Communication for Development

Communication for Development (ComDev) is a driver in agriculture and rural development. It is a results-oriented communication process based on dialogue and participation. ComDev can maximize the impact and sustainability of development initiatives, facilitating knowledge sharing, informed decision-making and collective action.

FAO's work in Communication for Development

Every day smallholder and family farmers need to acquire new information through a broad range of methods and tools, including local media and ICTs, in order to be able to face social, economic and environmental challenges.

FAO ComDev activities aim at enabling rural people's access to relevant information and fostering social dialogue through the design and implementation of appropriate ComDev strategies and plans along the lines of the ComDev Guidelines for Planning and Project Formulation. Technical assistance is given to FAO Strategic Programmes, Regional Initiatives, Country Programme Frameworks (CPF), field projects while enhancing the ComDev capacities of partners and institutions. ComDev activities are designed based on needs and priorities identified at the field level by communities, producers' organizations and rural institutions. In order to seek sustainability and community empowerment, ComDev processes are implemented and monitored in close coordination with local stakeholders. The FAO ComDev Team based in the Partnerships Division, PSP, delivers two main functions:

  • Technical advice to agricultural and rural development projects and programmes in the design and implementation of ComDev strategies and plans, blending local media and the use of community-centered ICTs.
  • Support to policy dialogue, improved capacities and partnerships to advance inclusive Rural Communication Services.

Technical assistance in ComDev is currently provided especially to regional initiatives focusing on Family Farming, in Latin America and the Near East and North Africa regions, as well as to projects related to agricultural census, animal transboundary diseases and conflicts over land in Africa. Similarly, ComDev assistance is also provided to programmes providing assistance to forest and farm producers for the sustainable management of landscapes and the adaptation to climate change.
With a view to scaling up and institutionalizing rural communication services (RCS) as part of agriculture and rural development policies, FAO supports national research and extension systems piloting out RCS dedicated to smallholders in countries like Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Haiti, Lebanon, Vietnam and Nepal. These initiatives are also complemented by studies on evidence based approaches and by multi-stakeholder policy dialogue for the institutionalization of the RCS.

Partnerships and knowledge sharing are instrumental to enhance local capacities and sustain ComDev processes. Three regional initiatives supported by web-based platforms in Africa (YenKasa), Asia (ComDevAsia) and Latin America (Onda Rural) are fostering experience sharing, advocacy and cooperation among institutions and individuals engaged in this field. These communication initiatives have been effective in facilitating learning opportunities, as well as technical advice, South-South and triangular cooperation on RCS. Furthermore, learning opportunities and studies and are being promoted in association with five universities of the Global Research Initiative on Rural Communication through the Collaborative Change Communication initiative and the CCComDev platform.

As part of these efforts, the e-learning course Communication for Rural Development has been produced in English, French and Spanish and is available online to help professionals and field practitioners in designing and implementing communication strategies for agricultural and rural development.




In the Republic of Congo 37 rural radios participated in the awareness raising campaign on the Agricultural Census reaching the 67% of smallholders and family farmers throughout the entire country
Since 2016, the ComDev team contributed to 3 regional workshops to strengthen Communication capacity for resilient family farming of 48 representatives of community media, CSO, and FAO staff in Asia and the Pacific
In Guatemala, FAO implemented a ComDev strategy integrating the use of ICTs to enable rural youth’s access to job opportunities and entrepreneurial support. As a result, the Ministry of Agriculture prioritized ComDev as a strategic component of the National Strategy for Rural Youth
Searching for information can cost to a farmer up to 11% of his/her total production costs

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