19 May 2010

Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services

At the AIAEE Conference in Saskatoon, Canada, Dr. Burt Swanson, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, presented information about several new international outreach initiatives. The Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services was officially launched January 1st, 2010. This Forum builds on several previous initiatives focused on building more market-driven extension and outreach systems around the world. This includes the 2007 Neuchâtel Initiative.

The mission of the Global Forum is “to provide advocacy and leadership on pluralistic, demand-driven rural advisory services” as well as to facilitate more communication among extension-related services worldwide.

Located in Switzerland, the Global Forum is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the European Commission (EC), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the United States Agency for International Development. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Swiss Association for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas (Agridea) provide staff and host GFRAS, respectively.

Dr. Swanson also described a project he began, also in January of this year, to conduct a Worldwide Extension Study that will target public, private, and NGO extension organizations in more than 160 countries. This will involve an online survey with questions to identify human and financial resources, educational levels, numbers of extension workers, extension methods, gender mix, as well as links to farmer organizations. It is expected this project will take one year to complete. Dr. Swanson predicts there will be a stronger emphasis on extension-related projects and initiatives in the coming years.

story by Barbara Hutchinson

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home