Further Education and Moderation in Rural Development
AGRECOL Seminars GbR is an educational organisation for the further education of professionals working in rural development. Since 1986 we have been running workshops for organisations including, the German Development Service (Deutsche Entwicklungsdienst, DED) and the German Society for Technical Co-operation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit, GTZ). Our best known seminar is the twelve-day workshop "Agricultural Development and Resource Management", and has to date taken place over 40 times, and been attended by over 800 development workers. An additional focal point of our work is our specialisation in individual aspects of rural development (see below).
The aim of our work is …
… to increase the personal and professional qualification of rural development experts. Through their participation in our workshops these experts are empowered to:
- place their own special discipline more clearly within the context of interdisciplinary work
- improve their ability to recognise the existing potentials, and solve the current problems, in their daily professional practice
- upgrade their capacity for strategic and conceptual thought and negotiation
- deepen their competencies in extension and communication, in both an intercultural context and with their partners, and
- bring their professional qualification up to date
Work in rural development is subject to a high degree of pressure for both the services provided and the perceived rate of success. The tasks are often very complex and subject to a strong dynamic. In this context we see our work as providing assistance to ensure that the challenges of the job can be met.
Our further education offers are aimed at …
... everyone involved in rural development and environmental protection. With this we do not simply mean experts in the fields of agriculture and forestry. We are also thinking of experts in the fields of economy, anthropology, pedagogy - in fact everyone working in the rural environment. Interdisciplinary groups are particularly sought after, and the curricula oriented to them accordingly. Similarly, we like to work with groups of participants from different governmental and non-governmental organisations and of different nationalities.
An important concern of ours is to raise the awareness of intercultural communication and gender differentiated approaches. Apart from the workshops explicitly dedicated to these themes, we also give them a particularly high significance in general.
Some of our workshops are aimed at German speaking professionals engaged in development co-operation who, either as preparation for a new assignment or during their holidays home, appreciate the opportunity presented by the training courses. These courses are offered in Germany.
The second domain covered by the training courses we offer is for the local staff of development projects, as well as governmental and non-governmental organisations in partner countries. These seminars are offered, on request from the partner countries, in the three international languages of English, French and Spanish.
The training courses we offer do not aim to simply transmit basic principles, but more importantly aim to stimulate learning, offer the possibility for the exchange and circulation of professional experiences, establish interdisciplinary connections within development co-operation and open a broader horizon to the participants involved.
Our perception is that professional experiences can best be transmitted using concrete examples from project work. We therefore put case studies to the fore. The case studies can either be brought by the participants themselves or chosen specifically according to their interests. Complementary to this, technical principles and methodological approaches are also given, with inductive, participatory working methods being used.
To ensure that the participants acquire new knowledge, and debate and develop their professional experience, we place a great deal of emphasis on varying our working methods (using presentations, group work, role plays, practical exercises), and achieving a harmonious balance between listening and working, presentation and discussion of the results of the work, and finally between theory and practice.
Our range of themes embraces ...
... both the contents and the methodology of the development of rural areas. Therefore, we try - wherever possible - to interconnect these, as the applicability of individual methods can only be recognised when placed within the thematic context. The thematic focal points of our work are:
- Resource management, sustainable agriculture and forestry
- Ecological cultivation (production, certification, marketing)
- Organisation and methods of agricultural extension
- Action research and participatory technology development (PTD)
- Participatory methods in the project cycle
- Gender differentiated approaches and strategies for the promotion of women
- Organisational development of non-governmental organisations
- Income promotion through savings and credit
- Setting up business in the informal sector and small business promotion
- As a result of our long standing experience in further education we also offer as services:
- The formulation of new concepts for further education and
- The moderation of professional meetings, workshops and seminars
This is not an exhaustive listing of our fields of interest, but should serve rather to give an impression of the services we offer. We do not offer any standard seminars. Our range of seminars are aimed at specific target groups and are tailored to suit their needs.
Who are we?
We are a team of professionals who, through many years of overseas experience, have become specialised in our field, while at the same time having vast experience in seminars. Our activities in projects help to orient the training of other professionals towards the current challenges of their work, to ensure that this training remains topical, and to provide them with up to date case studies.
In addition to this team, AGRECOL Seminars has a wide pool of professionals it can call upon according to need and availability.
Dr. Johannes Kotschi