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The Essential Communication Channels in Rural Development

Updated: Jan 14, 2022

Hi! It's Sarah from business team :-) It's been a while since I published my last article. For the past two months there were some agendas going on, and I'd like to share one of the projects that I've joined. The project was last September,, together with Rikolto Indonesia conducted Waste Management Workshop for Livestock Feed in Bajawa, Flores. This Workshop aims to educate the coffee farmers in managing the coffee husk waste for livestock feed matters. This workshop was supported by the current conditions in Bajawa which are;

  • In Bajawa, even though there are vital crops such as cocoa, coffee is the primary source of income for most of the farmers in the area, the coffee production also generates a lot of coffee husk waste and most of the farmers have no clue there is a great potential for coffee husks with their subsequent reuse for livestock feed and the fact that they represent a commodity suitable for further exploitation.

  • Each householder in Bajawa has at least one domestic pig at their house, so the needs to nourish their pigs is high.

It took almost half day to arrive in Bajawa from Bali, 4 hours by plane and 6 hours by car. It was a long yet pleasant trip, the most enjoyable trip I've ever had. During the trip you will be amazed by the view of the most beautiful Archipelago in Indonesia, East Nusa Tenggara. I was nervous by the time I arrived in Bajawa, my main concern was how the Workshop can be well-delivered to the farmers in Bajawa. It was my first time assisting an educational workshop in rural area, so I think the key point of how to deliver the materials of this workshop was the way we maintain the communication with the farmers.

This project is one of the implementation phase of rural development. Rural development is often taken to denote development activities and initiatives that are taken by government, NGO, and communities with the objectives in improving the standard of living in rural areas. Dr. Ferlar Örs explained that agricultural development in rural area is a process whereby the farmers process modern knowledge and information. It is imperative for the farmers to have and accept the necessary technologies, innovations, and knowledge for rural development. Therefore, communication plays an important role in the process of rural development.

The communication bridges built between public institutions, private sector, rural organizations, and people, generate the opportunities to ensure shared knowledge and experience needed for rural development. team and Rikolto Indonesia invited the talented Veterinarian from East Java as the expert, Mas Gagang. He was the one who taught the farmers how to manage the coffee husk waste for livestock feed in a theoretical and practical way. We used two major channels to convey the innovations from Mas Gagang; information communication technology (ICT) and Face-to-face Communication. We collaborated those 2 channels to maximize the process of delivering the message to farmers.

  • Information Communication Technology (ICT)

The needs of rural people, including farmers, for information becomes more diverse and imminent. Rapid technological advancements offer new methods and opportunities to spread and share the information knowledge. Information is one of the most important tools and methods to create equal opportunity conditions. It is obvious that access by the farmer to the information in the electronic environment and their ability to establish communication will ensure the development in rural areas.

During the preparation and post workshop we utilize technology such as zoom meeting and whatsapp group, in order to track the progress of making livestock feed and ensure cooperation & coordination between us and the farmers. The lead of the farmer's community was the only one who has access to join our weekly zoom meeting. As a mediator to other farmers he is always enthusiastic in joining our zoom meeting. We discussed the technical systems that need to be prepared during the workshop by using zoom meeting. It does help us to simplify the discussion since we are all living in any different areas and islands, from Java, Bali, East Nusa Tenggara, and Sulawesi. We could get the information more easily regarding the issues that we need to avoid, by holding a workshop in Bajawa area. Aside from zoom meeting we also use a whatsapp group for daily communication and post-workshop we still communicate actively through the whatsapp group. Each time the farmers have issue about the livestock feed, we arranged a zoom meeting so they can show directly to us what the problems are.

Internet may help the farmers publicize their issues and problems, so they can get information on the recent developments that may affect their specific conditions in their areas. Zoom meetings and a whatsapp group are a form of remote education that is one of the benefits from ICT. Based on the research from ACET (African Center for Economic Transformation) said that there have been increasing on the use ICT on promoting rural development, there have been increasing awareness of the impact of climate change and its impact on vulnerable households and the discussions on consequences of globalizing agriculture and fair trade.

  • Face-to-Face Communication

Face to face communication is a type of direct communication between the source delivering the message and the party receiving it. In this type of communication, the message is delivered verbally, and the feedback is instant although it is relatively limited. In rural areas where traditional relations are prevalent, face-to-face communication is a commonly used method. It was such an honor to have an opportunity visiting the field and conducting Waste Management Workshop for farmer community in Bajawa. Face to face communication is one of the most effective yet challenging ways in spreading information and delivering messages to the audiences especially in rural area.

Luckily, Mas Gagang is well experienced in conducting workshops for the farmers, he could easily build the connection between himself and the farmers, so it was easier for him to deliver information and knowledge. He started the workshop with some jokes that are related to the farmers and presented the presentation in an attractive way. The starter was proven can gain the engagement with the farmers. In the face to face communication, the people who act as peers, friends, relatives, or opinion leaders are vital, that's why the communication skill to deliver the messages during this workshop is really important. Face to face communication is a significant part of this workshop, since it's not only theoretical but we also need to show the practical way to the farmers.

Communication between farmers and us is made possible by exchange of information and experience, and effective use of communication technologies and communication devices. It is imperative for the farmers to have and accept the necessary technologies, innovations, and knowledge for rural development. To this end, the role of both communication channels; ICT and face-to-face communication should be considered as an important opportunity in rural development and to maximize delivering important knowledge to farmers.

Thank you for reading! Namaste 🙏

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