Bringing together learning from two worlds: Lessons from a gender-inclusive community education approach with smallholder farmers in Papua New Guinea

Author: Barbara Pamphilon & Katja Mikhailovich

University of Canberra

Edition: Volume 57, Number 2, July 2017

Summary: Smallholder farmers are the backbone of food production in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Due to an increasing need to pay for schooling and health costs, many farming families are seeking ways to move from semi-subsistence farming to activities that generate more income. The long tradition of agricultural training in PNG to support the development of farmers has focused on technology transfer and on the production of cash crops. This form of farmer education has primarily benefited men, who typically control cash crop production. It has often excluded women, whose significant engagement in it is precluded by their low literacy, low education, family responsibilities and daily work on subsistence crops. This article examines the lessons learned from a project that facilitated village-level community education workshops that sought to bring male and female heads of families together in a culturally appropriate way in order to encourage more gender-equitable planning and farming practices. Through the development and capacity building of local training teams, the project developed a critical and place-based pedagogy underpinned by gender-inclusive and asset-based community development principles.

Keywords: farmer learning; non-formal education; gender equity; critical place-based pedagogy; peer education; developing countries

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This article is part of AJAL, Volume 57_2. The entire volume is available in .pdf for purchase here.

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