In the region, several initiatives are taking place around different dimensions and practices of Agroecology with SRI, organic farming, conservation agriculture, IPM, Agroforesterie, permaculture… A diversity of training materials is developed for smallholder farmers, e-learning teaching materials developed for higher education in Cambodia, farmer fields schools, experimental station dedicated to AE practices, university that focuses their teaching and strategy on AE …
Few examples of initiatives and stakeholders involved in the design and development of training/educational materials are listed hereafter:
- Agrisud, GRET and their partners developed handbooks and others resources in AE for smallholder farmers in Lao PDR and Myanmar, respectively.
- The Lao Uplands Sourcebook, Improving livelihoods in the Uplands of Lao PDR developed by NAFRI, NAFES and NUoL (https://ali-sea.org/online-library/).
- NAFRI and CIRAD, and their partners, developed a handbook in CA for smallholder farmers in Lao PDR.
- In Cambodia, a project (IPERCA) funded by the Agropolis Foundation pooled together the Royal University of Agriculture, the University of Battambang, Montpellier SupAgro, the General Directorate of Agriculture and CIRAD to develop e-learning educational materials in the field of AE and CA. Several courses and modules are developed (http://elearning.rua.edu.kh/) and institutionnal relationship was established between RUA and the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC) which has the leadership at the national level to provide technical support to others universities which want to design e-learning courses.
- ITC developed several e-learning courses and modules (13 courses, 8 departments) and ITC is linked with three national universities (RUA, UHS, NUM). ITC is also part of a regional network of Cyber University bringing together universities from Lao PDR (NUOL), Vietnam (HUST), Myanmar, and Thailand (Sripatum University). This group of universities along with Montpellier SupAgro can provide efficient support to others partners who are willing to develop training/teaching materials.
- Montpellier SupAgro has successfully developed a massive open on-line course (MOOC) in AE in French and English languages (https://www.funmooc.fr/courses/Agreenium/66001S02EN/session02/about). Montpellier SupAgro is also one of the partners of IPERCA project.
In addition, through the project Towards Agroecological Transition in South-East Asia (ACTAE) and the two main components Learning Alliance in Agroecology (ALiSEA, led by GRET, http://www.alisea.org) and Conservation Agriculture Network in South-East Asia (CANSEA, led by CIRAD), national partners from Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia are producing knowledge on a range of AE practices and systems. Most of these experiences and results could be translated into educational materials to be used as case studies addressing the different dimensions of Agroecology (technical, social/policy and academic/scientific).
As an example, GRET is promoting the use of Smartphone for farmers and development operators to produce technical videos that are, then, shared widely through Facebook & Youtube (example below)
Specific initiatives, funded by ALiSEA, are also related to produce training/educational materials in AE with projects in Cambodia (Khmer Online Meta-Network Agroecological Training, first module about soil fertility topics; NGO Vivre de sa terre) and Laos (FAG, Developing of Teaching & Learning Material in Agroecology in the Lao PDR). In Cambodia, as mentioned before, the IPERCA project designed e-learning materials (12 courses, 30 modules) in AE and CA for higher education programs with the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA) and the University of Battambang (UBB). In addition, a project funded through CANSEA/ACTAE (Agrarian dynamics in Laos and Cambodia, socio-economic and environmental impacts) produced two e-learning resources as case studies to be used by lecturers to complement the face-to-face teaching; they can be consulted through the following links with also an introduction to Conservation Agriculture: http://e-learning.rua.edu.kh/support-the-transition-to-agroecological-practices/.
These initiatives are promising and have to be connected through a common and collective strategy on how to give better access to training/education to smallholder farmers, development operators and students in the region. It could be an objective that could be endorsed by ASEAN members with the support of international players (Agreenium, USAID and others). In this dynamic, ALiSEA organized an event in Lao PDR (June 13th) to identify a coherent and collective strategy to design training and educational materials for different audience using a diversity of tools. The full proceedings of the workshop of this event are available through the following link (http://alisea.org/alisea-experience-sharing-workshop-review-of-existing-pedagogical-materials-andinitiatives-for-mainstreaming-agroecology-practices-in-laos-june-2017/).
There is a need to pursue the reflexion that was initiated during the previous event in Lao PDR with a series of questions/expectations that have to be addressed: – Which groups do we target among smallholders, development operators, lecturers …? – What objectives do we have for each group (technical, academic background on principles and concepts, case studies)? – What methods and training/teaching materials, based on context, should be developed for each group? – How projects results can be used to develop training/teaching materials? – What could be the place and role of the e-learning? Does the e-learning an appropriate tool to aggregate various tools (clip, content, pictures, activities, assessment…) and to pool together different stakeholders with different needs (technical, academic)? – Who will implement these approaches and activities? – Should a regional pedagogical platform be implemented to host the training/educational materials?
- To share experiences of keys stakeholders involved in the design and development of pedagogical materials;
- To identify initiatives and partners that could be involved in the development of first resources at the national or eventually regional level;
- To explore a common and collective dynamic for the development of pedagogical resources with keys stakeholders and means (physical, human resources and financial);
- A roadmap for the development of first resources in AE capitalizing on ACTAE’s initiatives (Alisea and CANSEA);
- Updated mapping/benchmarking of training/teaching initiatives in the region in AE.
The participants will come from different horizons with (i) universities involved in the development of educational resources with the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC), the National University of Lao PDR (NUOL), the University of Agriculture of Hanoi (Vietnam), Mae Jo and Kasetsart Universities (Thailand), University of Agriculture of Yezin (Maynamar) and SupAgro Montpellier, (ii) development operators and NGOs, (iii) research and development teams also involved in the development of training materials.