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From agricultural extension to capacity development: exploring the foundations of an emergent form of practice

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This essay argues that capacity development is a response to changes in the organization and practice of agricultural extension as these changes have excluded small resource farmers. In this essay I trace the changes in the organization of agricultural extension through to the emergence of the concept and practice of capacity development. The idea of capacity development is then examined as presented in the existing literature where it is concluded that capacity development is a somewhat vacuous concept. It is then argued that capacity development needs to be understood in the context of an emerging participatory worldview. The foundations of this participatory worldview are then articulated, including the dimensions of a participatory epistemology. The concept of capacity development is then revisited examining the implications of this new worldview for the practice of capacity development followed by the conclusions.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Guelph, Canada

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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