A graduate student seminar in International Agriculture and Rural development that engages students in the development of training modules for rural self‐help groups in developing countries. These groups are engaged in learning new strategies to overcome extreme poverty and ensure healthier and more productive lives for their families.
Students gain hands on experience designing modules that use principles and practices to enhance learning outcomes for adult learners. Students in past classes have developed modules to help group members master the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to: (i) collaborate effectively with one another and with others; (ii) develop a market‐oriented approach to agriculture or other small enterprises that is based on sound business principles; (iii) evaluate innovations and draw evidence‐based conclusions about their effectiveness; (iv) reverse natural resource degradation and increase food production without undermining future resource productivity; and (v) provide a healthy diet for their families.
Modules developed in the class need to be applicable to groups in diverse settings and need further adaptation to meet the needs of groups working under variable economic, political and environmental conditions. Students who enroll in the class have the opportunity to travel to a developing country--as a team-- over the summer. The team works closely with grass roots development organizations and farmers’ groups to adapt the modules to their local context.
My outreach and extension activities focus strongly on capacity building activities with organizations working in Africa in the areas of sustainable agricultural development and poverty reduction. I collaborate with research and development professionals from international, national and local organizations, providing technical assistance and analytical support particularly in the fields of low external input agriculture, pest management and experiential learning approaches (for students, farmers and development professional) to improve learning outcomes.