Phase IV of the project focuses on communication services to facilitate access fo herders to practicable knowledge and opportunities for exchange and collective action.
The Centre for Communication and Social Change (CfCSC) in collaboration with UniQuest has won a tender for the Extension Component of the Green Gold - Phase IV project in Mongolia.
The Green Gold project is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and started in 2004 to promote collective actions for sustainable rangeland management and improving herders’ access to knowledge and markets in western Mongolia.
The new Extension Component of Phase IV of the project involves the establishment and operationalisation of communication services to facilitate access for herders to practicable knowledge and opportunities for exchange and collective action.
Centre Director Elske van de Fliert will lead the project team, which will further involve CfCSC affiliate Dr Erdenebolor Baast, an agricultural extension specialist from the Association for Sustainable Rural Development (ASRD) in Mongolia and PhD candidate Graham Walker, environmental education specialist and participatory video expert.
The Centre’s approach to the implementation of GG IV calls for well-informed individual decision making as well as collective planning and action at the farm household and community level. The project methodology applies interactive participatory approaches and works from the principle of facilitation of access to information, services, technologies and learning, and exchange opportunities.
The project timeframe is slightly over three years (Nov 2013 – Dec 2016) and the volume of funding is CHF 1.7 million (approximately AUD 2 million).
The focus is in food and nutrition security, rural livelihoods, and resilience to threats and crisis
The Centre for Communication and Social Change has been invited to produce background discussion paper for the XIII United Nation’s Inter-Agency Round Table on Communication for Development, hosted by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in Rome next year.
PhD students Hagos Nigussie from Ethiopia, Grady Walker from the United States, Steve Sam from Sierra Leona, CSC master graduate Laura Simpson Reeves from Australia and CfCSC staff Claudia Sepulveda from Chile are currently working on the paper under the supervision of Centre Director Elske van de Fliert.
According to Associate Professor Elske van de Fliert this engagement with FAO is a great opportunity for the CfCSC to connect with organisations that actively practise Communication for Development in the field to feed research experiences into field practice. It also provides a unique chance for our students to reflect on the application of Communication for Social Change by large development organisations.
The goal of the upcoming XIII UNRT is to discuss the opportunities for a more prominent and mainstreamed role of Communication for Development within the UN system, mechanisms for strengthening inter-agency collaboration, and the application of Communication for Development principles and strategies to maximise the impact of development programs.
The CfCSC will look at examining current trends, challenges and opportunities for mainstreaming Communication for Development into policies and programs addressing food and nutrition security, rural livelihoods, and resilience to threats and crises.
Since 1986 the Round Table has been recognised by the UN as an important mechanism of interagency cooperation and coordination for promoting and advancing communication for development.
In 2014 the focus of the Round Table will be on Communication for Development in agricultural policies and sustainable livelihoods. Since the RT will coincide with the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) under the leadership of FAO, it is proposed that the main theme be addressed from a “Family Farming” perspective.
Pradip Thomas, Elske van de Fliert and Lauren Leigh Hinthorne to be editors
The prestigious global academic publisher Palgrave Macmillan has accepted a proposal from CfCSC for a book series on Communication for Social Change (CSC). CfCSC scholars Pradip Thomas, Elske van de Fliert and Lauren Leigh Hinthorne will be the editors of the book series.
The book series aims to explore new thinking in Communication for Social Change theory, methods and policy, and its multiple interfaces between culture, technology, political economy and social change.
It also spotlights ingenuity in theory, innovation in methods, and novelty in determining policy issues.
According to CfCSC Co-Director Associate Professor Pradip Thomas, the CfCSC has a strong, knowledgeable and committed team to undertake this new project.
“I believe that we have the capacity to contribute to the establishment of globally recognised series. The prospective contributors have a range of CSC interests and engage with CSC from a variety of vantage points. That makes our team unique.” Professor Thomas said.
The main goal of the publication is to establish a creative, innovative book series that contributes to filling the gaps in current knowledge about CSC by engaging with and expanding on theory of CSC, investigating new research methods, exploring emerging dimensions with new technologies, and creating a body of knowledge on policy making in areas relevant to CSC, and exploring how these policies influence the CSC agenda.
“Cultural, technological and social change has always impacted on its theorising and it is important that theory keeps up with these changes. Furthermore, there is a need for conversations between theory and practice – and we hope that books in this series will be able to explore new ideas, new pathways, and new ways of making sense of complexity”, said Thomas.
In terms of scope Thomas suggested that this series is for those who can explore new interfaces between communication, technology, culture and the social.
Palgrave Macmillan serves learning and scholarship in higher education and professional markets, publishing textbooks, journals, monographs, professional and reference works in print and online.
For authors and/or scholars thinking on proposing a book for this series, Associate Professor Thomas advises to take risks, explore new ideas, be critical, and above all, make sure that the propose is a manageable, achievable project.
Download the series flyer here.
The CfCSC uses participatory development communication processes to coordinate a $2.2 million ACIAR project.
Launched in May 2009, the main participants in this program are smallholder farmers in the north-west highlands of Vietnam who have recently acquired market access and are in the transition to commercial agriculture. The aim of this project is to increase participants’ engagement in competitive value chains associated with maize and temperate fruit based farming systems, while improving land and crop management practices for the development of sustainable and profitable farming systems.
The project’s first year highlighted the effectiveness of a system’s-based, participatory approach in the identification of potential innovations that can support farmers to change their current practices towards more profitable and sustainable farming. Farmers showed committed engagement in the experiments in most locations, although the benefits on their livelihood will still have to be proven throughout the project’s remaining stages.
Researchable areas include practice change models, development, soil erosion management, integrated crop management, and value chain analysis.
The CfCSC supports Indonesia's Smallholder Agribusiness Development Initiative (SADI) through exploring stakeholder models for participatory
Commissioned by ACIAR in 2007 the project provides support to Indonesia's Smallholder Agribusiness Development Initiative (SADI) which was established to address long-standing issues and constraints relating to agricultural production and rural poverty in Eastern Indonesia.
Support is provided in the form of advice and collaboration on workshops, new model exploration, field visits, methodology and reporting, in the following areas:
Institutional assessments to determine the nature and effectiveness of current research-extension linkages and methods
Strengthening linkages between R&D and extension providers
Improving extension media and materials to assist in disseminating successful R&D outcomes
Recommending approaches to agricultural technology assessment
Utilising improved linkages, media and approaches for the pilot roll-out of promising technical options resulting from adaptive R&D activities.
Drawing from experiences in communication and development projects the CfCSC developed a human and social impacts framework and methods for assessment.
The University of Queensland funded the development of a human and social capital impact framework and methods for assessment. Research was conducted to explore and define the links between human, social and financial capital. This helped form this framework that will be used to strengthen the research and evaluation in other development initiative currently being implemented by the CfCSC (including the current Vietnam ACIAR project).
The CfCSC created an interactive, CD-based educational training program and resources kit commissioned by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
This project required the development of an interactive, educational program and resources kit is designed to help media professionals to develop training skills and techniques, thus enabling to initiate and implement courses, workshops and seminars.
The resource kit needed to address media professionals’ existing skills and competencies in their own fields and guide them in how to teach those skills to others, whether through formal classroom activities, in ‘on-the-job’ settings or during specialist workshops.
Technical advice and guidance was given to help develop an information communication technologies (ICT) policy in the Solomon Islands.
Working with the Prime Minister’s Office for the Solomon Island the CfCSC supported the preparation and design of the draft national communications and ICT strategic policy framework for Solomon Islands. This work was funded by the British High Commission in Honiara.
Working with ACIAR the CfCSC was awarded $109,849 to conduct a scoping study to identify agricultural needs and opportunities in rural upland communities in the North-West of Vietnam.
This project involved Vietnamese and Australian R&D institutions and individuals towards the planning and implementation of research, targeting the specific needs of rural upland communities. It was also essential to identify constraints and R&D needs and opportunities related to agricultural livelihood systems in rural upland communities. The objective was to develop a framework for an agricultural systems research program targeting the needs of rural upland communities in north-western Vietnam.
The project involved a general profiling of 6 provinces in north-west Vietnam although data was collected on R&D needs and opportunities in only three provinces. It was found that the region lagged in agricultural development in comparison to the lowlands region/s but that a strong capacity for research exists.
A recommendation was provided for a potential research program consisting of a number of components.
Working with the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development the CfCSC has been involved in consultancies in India, Iran, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Macau SAR, and the South Pacific region, including Fiji.
These consultancies have involved a wide range of institutions (including government and media organisations) in areas related to communication, journalism, and development.
This projected involved a participatory needs and opportunity assessment for communitiesí crop and pest management needs.
This project involved a needs and opportunity assessment study among ethnic minority communities and community-based organisations working in these communities. A study was conducted to identify appropriate research partners in Vietnam for follow-up participatory research and a training workshop was development and implemented for R&D practitioners on participatory research and dissemination approaches.
The project is expected to culminate in the formulation of a follow-up research and development program applying participatory approaches to target the crop and pest management needs of ethnic minority communities in Central Vietnam.
From 2009 to 2011 the CfCSC is supporting the University of the South Pacific in creating contextual communication and journalism courses.
This consultancy project is for a 3 year period and involves assessing the communication and journalism programs at the University of South Pacific. The recommendations aim to improve the content and delivery of the courses, and create more relevant content. The recommendations are in the process of being implemented.