Developing and Utilizing Needs Assessments to Enhance Farmer-Driven Extension Systems
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The module concentrates on addressing professional development needs of individuals involved with farmer-driven extension systems by developing competencies in conducting needs assessments. Extension workers serving farmers in developing countries need enhanced abilities in developing, disseminating, and evaluating educational programs. Developing an understanding of farmers’ needs is the first step in planning educational programs targeted to specific farmers. Extension systems that fail to accurately assess farmers’ needs will not be as successful in improving community sustainability as extension systems that do assess the needs of farmers. Improving the ability of extension systems to examine farmers’ needs benefits farmers, communities, and assists extension systems in accomplishing their organizational goals.
DescriptionMany organizations, institutions, or agencies conduct needs assessments to understand how they can serve farmers more effectively. Results from needs assessments may allow for organizations to set priorities when developing educational programs, allow the organization improve its credibility among farmers it serves, and provide farmers a sense of ownership in the teaching and learning process. This module is developed over a four day training in order for participants to be knowledgeable about how priority areas are defined, and what typical issues or problems that require educational programs. The main objective of a needs assessment is to gather information for setting priorities on needs of farmers. Data from needs assessments are used to set criteria for allocating resources and for developing new or improved programs or services to meet farmers’ needs. Case studies, handouts, group discussions, presentations, experiential and collaborative learning, lectures, and individual reflections are employed to teach this module. An evaluation is provided at the conclusion of each section within the module. Participants will develop each needs assessment technique addressed in this module by the conclusion of the fourth day and be able to implement that technique in their respective community.
DepartmentAgricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications
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