ComDev Asia participated in the First Global Forum of the UNDFF 2019-2028 held on 19 to 22 September 2022. FAO HQ ComDev Team Leader, Dr. Mario Acunzo and ComDev Asia Facilitator and University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Development Communication Dean, Dr. Maria Stella Tirol, emphasized the importance of key role of rural communications services (RCS) in family farming during their presentation on the last day of the event.
In far-flung, rural areas where access to information is very limited, opportunities for the marginalized people, including the farmers, are deprived. Their knowledge to specific concepts, specifically about farming, are not that wide compared to those who have access to communication services.
Dr. Acunzo, emphasized ‘communication’ as an asset in family. According to him, ‘communication’ is a driver of rural transformations. He highlighted that family farmers and smallholders around the world, experience scarcity of information resources, specifically contents in their own languages. This phenomenon paved the way for institutionalizing RCS.
RCS promotes active community participation / mobilization by conducting communication activities and institutional arrangements to promote collective initiatives. It allows family farmers to have equitable access to information in remote areas.
Dr. Tirol seconded this school of thought by highlighting RCS examples done within the Asian region. These include SEWA Cooperative Federation’s digital interventions, Krishi Radio’s use of community radio in Bangladesh, and Digital Green’s community-based video approach in agriculture. She also spotlighted the three regional communication ComDev initiatives namely, Yenkasa Africa in Africa, ComDevAsia in Asia, and Onda Rural in Latin America – platforms for knowledge sharing and collaboration.
Dr. Tirol also discussed key recommendations that were drawn during the conduct of regional fora on RCS. This includes mainstreaming RCS into policies, supporting the National Action Plans, and giving adequate support to existing RCS in different regions.
Article contributed by Vincent Allen Fernandez, ComDev Asia intern & edited by Zane Cortez