 1992-92: A Guide to the Global Environment - Toward Sustainable Development. Washington, World Resources Institute, 1992. 385 pp.

Young, J. E. Reducing Waste, Saving Materials. In L. Brown et al., State of the World 1991. Washington, Worldwatch Institute, 1991. 254 pp.

Chapter 15: Energy

Energy is defined as having two components:

1. The capacity of a body or system to work, or available power;

2. A measure of this capacity, expressed as the work that it does in changing to some other state. This is measured in joules (SI units) (Jones et al. 1992).

The earth is a single, great energy system that relies upon solar radiation as its primary source of energy. The flow of energy from solar radiation is our major renewable resource. Within this system, energy may be transformed from one type to another through various processes such as the photosynthesis of plants. Over time, the earth neither gains nor loses energy, but is in a state of energy balance, or homeostasis (Jones et al. 1992).

There are two basic types of energy-transforming resources. A renewable resource is any commodity that theoretically cannot be totally consumed because of its ability to reproduce (biologically) or regenerate (physically) in number. Renewable resources originate either as inexhaustible sources (e.g. solar energy), as a major physical cycle (e.g. the hydrological cycle), or as a biological system (such as all plants and animals that replicate themselves). Many renewable resources such as forests and ocean fish stocks have been depleted, because the rate of use has exceeded the rate of replentishment (Jones et al. 1992).

A nonrenewable resource is any naturally occuring finite resource that, in terms of the human time scale, cannot be renewed once it has been consumed. Nonrenewable resources can only be renewed over a geological time span, and include fossil fuels. In recent years, as resource depletion has become more common, the process of recycling has somewhat reduced reliance on virgin nonrenewable resources (Jones et al. 1992).

Human activities should also be designed and operated to use wisely the energy and materials of the earth and to respect, maintain and enhance the natural processes which produce and recycle energy and materials.

Cocoyoc Declaration, 1974

Both renewable and nonrenewable energy resources are essential for human well-being, and are the driving powers of economic development. Most of the world's energy needs are met by non renewable resources, primarily from petroleum and coal products. However, in developing counties, renewable resources are the primary forms of energy, consisting of biomass such as fuelwood, agricultural and animalwastes.

Energy is also a basic requirement for everyday life -- for cooking, heating and lighting (Rodda 1991). Within households, energy is needed to cook food, boil water, and to heat and light the home. These are women's tasks in most parts of the world (Dankelman and Davidson 1989).

Yet the links between demographic processes, economic development policies, and available energy supplies are forcing changes in the ways that rural families use energy resources. In areas of increasing population densities, renewable forms of energy are becoming scarce. As less firewood is available from forests, people must shift to dung and agricultural wastes in order to meet their household energy needs. Biomass, which is essential for maintaining soil fertility, is often converted to an energy source as fuel. Worldwide, about 800 million people depend on agricultural residues for household energy. Projections for the year 2000 show that 3,000 million people will be unable to obtain their minimum energy needs (Barnard in Dankelman and Davidson 1989).

Thus, the energy crisis is directly related to the food problem. With increased deforestation, there is more substitution for fuel of agricultural residues that are otherwise needed to restore soil fertility. As soils decline, agricultural yields also decline, As a result, there is less harvest for consumption in subsistence households, and less surplus for sale. Both forest fuels and agricultural residues become increasingly scarce and more expensive in deforested areas.

Yet rural households are key to conserving and replentishing renewable energy sources, especially biomass. Providing households with better and more appropriate information and technologies on energy conservation can help to ameliorate biomass fuel shortages, reduce the time and energy that women expend in collecting biomass, and reduce pressure on the surrounding environment. In addition, access to fuel-conserving technologies can ease pressure on natural resources. In particular, fuel-conserving stove programs like those in Kenya, Burkina Faso, India and Thailand have helped reduce consumption of biomass at both the household and institutional level. In Kenya, fuel-efficient stoves are now produced for industrial use in restaurants, hospitals, and schools, as well as for domestic use at the household level.

This unit should seek to highlight the links between land use, environmental condition, and fuelwood and energy use, with particular reference to the constraints and potentials facing rural households in the country. Many countries in the southern hemisphere are petroleum or timber exporters, while others experience very serious energy constraints. Rural households tend to be the single greatest users of energy in the form of biomass in most developing countries, even in petroleum-exporting nations. Curricular planners should keep in mind the national situation when preparing energy-related subject matter and materials, but emphasize the particular energy constraints facing rural households. In particular, the trade-offs between using biomass as source of energy or fuel rather than fertilizer should be discussed.

Some suggested elements of a topical unit of energy are summarized below.

Topic: Energy

Box 15.1 Basic References for Trainers on Energy

Bhagavan, M. R. & Karekezi, S., eds. Energy for Rural Development. London, Zed Books, 1993. 266 pp.

International Labour Office. The Rural Energy Crisis, Women's Work and Basic Needs. Geneva, ILO, 1987. 79 pp.

Kozloff, K. L. & Dower, R C. A New Power Base: Renewable Energy Policies for the Nineties and Beyond. Washington, World Resources Institute, 1994. 196 pp.

Rosenberg, P. The Alternative Energy Handbook. Lilburn GA (USA), Fairmont Press, 1993. 266 pp.

World Commission on Environment and Development. Our Common Future. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1990. 400 pp.

World Resources Institute. World Resources 1992-93: A Guide to the Global Environment - Toward Sustainable Development. New York, Oxford University Press, 1992. 385 pp.

Chapter 16: Technology, food security, and the environment

This instructional unit is intended to relate environmental change with the potential for food availability and supply at the household, national, and international levels. Environmental change may imply either improved or worsened food supplies, depending on the nature of the change. A country may have adequate or even surplus food supplies, but some people do not have access to food, and a distribution problem can exist. Where access or distribution problems occur, environmental degradation may result.

Technological change encompasses at least two categories: macro-level technological change that impacts rural households, and micro-level technologies that are adopted by households to increase productivity, to save time or energy, or to other improve household well-being and incomes.

At the level of the rural household, subsistence food production, processing and storage is generally the primary economic activity. Enabling the subsistence farmer to realize more gain from his or her efforts should be the primary focus of trainer's activities. The technical aspects of food production and agriculture overlap in several topical areas described in this section: sustainable agriculture and rural development (Chapter 4), agroecological concerns (Chapter 5), agrochemicals (Chapter 13) and conservation methods (Chapter 12). These overlapping units should be reorganized according to the needs of the trainer and trainees.

Enabling the subsistence farmer to realize more gain from his or her efforts should be the primary focus of trainer's activities.

Food processing activities, such as storage and secondary processing, are traditionally carried out by women in many parts of the world, and are an extension of their roles as farmers. Food processing activities take considerable time and energy on the part of rural women, and introduction of efficient technologies would benefit rural households by increasing their output, reducing physical strain injuries, making secondary use of agricultural by-produce, and freeing up time for more productive activities or leisure.

For many household chores, the primary objective in improving technologies are to relieve time spent on given activities (i.e. to increase labor productivity), and to reduce the strain associated with them. However, in cases where inputs are inefficiently used in the traditional methods of performing household chores, the primary objective could be expanded to include minimization of these inputs for the required output. In cooking, for example, primary consideration could be given to minimizing fuel use, thereby leading to income preservation (if fuelwood is bought), and relieving labor and pressure on the environment (if fuelwood is gathered) (ILO 1984b). Therefore, appropriate technology has the potential to:

Improved technologies, however, must be thoroughly tested prior to their introduction to ensure their appropriateness and acceptability to rural households. It is imperative that the costs associated with new technologies be kept low, and that due to the scarcity of mechanical skills in rural areas, that repair and maintenance requirements be kept to a minimum. In addition, technologies should rely upon locally available raw materials, parts, and energy sources, to be sustainable over the long term (ILO 1984b). In any case, technologies must be adaptable to local needs, resource constraints, and opportunities (see Box 16.1).

Improved technologies must be proved technically sound, economically viable, and culturally acceptable before their dissemination.

Box 16.1 Fitting Technologies to Local Needs

Population growth and fragmentation of holdings are reducing the environmental resources available to rural households in Kenya While there is strong interest in tree growing for fruits, fodder, fuel and timber, the containerization and transport of tree seedlings increases the costs of tree planting. One project sponsored by Catholic Relief Services tried to address these constraints in Meru, Embu, Machakos and Isiolo districts in north central Kenya. Several women's groups appealed to CRS for technical support in establishing decentralized tree seedling nurseries. Nonformal training was provided by CRS and KENGO, a Kenyan NGO.

Rather than use disposable plastic seedling tubes, or containers made locally from scarce biomass, the women developed an alternative system. Locally-made shallow plastic containers and buckets were fitted with drain holes, handles, and headstraps for the growing and transporting of tree and vegetable seedlings. A deposit for return of the containers was required whenever seedlings were sold. After about ten years, the containers are still in use, and the technology has been adopted by other groups in the area. The durable plastic containers are re-used continually, and the litter, waste and costs associated with disposable containers is avoided.

There are essentially three classes of technologies: those that increase production, those that reduce loss (conservation-oriented technologies), and those that add value to a product or commodity through secondary processing.

Technologies that increase outputs for rural households are generally centered around agriculture, agroforestry, aquaculture, horticulture, or forestry activities. Many of these methods utilize intensified methods, intercropping, or other improvements to increase agricultural productivity. These methods tend to be specific to different ecosystems and farming systems, and will not be summarized here for this reason. The extension trainer should consult colleagues in the agricultural and forestry extension services for information on technologies and techniques appropriate for your region.

Technologies that conserve resources or reduce losses include soil and water conservation techniques (see Chapter 12), food storage technologies, and fuel-conserving technologies such as fuel-efficient stoves. Soil and water conservation methods are specific to ecosystems, and trainers should consult their extension services for current recommended practices for your area.

In general, conserving the forest and water resources of a rural community can help to reduce vulnerability to famine, and maintain the nutritional wellbeing of rural households. Food from forests and water sources are an important part of the household diet, and supplement field-grown crops. Trees are widely grown in agricultural systems in the southern hemisphere, and provide a wide range of economic, aesthetic, and ecological benefits. Forests are also the source of a considerable array of wild foods and fruits consumed by rural households. Other uncultivated areas, such as grazing areas, rivers, streambanks, and drylands, may also provide a variety of roots, fish, wild game or bush meat, and edible insects. These gathered foods are especially important during periods of drought, famine, or dry seasons. Loss of access to these resources, or loss through environmental degradation, can affect the nutritional well-being of the household. Consequently, water sources and forests can make a significant contribution to the food security of the family.

Reducing post-harvest losses has significant potential to improve family health and food security, and is technically more feasible than increasing yields. Some estimates of post-harvest losses are in the neighborhood of 30% of total output, due to insect and rodent pests, and to damp or unclean storage conditions. Improperly stored food has been associated with a variety of public health problems, including exposure to aflatoxin and other contaminants, which may play a role in marasmus and cancer.

Where postharvest losses are high, farmers must often cultivate the land more intensively to obtain the same yield, placing additional stress on the environment. Providing rural women with the information and resources needed to reduce post harvest losses is an important means of increasing available food supplies, reducing women's time and labour constraints, and of easing environmental stress.

Fuel-conserving technologies are well developed in many parts of the world, and particularly in East and West Africa and the Near East. Trainers should consult their extension services and appropriate nongovernmental organizations for current information in your country on these technologies.

Technologies that add value to a commodity through secondary processing are often promoted as income-generation or employment-creation technologies. These technologies often require a financial or cost-benefit analysis to assure that the process is economically viable, particularly if a group intends to acquire a new technology for profit (see ILO 1984b for information on how to undertake this exercise).

The general topical organization and structure provided below are only suggestions for the outline of a study program and instructional units. The educational planner is strongly encouraged to adapt and change the topics according to national and local conditions and opportunities. Trainers should seek to collaborate with national research institutions, universities and nongovernmental organizations in building this portion of the curriculum. Some recommended elements for presentation or discussion in this instructional unit are summarized below

Topic: Technology, Food Security and the Environment

Box 16.1 Basic References for Trainers on Technology and the Environment

Ahmed, I., ed. Technology and Rural Women. London, Allen & Unwin, 1985. 383 pp.

Bassan, E. Environmentally Sound Small-Scale Energy Projects. New York, CODEL, 1985. 138 pp.

CODEL. Environmentally Sound Small-Scale Agricultural Projects, Revised Edition. New York, CODEL, 1985. 138 pp.

FAO. Processing and Storage of Foodgrains by Rural Families. FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin 53. Rome, 1983. 129 pp.

FAO. Household Food Security and Forestry: An Analysis of the Socioeconomic Issues. Community Forestry Note 1. Rome, 1991. 147 pp.

Folliott, P. F. & Thames, J. L. Environmentally Sound Small-Scale Forestry Projects. New York, CODEL, 1983. 109 pp.

International Labour Office. Improved Village Technology for Women's Activities. Geneva, ILO, 1984. 292 pp.

Logsden, G. Getting Food from Water: A Guide to Backyard Aquaculture. Emmaus, Rodale Press, 1978. 371 pp.

Chapter 17: Nonformal education and participatory methods

It is generally accepted that strategies and programs to alleviate poverty and promote economic development cannot succeed unless the poor themselves are able to participate directly in the development process (Oakley et al. 1991). Yet there can be no participation without information, and education is the basis for informed and effective local participation. The links between local participation and education are clear and direct. However, the majority of the rural poor have little access or opportunity for formal education. In many areas, extension training and other nonformal educational programs are the only opportunities for education available to rural households. This instructional unit is recommended for inclusion as a means to reorient extensionists in nonformal educational methods, and in participatory approaches and methods.

Local participation is the process by which the rural poor become directly involved in developmental activities that affect their wellbeing. Localized, nonhierarchical approaches to rural development are those which center on self-help, mutual support, and local participation. Implicit in these approaches is the notion of community empowerment, or the enabling of local groups to manage their own resources, to control their own socioeconomic and political processes, and to strengthen their own local institutions.

In practice, local participation means different things to different donors and governments, and reflects a wide range of empirical methods and approaches ranging from grassroots self-help, to top-down, allocative food-for-work schemes (Eckman 1992). Similarly, participation may reflect either a fairly democratic or more autocratic process, depending on the national and local political context (Eckman 1993).

Trainers should familiarize themselves with existing approaches and government policies in their own country regarding local participation and the management of natural resources. For example, the governments of India, Botswana, and Tanzania have recently decentralized the management of public forests and other natural resources to village governments or other local groups, and processes for participatory decisionmaking have been established in some cases. Trainers should determine whether such structures exist prior to planning the details of this curricular unit.

Non-formal educational and training approaches are generally external to the formal educational system (such as primary and secondary schools and universities), and generally do not use conventional pedagogical or didactic methods. Nonformal methods emphasize direct reaming experiences, individual and participatory problem-solving, group dialogue and conscientization, self-guided educational programs (such as distance teaching), and other nonstandard approaches. As noted in Part 2, nonformal approaches to education have been found to be most effective in reaching adults and nontraditional learners. However, many extensionists have been trained in traditional formal pedagogy. For this reason, retraining in nonformal adult education methods is recommended, to better serve the educational needs of rural households, and of nontraditional learners.

Many participatory methods and nonformal educational approaches build upon the body of indigenous knowledge and existing social groupings, thereby strengthening local capacities. The role of the trainer in these methods is to facilitate the learning process, rather than to simply instruct. As such, trainers must reorient their personal teaching methods, style, materials, and even their role -- from "teacher" to "facilitator." Trainers themselves must learn the conscientization process, along with new participatory techniques that provide farmers with direct, immediate problem-solving, learning and capacity-building experiences (see Chapter 3.1 for a more detailed discussion of nonformal education).

In addition, trainers may be asked to work with local groups to enable them to better organize, gain new skills, create group assets, and function effectively for the management of local resources and economic initiatives. Training in group organization, formation, and empowerment is therefore an important new functional area to be learned by extensionists during the curricular reorientation.

In sum, trainers will need to learn a cluster of new approaches and skills both in nonformal education, and in participatory methods. Fortunately, many of these new tools are complementary, and should enable the resourceful trainer to work more effectively with the nontraditional reamer. Elements for an instructional unit on nonformal education, participatory methods, and community empowerment are suggested below.

Topic: Nonformal Education and Participatory Methods

Box. 17.1 Basic References for Trainers in Nonformal Education and Participatory Methods

Burkey, S. People First: A Guide to Self-Reliant, Participatory Rural l Development. London, Zed Books, 1993. 244 pp.

Chambers, R Rural Development: Putting the Last First. London, Longman, 1983. 246 pp.

Drummond, T. Using the Method of Paolo Freiere in Nutrition Education: An Experimental Plan for Community Action in Northeast Brazil. International Nutrition Monograph Series No. 3. Ithaca, New York, Cornell University, 1975. 55 pp.

Evans, D. R The Planning of Nonformal Education. Paris, Unesco, 1981. 102


FAO. Community Forestry: Participatory Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation. Community Forestry Note 2. Rome, 1989. 150 pp.

FAO. The Community's Toolbox: The Idea, Methods, and Tools for Participatory Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation. Community Forestry Field Manual 2. Rome, 1990. 146 pp.

Fals-Borda, O. & Rahman, M.A. Action and Knowledge: Breaking the Monopoly with Participatory Action-Research. New York and London, Apex Press and Intermediate Technology Publications, 1991. 182 pp.

Freiere, P. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York, Continuum, 1989. 186 pp.

Kindervatter, S. Nonformal Education as an Empowering Process with Case Studies from Indonesia and Thailand. Amhurst (Massachusetts, U.S.A.), University of Massachusetts, 1979. 294 pp.

Oakley, P. et al. Projects With People: The Practice of Participation in Rural Development. Geneva, International Labour Office, 1991. 284 pp.

Rahman, M. A. The Theory and Practice of Participatory Action Research. WEP 10/WP 29. Geneva, International Labour Office, 1983. 21 pp.

Singh, R P. Nonformal Education: An Alternative Approach. New Delhi, Sterling, 1987. 131 pp.

Vella, J. K. Learning to Listen: A Guide to Methods of Adult Nonformal Education. Amhurst (Massachusetts, U.S.A.), University of Massachusetts, 1979. 58 pp.

Vella, J. K. Visual Aids for Nonformal Education. Amhurst (Massachusetts, U.S.A.), University of Massachusetts, 1979. 43 pp.

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