Development experiences of the last few decades have shown that the key to successful projects is the active involvement of all concerned people in every stage of the development process. Sharing knowledge, linking different viewpoints, fostering dialogue and mutual understanding are essential for encouraging participation among stakeholders, and communication is central to this task.
Communication for Development is a cross-cutting discipline focused on the interplay between people, processes and technology. It promotes the application of specific participatory communication methodologies, strategies and technologies to enhance participation and consensus building, transparency and knowledge exchange. These processes are applied to different development issues such as agriculture, natural resource management, food security, governance, etc., but most of all they are designed based on the needs and capacities of all concerned.
FAO has been a pioneer in the use of communication processes and media to help rural people to actively participate in and manage agricultural and rural development activities. Technical assistance is provided to member countries in identifying communication needs in support of agricultural and rural development and in applying innovative, cost-effective communication strategies for specific audiences. More..
Education for Rural People
Approximately one billion of the world’s current population of 6.5 billion people is suffering from hunger and illiteracy. Education for Rural People is a policy approach aimed at contributing to a reduction in the 963 million food insecure people and 851 million illiterate people within the MDGs framework. Education, labour, land, livestock and infrastructure are the key assets enabling rural households to escape poverty and education for rural people is one of the most powerful weapons against hunger.
ERP bridges the agriculture and education sector efforts in bringing about transformation of rural communities by developing the capacity of rural people to feed themselves, to overcome poverty, hunger and illiteracy, and to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives. The ERP policy approach broadens the agriculture production focus of traditional rural development approaches to encompass all those who live and work in the rural space and not only people directly involved in agriculture. ERP was designed as a people-centered approach. The research foundations of the ERP policy discourse were laid in the FAO and UNESCO publication: Education for Rural Development: Towards New Policy Responses (2003). Education and skills training are seen as preparing rural citizens to succeed in part-time and full-time farm and off-farm employment and providing them economic and social mobility and resilience needed to live in a space that includes both farming as well as other economic and social activities.
Providing education for rural people is a complex challenge given the heterogeneous nature of the main stakeholders, the number of people involved world-wide, and the particular physical, cultural, and resource endowments of rural space. Education for Rural Peple (ERP) is also a global partnership promoted to accelerate progress towards the MDGs. The partnership – launched in September 2002 during the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) - is a worldwide call to action for Education for All rural children, youth, and adults. The partnership aims to remove barriers that prevent poor people from using their capacity including the urban-rural knowledge and education gap. ERP is one of the “Partnerships for Sustainable Development” of the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD).
The initiative was launched in partnership by the FAO and the UNESCO Directors General. ERP works through the identification of political, institutional, organisational and individual opportunities and constraints that poor people face in accessing education and training services at all levels of education in both formal and non-formal settings. ERP seeks to empower the rural poor to become fully integrated actors of the development process by promoting collaboration among the education, agriculture and rural development sectors to ensure education and skill training for all rural people. The strategy addresses research, knowledge generation and sharing, advocacy, policy and capacity development, as well as normative and field work. More..