Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Program |
Phase 7 (2017 Deadline)
Improving agricultural extension in Pakistan through communication for development
US Partner: Robert Agunga, The Ohio State University
Pakistan Partner: Badar Siddiqui, Pir Mehr Ali Shah (PMAS) Arid Agriculture University
In this project, the team will implement a social science-based, Master’s degree program in “Communication for Development” (C4D) curriculum at the university level to improve development performance; and strengthen agricultural extension in the field by promoting participatory development strategies.
2019: During this period, the primary investigator had the opportunity to visit Pakistan to discuss the upcoming master’s degree program with students. Seminars and workshops were held to discuss the concept of Communication for Development or C4D. This concept is the framework through which the master’s degree program is based. The investigator visited Peshawar University of Agriculture, University of Faisalabad Institute of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Arid University of Agriculture, all in Pakistan. In addition to university workshops and seminars, the investigator had the opportunity to visit officials and offices such as the Director-General for Extension at Lahore, the Agricultural Ministry and Research Offices and a number of Punjab Department of Extension Offices in an effort to share potential positive outcomes of this project for extension in Pakistan. Finally, the investigator visited several villages to discuss the formation of farmer associations and to also engage women and youth. This period also saw the initial development of several online courses for the master’s degree program. The courses are: a) Information and Communication for Development; b) Youth for Development; c) Women in Development; d) Leadership and Community Development; and f) Internship Coordination
2018: Communication for development (C4D) is presented as an emerging discipline and profession for addressing critical problems afflicting poverty reduction development programs. These are: promoting local participation, facilitating interagency collaboration and strengthening the capacities of field staffs to implement increasing complex and sophisticated development programs. Our C4D strategy presents communication as the key to community mobilization, participation and empowerment; as the glue that binds development partners together to work towards common cause; and as a curriculum for preparing development management professionals.
The development challenges in Pakistan warrant the need for C4D professionalism. Since these practitioners are not readily available, they have to be trained. This being the first of three years of the project, we have focused on the post-graduate Master’s degree program—the development of a curriculum and getting it approved by the university. Our next step is recruitment and training of students in a two-year program. Graduates will be appointed as district development facilitators. The overall C4D experiment will be evaluated after three years and its impact assessed for replication. Our conviction is that many of today’s development challenges—leadership, empowerment, cultural relations, and managing change—are communication based and can be effectively addressed by incorporating C4D professionalism in development programming. C4D is the missing piece to the development puzzle. Pakistan, with its large rural population and its strong extension workforce, offers a great opportunity for field-testing C4D.