Farming for Change: A Participatory Integrated Curriculum Project
A group of scientists, farmers and staff from development organizations in Malawi and Tanzania put together an integrated curriculum on agroecology, climate change, nutritionand social equity. This training material was written in such a way that rural people with limited education can use it to teach other farming households ways to build more sustainable, resilient, healthy and equitable rural communities. A team of farmers, agricultural and social scientists, nutritionists, development organization staff, theatre & communication specialists met regularly in ‘virtual’ space, compiled literature held a week long participatory workshop to develop the curriculum outline. Team members contributed modules which were then integrated using a ‘soap opera’ format, along with participatory activities, visual tools, stories & drama.
Once a draft was completed, farmers were trained by other farmers using the curriculum in both sites, and then revised and re-translated based on farmer feedback. In Malawi, half of households had a “drama-enriched’ curriculum to test the impacts of drama in farmer-led teaching, an example of which can be found here: Malawi Curriculum Example.
The curriculum is meant to equip community development workers or ’mentors.’ It can be used by people with limited education, and includes people-centered learning; participatory methods encourage all who attend to teach and to learn from each other. Lessons incorporate stories, acting, and other participatory activities.
Lessons alternate between topics in the curriculum. In each of the categories, topics are covered sequentially. Categories and topics include the following:
- Learning and Teaching Approaches
- Nutrition: Basics; Dietary Diversity; Healthy Cooking; Special Nutritional Needs and Family Planning; Nutrition during Pregnancy; Breastfeeding; Complementary Feeding; Nutrition and Children’s Health; Recipes for Children’s Food.
- Inequality: Learning about Inequalities; Gender Inequality in Homes and Communities; Gender Roles; Work at the Home and Other Places; Relationships; Family Budgets and Food; Gender Inequality and Violence; What We Can Do about Gender-based Violence; Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
- Farming with Nature: Mixed Farming; Crop and Animal Diversity; Soil Health; Weed and Insect Management; Planning your Farm.
- Weather and Climate Change: Local Weather and Climate Change; Extreme Weather and Climate Change; Climate Change’s Causes and Our Future Climate; Farming to Reduce the Threat of Climate Change.
The Farming for Change curriculum is available in Swahili, Tumbuka, Chewa, and English. It can be downloaded from the link above; in order to access a download link, you will need to answer a few questions about your interest in the curriculum. The curriculum may be adapted and copied without requesting permission, if it is presented to users at no cost—but the curriculum’s authors would love to know where and how it is being used! Contact information is available on their website.