Background In order for farmers to learn and use new agricultural information the process requires open dialogue among various stakeholders. Dialogue enables research and development (RD) organisations to exchange knowledge and skills with farmers who have concerns going beyond economic gains. This research was done with the rice and sweet potato farmers in selected rural communities in Papua New Guinea. I wanted to learn about their problem situation and to look at ways to improve access to agricultural knowledge. The question addressed was whether the use of rural peoples’ knowledge would increase their participation in development projects. Objective To build capacity of rural farmers to

(a) Share relevant local knowledge with Research and Development organisations

(b) Exchange knowledge and skills using local resource people and local channels ofcommunication within and between communities.

(c) Use local language so that minority groups can participateMethod The research was qualitative and used systems thinking, action andparticipatory action research. Data was gathered initially through participantobservation followed by informal discussions. During the second and third phase I usedparticipatory rural appraisal methods and two workshops. Each phase of the studyrequired reflections on the stories that were emerging with the opportunity for furtherplanning, action and research.Results There were three major findings:

1 Research and Development organisations to establish a dialogue for mutual learningwith the rural households.

2 Reliable interactive groups with community goal create conducive environment forsharing and using knowledge.

3 Language used to communicate is relevant in the learning process.Conclusion Research and development organisations need to move beyond justdisseminating information to negotiating appropriate strategies of exchanging knowledgeand skills. In consultation with the local people to establish an interactive process,facilitated by relevant outside organisations to implement effective inter and intracommunity exchange of knowledge.

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Interactive learning
Bridging different knowledge systems

Lilly Sar   University of Queensland

Christine King   University of Queensland

Janelle Allison   University of Queensland

Background In order for farmers to learn and use new agricultural information the process requires open dialogue among various stakeholders. Dialogue enables research and development (RD) organisations to exchange knowledge and skills with farmers who have concerns going beyond economic gains. This research was done with the rice and sweet potato farmers in selected rural communities in Papua New Guinea. I wanted to learn about their problem situation and to look at ways to improve access to agricultural knowledge. The question addressed was whether the use of rural peoples’ knowledge would increase their participation in development projects. Objective To build capacity of rural farmers to

(a) Share relevant local knowledge with Research and Development organisations

(b) Exchange knowledge and skills using local resource people and local channels ofcommunication within and between communities.

(c) Use local language so that minority groups can participateMethod The research was qualitative and used systems thinking, action andparticipatory action research. Data was gathered initially through participantobservation followed by informal discussions. During the second and third phase I usedparticipatory rural appraisal methods and two workshops. Each phase of the studyrequired reflections on the stories that were emerging with the opportunity for furtherplanning, action and research.Results There were three major findings:

1 Research and Development organisations to establish a dialogue for mutual learningwith the rural households.

2 Reliable interactive groups with community goal create conducive environment forsharing and using knowledge.

3 Language used to communicate is relevant in the learning process.Conclusion Research and development organisations need to move beyond justdisseminating information to negotiating appropriate strategies of exchanging knowledgeand skills. In consultation with the local people to establish an interactive process,facilitated by relevant outside organisations to implement effective inter and intracommunity exchange of knowledge.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

BACK TO TOP