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ICT Tools and Extension Services - Part I
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ICT Tools and Extension Services - Part I

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This presentation was prepared by Paul Hixson in March 2011.

This presentation was prepared by Paul Hixson in March 2011.

Published in Business , Technology
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  • 1. Communications in Service of Extension. What aspects of ICT could be a game changer for the rural poor? Part 1 Paul Hixson University of Illinois
  • 2. Background: Where I’m coming from • 41 years - Extension Communications Specialist • 25 years – IT and Communications management • 25 years - multimedia production • 22 years – International development work
  • 3. Goals of Talk: • Explore how our experience in successful communications planning/delivery can inform how we approach ICT in development. • Deflate some of the current hype and “easy answers” about ICT. • Develop a clearer sense of what ICT can do to strengthen Extension programs in developing countries, and what some of the most promising new ITC applications are. • Develop a clearer understanding of how audience-centered processes and procedures are as every bit as important as the ICT tools themselves…. And then re-kindle some well-founded enthusiasm for what’s possible in this area.
  • 4. The Communications Process: Sender Message Channel Audience Effect What’s wrong with this picture? What’s missing?
  • 5. The Communications Process: Feedback Sender Message Channel Audience Effect Successful Communications is ALWAYS a “2-way street” We forget that at our peril!
  • 6. The Communications Process: What is the single most common reason for failed communication efforts? Sender Message Channel Audience Effect Being “sender-centric”
  • 7. The Communications Process: The 1-way “hypodermic needle” model of Communications Sender Message Channel Audience Effect
  • 8. The Communications Process: The 1-way “hypodermic needle” model of Communications Sender Message Channel Audience Effect How many times have you heard someone say: “we’ve got to launch a communications campaign to get our message out”?
  • 9. The Communications Process: The 1-way “hypodermic needle” model of Communications Sender Message Channel Audience Effect How many times have you heard someone say: “we’ve got to launch a communications campaign to get our message out”? As a potential audience member, how enthused does that make you feel?
  • 10. The Communications Process: The 1-way “hypodermic needle” model of Communications Sender Message Channel Audience Effect Our farmer audiences are no different. In order for our Extension communications efforts to be successful, we need to turn this around and be more “audience-centric.” We know this is true, but often don’t practice it.
  • 11. The Communications Process: Feedback Sender Message Channel Audience EffectAudience Sender(listening) (sharing needs/interests) Turning Things Around
  • 12. The Communications Process – Major Lessons Learned: • Always put audiences (farmers) first – Listen to them. They are smart people. Discover what they want to do and what they want to learn. – Discover what gaps exist in their current knowledge. – Discover their preferred methods of communications – Discover who they trust • Base all plans and actions as an information provider from the point of view of being a helpful, respectful partner in a 2-way communications process. • Farmer audiences will sense the difference and respond accordingly.
  • 13. Debunking Hype About ICT: • The “Field of Dreams” approach: – Just build an ICT infrastructure and they will come. – True, they can’t come until you build it in the first place, but how do you know you’re building the right thing in the first place if you haven’t first gathered farmer input and made them part of the process?
  • 14. Debunking Hype About ICT: • Extension is too labor intensive (and therefore too expensive), but if we just add a little ICT to the mix, everything will magically work (and it will be affordable too). – Again, not just “any ICT” will work – it has to be the right ICT for the local context. Furthermore, although hardware is essential, other factors for success are even more critical, such as inclusive processes, good software and meaningful content. – And, ITC is NOT cheap ….(although the benefits can be huge) – If you design it well, much of the cost for building the ICT backbone infrastructure will be borne by private sector partners.
  • 15. The Communications Process - Lessons Apply to ICT As Well • Always put audiences (farmers) first – Listen to them. Discover what they want to do and what they want to learn. – Discover what gaps exist in their current knowledge. – Discover their preferred methods of communications – Discover who they trust • Base all plans and actions as an information provider from the point of view of being a helpful, respectful partner in a 2-way communications process. • Farmer audiences will sense the difference and respond accordingly.
  • 16. ICT’s Potential In A Developing Nation Context• “…in some regards, (ICT) is a simple concept, just as the Erie Canal is, in a sense, just a big ditch of water. But, like the canal, it has innumerable effects that cannot be anticipated and that will not become apparent for many years.” Dr. Gregory Crane, Harvard, 1989.
  • 17. ICT’s Potential In A Developing Nation Context• There was no way that Dr. Crane could have predicted specifically any of the following in 1989… • Facebook …but he didn’t need to because he could already see… • Twitter • Blogs • Windows OS • Amazon • eMail • Smartphones • Hypercard • iPads • PageMaker • TelePresence
  • 18. Leading Edge ICT Developments Today: Tracking the ICT space: Judy Payne and FACET
  • 19. Leading Edge ICT Developments Today: Tracking the ICT space: World Bank Reports & Tools