How would the global food system be different if agricultural education and nutrition were taught together? The green revolution, which brought widespread dissemination of agricultural inputs to developing countries through extension services, also brought not only increased grain yields in many regions of the world but also obesity. Since 1960, India’s wheat yields increased 7-fold, while their ranking went from 19th most obese country in 1975 to one of the top 5 most obese countries in 2014. Conversely, India remains one of the most hungry countries with one-fourth of the world’s malnourished people. Malawi also has a similar positive trend of increased obesity and persistent malnourishment.
“Once upon a time . . .” Setting the context and storyline is important, but promoters of human and institutional capacity development (HICD) need a strong punch line. Indicators are required: output, outcome, impact and process. Participants in the “HICD Storytelling Workshop – from design to evaluation and back again” – spent an afternoon identifying solutions for HICD challenges and developing indicators to tell the story of successes in overcoming challenges.
Agricultural education is a vital building block to developing well-trained human capital with contextually-relevant and globally-competitive knowledge and skills. Policymakers need to understand the importance of agricultural education, but how do you effectively tell the story of agricultural education in a way that compels them to act?
Arranging a meeting is a common way to connect with policy makers in many countries. In many cases, the person you meet face-to-face with is not the policy maker themself, but rather a member of their staff. This can seem disappointing, but your voice still can be heard by using the meeting time wisely to share why agricultural education is important to you, and why it should also be important to them.
It’s important in these meetings to come prepared. This is your opportunity to spotlight your program, campus, or investment. Think about what story you want to tell the policy maker, and come prepared with materials!
Those in the Agricultural Education and Training (AET) field know how burdensome policies can be when carrying out developmental projects. With rigid policies that delineate what an acceptable outcome should be, and with funding on the line, practitioners are sometimes faced with the difficulty of fitting their human and institutional capacity development projects and stories into an ill-fitting indicator box. On June 7-9, InnovATE convened a Symposium titled: “The Intersection of Policy and Practice to Strengthen Agricultural Education and Training Systems” at Gallaudet University in Washington DC. I attended this symposium with great expectations, and it did not fail to deliver. This symposium focused on youth development, cross-sector collaboration, gender, and private sector engagement.
Is it possible to develop and implement a regional certification program for ATVET teachers in Central America? This question, posed at a workshop at EARTH University conducted by Henry Quesada and John Ignosh in April 2017, raises concerns about the value of professional development for agricultural educators in Central America. Teachers and administrators are working to bridge the gap in updating technical and pedagogical skills, emphasizing the importance and value of continuing education to their governments’ Ministries of Education and Agriculture. The workshop participants concluded that there is a need for regional ATVET programs. At the InnovATE symposium, Quesada, Ignosh and Anny González (of the Central American Educational and Cultural Coordination (CECC) of the Central American Integration System (SICA)) presented the findings and proposed pathways to create ATVET programs for educators that are specific to challenges and opportunities for growth.