Dr. Robert Agunga, associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership (ACEL) in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) has been awarded a grant for $455,239 from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The grant is for an international development research project titled, "Improving Agricultural Extension in Pakistan through Communication for Development.” The purpose is to pilot-test a communication strategy for improving aid effectiveness.
Agunga’s award was one of 14 projects awarded grants under Phase 7 of the Pakistan – U.S. Science and Technology Cooperation Program and 220 proposals reviewed for funding in 2017.
This project, which seeks to improve agricultural extension in Pakistan through communication for development is in partnership with Pakistan partner, Dr. Badar Siddiqui, head of the Department of Agricultural Extension Education at the Pir Mehr Ali Shah (PMAS) Arid Agriculture University at Rawalpindi near Islamabad, Pakistan.
“As a department, we are very proud of Dr. Agunga for this grant award, but mostly for his work in improving agricultural extension in Pakistan and the lives of its citizens,” said Dr. Tracy Kitchel, professor and chair in ACEL. “As a land-grant university, we connect the university to the people of Ohio, but when we do international work like this, it’s an opportunity to connect Ohio to the world.”
The project is aimed at finding a strategy for improving the effectiveness of international development aid. Success will require the inclusion of communication strategists in development programming under the rubric of Communication for Development (C4D), an emerging science aimed at addressing human dimension elements in development, such as participation, integration and capacity building. This new cadre of development professionals is currently non-existent and will be trained.
In this project, Agunga and his Pakistani counterparts will implement a social science-based, Master’s degree program in “Communication for Development” (C4D) at the university level to improve development performance and strengthen agricultural extension in the field by promoting participatory development strategies.
ACEL prepares communicators, educators and leaders in the food, agricultural, and environmental sciences to integrate research-based learning, practice and engagement, in ways that will advance positive changes that strengthen individuals, families and communities. For more information on the academic programs and research available in ACEL, please visit acel.osu.edu.