My reflection paper on the above subject.
Having said that the extension’s goal is to induce voluntary change as Roling (1988) said, I believe that extension projects are not conducted to force people to accept the projects or the projects’ ideals. Rather, these are conducted to convince them of things such as sustainability and resource management and that is thru the use of communication. National goals such as the two previously mentioned including food security, increasing farm income, empowering farmers and promoting sustainable natural resource management practices (Swanson, 2010) are ideas that might be differently understood by clients such as farmers or they may have different views regarding it as Vanclay (2004) implied particularly in his Principle 9 when he said that “for farmers, sustainability means something along the lines of ‘we as a family, on our farm, in the future’”. This is different for example, with my view of sustainability which is having food until the future comes. Extension is a way for extension workers and clients to understand each other so that they may reach both their goals.
However, if extension workers want their clients to believe them, I believe that it is important to have a credible and honest personality. I believe that people positively respond with trustworthy people. Clients would be inclined to believe if extension workers possess these traits. This would lead to my next principle/belief which is the importance of getting to know what the client really wants. As extension also deals with behavior, I think it is important to be mentally and emotionally sensitive of the clients so that an extension worker would effectively discover their problems and what they really want to achieve. Vanclay (2004) said that “effective extension requires more than the transfer of technology, it requires an understanding of the world views of farmers”. It is important that the extension goals would be relevant to the needs and goals of the clients.
Another reason why understanding clients is important is because, clients are not homogenous e.g. farmers are different from each other as Vanclay (2004) said. Evenson (1997) showed in his FAO paper that research programmes (and extension programs) are not effective everywhere. An extension programme may be effective for Type 1a and Type 1b countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa but this may not be effective in a totally different region like in Japan or Korea. People have different views, situation, needs, knowledge and preferences; countries have different situations, economy-wise and resource-wise. Thus, their differences would require different extension designs in order for it to be effective.