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Part 3 - Communications in Service of Extension


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Part 3 - What aspects of ICT could be a game changer for the rural poor?

Author: Paul Hixson

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Part 3 - Communications in Service of Extension

  1. 1. Communications in Service of Extension. What aspects of ICT could be a game changer for the rural poor? Paul Hixson University of Illinois Part 3
  2. 2. Leading Edge ICT Developments Today: • Talking Books – Building on the Oral Tradition
  3. 3. Leading Edge ICT Developments Today: • And, we haven’t even dared to dream about what could be accomplished if the “pipes were bigger”…. (and bandwidth more affordable) ….
  4. 4. Leading Edge ICT Developments Today: • Keep in mind that smart phones will someday be used as content creation tools by extension field staff in developing nations, as well as communications and information download devices…
  5. 5. Assessing ICT Needs in the Field: • As part of a comprehensive MEAS project to strengthen a country’s Extension system, conduct a SWOT analysis of Extension’s ICT infrastructure, the ICT skill level of existing staff, and how ICT’s are being used by staff at all levels of the organization. Pay particular attention to critical gaps or weaknesses in how well Extension staff can use ICT tools to generate, archive, share and utilize subject matter information internally. • Conduct a SWOT analysis of the national ICT infrastructure, including ISP’s, mobile telecom service providers, and other major ICT players in both the public and private sectors. Determine which groups would most likely be good partners in helping advance upcoming ICT improvements. • Work other members of the MEAS Project Team and local farmers to learn which high value crops or products offer the most promise for improving farmer’s incomes.
  6. 6. Assessing ICT Needs in the Field: • Based on the outcomes from preceding steps, develop a list of possible ICT strategies (including any new or expanded ICT tools) for advancing the intended agricultural improvement. Consult with local farmers and Extension workers to assess potential acceptance of new methodologies. • Develop a staged deployment plan for any intended changes in ICT infrastructure and toolset usage. – Infrastructure – Staff training – Pilot usage (involve farmers as well as staff) – Full scale rollout and implementation
  7. 7. Conclusions: • Remember the important lessons from successful communications practices: – Involve farmers in all phases of both the communications and ICT tool selection/development process. – One size does NOT fit all. Context and Localization are critical. • Don’t believe all the hype surrounding ICT • But, do get excited about what an intelligent usage of ICT tools in developing nations can do to modernize their extension systems and make them more responsible to the needs of their citizens. • And, most importantly, none of this ICT “stuff” matters if it doesn’t lead to improving the incomes and livelihoods of the rural poor.
  8. 8. Discussion: Thanks….. Questions?
  9. 9. Terms of Use © Paul Hixson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, MEAS project. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Users are free: • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work • to Remix — to adapt the work Under the following conditions: • Attribution — Users must attribute the work to the author(s)/institution (but not in any way that suggests that the authors/ institution endorse the user or the user’s use of the work).
  10. 10. Disclaimer This presentation was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development, USAID. The contents are the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
  11. 11. Consortium Partners