Reaching the people through extension publications
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CTA. 1992. Reaching the people through extension publications. Spore 42. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45866
Writing, editing and designing extension publications was the theme of a one-week workshop held in Port Vila, Vanuatu, from 11- 15 May 1992
Writing, editing and designing extension publications was the theme of a one-week workshop held in Port Vila, Vanuatu, from 11- 15 May. The workshop was conducted by the CTA Regional Branch Officer based in Alafua and was coordinated by the Vanuatu Department of Agriculture. South Pacific islands, in common with many other ACP countries, face a problem when it comes to agricultural publishing: the lack of trained writers and editors. As a result, much of the valuable research carried out by national agricultural research systems does not reach people who could use it: health, rural development and extension officers. who could turn this knowledge into practical guides; scientists, who could build on work carried out, and farmers and households, who need new knowledge to improve their current practices. The workshop attracted participants from agriculture, health and education departments. Topics covered included writing techniques, building forceful sentences, capturing readers' interest, writing for different audiences, publication design and an introduction to desktop publishing. Participants were given exercises on how to write concisely for effective communication. Individual projects ranged from the production of a leaflet on how to recognize and treat diarrhoea to the preparation of a pamphlet on coconut replanting. Participants were reminded that extension publications compete with other publications for the readers' attention and that it is important to be precise if extension messages are to get through to the reader. Participants joined the course with minima or no formal training in communication skills This is a reflection of the policies of the agricultural colleges in the region, where the emphasis is on the teaching of science subjects with very little attention being paid to communication skills. Most ministries c agriculture in the region publish a regular departmental newsletter and there is clearly a need to improve the communication skill of producers of these extension publications. Field trips were organized to the Gurriculum Development Unit of the Ministry of Education to observe post-production processes and to the Information Unit of the Agricultural Department for hands-on experience in publication design.