Communication for Development

Local Appropriation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)

New ICTs and the Internet have great potential for development purposes. Unlike other mass media, they offer opportunities for two-way communication and for opening up new, non-traditional communication channels for rural communities and development organizations.

FAO has developed the Virtual Extension Research and Communication Network (VERCON), an Internet based communication network designed to enhance interaction among agricultural research bodies, outreach organizations, farmers and other stakeholders of agricultural and rural development. Its aim is to strengthen institutional links by supporting knowledge sharing and fostering collaboration. Since 2000, FAO
has been supporting communication systems based on the VERCON model in Africa, Asia, Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

In recent years FAO has also supported a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing the capacities of grass-roots organizations and rural communities in the use of communication methods and media, including ICTs. For example, communication systems managed directly by rural dwellers or indigenous peoples’ organizations have been supported in Latin America and in Bolivia in particular, applying the use of video, radio and local media to support self-determined development initiatives.

FAO is presently exploring new applications for ICTs in rural development, including  the use of new technologies such as cell phones and the internet particularly in the field of agricultural innovation systems and NRM, to contribute to making ComDev processes more effective at the field level.

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FAO Communication for Development

What is ComDev?

Communication for Development (ComDev) is a social process based on dialogue using a broad range of tools and methods. ComDev is about seeking change at different levels including listening, establishing trust, sharing knowledge and skills, building policies, debating and learning for sustained and meaningful change

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FAO – Research & Extension Branch
Communication for Development
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00153 Rome, Italy