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Seminar Summary: Towards Inclusive Rural Communication Services, contributing to poverty reduction and the SDGs

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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently held on the 27th of June a  seminar entitled, "Towards Inclusive Rural Communication Services: Contributing to Poverty Reduction and the SDGs". This seminar is timely in that FAO recently aligned its strategic objectives with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There is an interest in reaching out to the rural communities, and in particular smallholder and family farmers face social, economic and environmental challenges and access to information can make a huge difference in allevieting poverty.


In 2014, FAO carried a forum on Communication for Development and Community Media for Family Farming which show cased the contribution of Communication for Development (ComDev) to save livelihoods of family farmers worldwide. This forum discussion addressed the need to promote Rural Communication Services (RCS). The present seminar is an exhibition of FAO to partner with academia, research institutions, governments, UN agencies and farmer organisations to ignite policy dialogue and collaboration in the Rural Communication Services.

FAO strategic objective 3 : Reducing Rural Poverty, seek to support governments in overcoming the hurdles to rural poverty reduction, and seek to do so in three broad outcomes:-

  1. Empowerment of the rural poor in gaining sustainable access to resources and services
  2. Improved access for the rural poor to opportunities for decent farm and non-farm employment
  3. Improved social protection systems

The challenge is to ensure that the RCS should help in meeting the outcomes of FAO's strategic objective 3 and the related SDG indicator(s).

Seminar Overview

The initial strength of this half a day seminar was organization of the seminar into specific thematic themes, comprised of presentation and panel discussions. About 4 thematic themes were:-
  • Towards inclusive RCS for poverty reduction and food security (Panel +Q&A)
  • Rural Communication: experiences and appropriations (Panel + Q&A)
  • RCS in the framework of the SDGs (Panel + Q&A)
  • Perspectives in RCS
In these seminars representation from FAO SP3, University of Queensland, AMARC, University of Reading. The where other FAO projects represented which included – Dimitra Clubs, CIO projects on Apps in developing countries, innovative RCS in RLC & NENA.
 
Selected presentations
 
RCS to target vulnerable groups and promote gender equality, by S Cardey ( University of Reading) - This thought invoking presentation focused on gender, ICTs and agriculture where the speaker noted that findings showed that new technology and innovation still benefitted man than women, they seem to lessen the work load of men and that no technology is gender neutral. There was however a lot of potential in the use of RCS to reach and leverage vulnerable groups' access to resources and equal economic participation.
 
Dimitra clubs empower rural women and men by C Monsieur - presented the Dimitra Clubs which is a participatory information and communication project which highlights the role of women and men as producers and builds capacities through information dissemination and exchange of experiences. Already 4 series of videos have been produced that illustrates the dynamic nature of the Dimitra Clubs and the impacts they can achieve. Listen to the recording of Dimitra webinar to learn more
 
Piloting ICT solutions for smallholders by C Alvarez - presented FAO's projects in app in agriculture in Africa. In this presentation Mr Alvarez also focused on the digital strategy that FAO CIO division has since developed. The presentation also focused on the services that are targeted for farming communities. read more
 

 

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