When farmers have a problem they often go and ask people whose job would be to help them with their issues. Having travelled a lot as a child, I was raised to always think critically and to keep the whole picture in mind. Over the years, gathering academic and practical knowledge in rural development inland and abroad, I realised how utterly important and interesting to me it is to get that nexus between natural and human dimensions right.
I believe RAS is one of these areas that are located right on this nexus. Besides people have different approaches to things - which indeed very often results in similar outputs. The challenge is to be flexible, open, to be able to let go and go with the flow. Individuals can easily overcome political, cultural, social, and economic barriers if they find something they have in common and if you let them do so.
I think a big part of the core causes of all our big global problems are to be found at our doorstep. I would try to start here. Besides, I strongly believe that if we talk about real sustainability, we have to consider economic sustainability too. Focussing on rural development only and not on all the factors that influence or are influenced by rural development. Contact Nathalie Ernst. I am an agronomist, specialized in plant sciences. The Swiss Government e. My job is to help choosing projects that are best suited. As a child, I spent most of my holidays in a mountain village in Valais.
Surrounded by stables in which farming families cared for their cows and sheep, I enjoyed taking part in their daily tasks. Curious to understand the world and its challenges I studied agronomy in view of engaging in development work. It was in Taiwan in the 90s, when I compared the huge cabbages farmers sold at the market with those in their home gardens, which were about half the size. In view of an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable agriculture, I would invest in bio-control of invasive species of weeds and insects.
These represent a huge burden for the management of the environment and farming, and otherwise require the use pesticides. We also teach sustainability within the Bachelor and Master courses. In our group we study how happy farmers and their families are. We also look at how good they treat their animals and soils. Because the better they leave the farm for their children, the happier the children will be. In many regions across the Horn of Africa, where I was born, there is a great potential for sustainable agriculture.
However, degradation of vegetation and soil has been a major challenge, especially in the last decades. My father told me that when he was young the region of Keren was full of trees and fertile soils. Very often solutions are already available. Recently farmers in Romania told me, how life was easier in the communist time. It would be nice to travel back in time to conduct RISE studies, and to compare these results with the current findings.
Co-production of agroecological knowledge, including the social levels of co-evolution; requiring collaboration between disciplines and with farmers. To increase food production, while conserving natural resources. My hypothesis is if the rights, opportunities and responsibilities would be clear, farmers would act more sustainably. Hence this would require both, sustainable framework conditions, combined with a healthy dose of agroecological education for those farmer communities who lost it. Contact Firesenai Sereke. My work covers quite a broad range of activities.
In winter, I am teaching our students the basics of plant nutrition and nutrient cycles on the farm level. From spring to fall, our working group is planning and implementing applied research projects in resource-conserving agriculture. I am examining the potential of legume cover crop species in organic field crop production. We want to find out, which plants can help the farmer to protect the soil nutrients while effectively competing against weeds.
My grandparents were farmers and my father often worked abroad when he was a young geomatics engineer. I hence learned at an early age about the importance of a good balance between field and office work. The first time I worked on a farm, I knew my path would lead into international agriculture. It is definitely the importance of always having a backup plan. During my field assignment in Moldova, I made the experience that the allocation of resources is most often far from ideal.
Whenever you ran out of gas or the weather forecast proved to be wrong again, you needed to have an alternative on hand. It was during my work experience in Azerbaijan. We worked in a rural area where the contact to the locals was quite limited. After two months, I crossed the border to Georgia for the first time. There was a young lady over the counter. I gave her my passport and she welcomed me with a broad smile!
I would invest the money into a scholarship program to allow educational opportunities for all class of talented youths. Internships in SMEs are a driver for knowledge and technology transfer and hence must be fostered as well. Access to finance is a main bottleneck for rural development. Opportunities in agriculture can be unlocked e. My background is in sustainable agriculture and cheese production.
For Caritas, I supervise and contribute to the design of development projects in Haiti with a focus on agro-ecology, reforestation, water-use efficiency, income generating activities, risk mapping and watershed management. I am setting up activities to support rural families living in very simple conditions. This support enables them to ease their daily life, be it by increasing and diversifying their agricultural production or by giving them an easier access to drinking water. As a teenager, I was shocked by the gap between rich and poor.
While studying international relations, I realized that it would hardly allow me to work on this gap. International agriculture made more sense. As industrialized agriculture is not viable in the long run, I specialized in sustainable agriculture. Our economic system grows.
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Meanwhile the number of people left behind is outrageous. Although we often talk about sustainability, our development follows an unsustainable path based on greed. We need to work towards a change of our lifestyle and mentality to enable the promotion of wealth for all. While setting up a potato variety trial in Mongolia, I lived on my own for some days in a Yurt.
For my feeding purposes, a local agronomist brought me some 10 kg of raw meat, with potatoes and onions. I struggled to keep the meat eatable and had learned about local food safety hazards when she came back. I would invest in education or a market-based approach. Low educational levels lead to widespread corruption and misery. Setting up proper educational systems such as vocational training is a must. If we look back, schools for domestic economy contributed to the development of Switzerland.
Context and Problems
Rural education and empowerment as well as health related problems are some of the main constraints. The attraction for urban areas can also hinder and compromise efforts towards rural development. Contact Vincent Schmitt. I am a social scientist with an interdisciplinary background, combining social anthropology, ecology and economics.
My area of interest is development cooperation. At AGRIDEA, my work currently focuses on participative methodologies, facilitation of monitoring and evaluation processes, food security questions and market development for small scale farmers. My work aims at improving chances of people to make use of good ideas they have. A variety of persons and incidents paved my way. One of the big chances in my live was the year I spent in Northwestern Argentina when I was All the new things I observed there made me wish to understand more, and they were also eye-opening back home.
Technical solutions that are not adopted are often a great deception, and so is socio-cultural understanding that does not lead to new opportunities. I think we should strive to work together in a more fruitful way across the limits of disciplines. As for the questions before, it is not easy to pick out one. But I loved to learn the often joking way of negotiation with traders in Western Africa that was finally also well received at the flea market in Basel Switzerland … If you had 1Mio Euro: In what kind of project would you invest?
I would suggest a project combining local knowledge with value chain development and extension. It is crucial that small scale farmers can develop successful products that work at the local scale, besides a possible cash crop. The project should build knowledge with the help of local extensionists, who would be trained in combining local knowledge with science. I very much agree with the factors that were brought up before in this interview round. Contact Angela Deppeler. I am an agricultural economist. After my PhD on production systems analysis in the Andes, I got strongly involved in method development for agricultural value chain and sector development.
In poorer countries, I help farmers, processors, retailers, government officials and other interested people develop business opportunities that are not only beneficial to them but also for consumers, the environment and the rural economy as a whole. As a teenager, I was struck by the big difference in wealth between rich and poor countries. This was my initial motivation to study agriculture. As I realized during my studies that poverty in many cases relates to unequal market opportunities, I specialized in agricultural economics. Motivated people and fruitful relationships are the basis for successful change — this is the most relevant area where we need to make a difference in our work!
Back in Peru, we did focus group research with wealthy consumers in Lima to define the marketing concept for yacon, a very healthy Andean root crop. The involved ladies were very excited about the product and its properties. But when asked about the price they would pay, the unanimous answer was that the price had to be low. I would work with interested retailers in Europe to position and promote little-known but highly interesting food crops grown in poor rural areas of developing countries. For that purpose, I would work to develop a sound communication and marketing strategy with these retailers on the one side, and create innovation platforms linked to these crops, on the other side, to set in place optimal production and marketing structures based on organic and fair-trade principles.
As urban areas tend to have big advantages over rural areas, it is most critical to get in place participatory processes that enable rural actors to develop shared ideas and activities that capitalize on existing resources and advantages. Contact Thomas Bernet. I am originally a biologist, specialized in genetics and biodiversity, but have spent most of my career working in international cooperation and development.
At NADEL I am responsible for coordinating the courses we offer in food security, agriculture and natural resource management. I work in a large school where we give classes to grown-ups who want to help people in countries where they do not have enough food, schools, jobs, electricity, clean water, and health stations like we do in Switzerland. My job is to make sure that some of these classes are about food, agriculture and ways to take better care of nature.
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When I grew up I had two key interests — travelling and being outside in nature. Biology was therefore an obvious choice when it came to studying. After an internship at an NGO working with food security and nutrition in Bangladesh, I was certain that I wanted to work in the area of international cooperation and development. You can work for a small or a big organization, but it is still people who need to make the difference! For my master thesis I lived six months in a rural, indigenous community in Oaxaca, Mexico, studying the use and classification system of the local Opuntia cacti.
I did learn a lot about cacti over these few months, but I also had a much bigger lesson about rural poverty. Sometimes, the lessons you never ask for are the ones with the greatest impact. I think it is impossible to address development, without stressing the need for education. At the same time, how can we really expect people to prioritize schooling when they fight to put food on the table every day — often without success? I believe that in a rapidly globalizing world, governance is often biased towards urban areas and it forces people living in rural areas, such as farmers, to adapt quickly or lose out.
To make it possible for people to live and prosper in rural areas, we not only need to ensure that food production is a stable and profitable occupation, but also that other income generating activities exist in rural areas and that the rural population has equally good access to basic services, such as schools, education and health care as in the cities.
Contact Linn Borgen Nilsen.
I am a biologist by training, specialized in entomology and agrarian ecology. First, I studied social behavior of termites, later on how to promote beneficial insects in agrarian fields and how to control pest insects by biological means. Now I am more a generalist and knowledge manager involved in many different fields within the work of KFPE.
I am managing the KFPE, trying to bring different people together and to keep the overview over all our activities. We are acting as an interface, bringing together different views, perspectives and priorities, to learn from each other and to generate an added value. I have always been interested in the processes of life. During my various research stays in Africa, I wanted to switch more to applied research fields biological control of insects. To bring people with different perspectives and priorities together can help them to start understand each other — it helps to create new things, to initiate mutual learning for change!
It is important to never give up and to repeat things again and again because staff changes within organizations. There I learned a lot about the cultural context, mutual respect, the importance of participation and inclusion, and about hospitality. On the other hand, I was shocked by the mind-sets and prejudices of many white people working there. I would invest in research partnership schemes that allow young researchers from the South to participate in international research endeavors. We must better include researchers from poorer countries, where research capacities are needed to tackle upcoming challenges and to become more independent.
Lack of purchasing power and education. People have no means to invest and very few possibilities to earn money which would help to change things.
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Missing access to markets, no infrastructure, no land rights and no access to land for women, little investment and support by governments etc. All these things and many others keep a big part of the population in a vicious circle of undernourishment and poverty. Contact Jon-Andri Lys. The goal of this governmentally funded and bilaterally steered research and product development programme is to contribute towards food security in the Indian context through innovative approaches supporting sustainable, climate resilient agriculture. My role is in some way analogous to the role of the conductor of an orchestra: I facilitate and coordinate the contributions of all the people involved to improve a crop and make every effort to generate a helpful environment, so we end up giving our best possible joint performance.
After many years in the pharmaceutical industry I seized the opportunity to work for a project in the Bolivian Highlands to support rural women in developing both the skills and the environment to create their own sources of income. This three year life-changing experience inspired me to search for a way to leverage my skills and experience in meaningful development cooperation. The investment of sufficient time and other resources in a face to face workshop at an early stage of the project to facilitate the elaboration of a joint vision and mission, the definition of and the agreement on clear outcomes and responsibilities substantially increases the commitment to and the success of the project.
Today we have a car for every two people in the United States. If that became the norm, in there would be 5. In China the per capita consumption of coal in towns and cities is over three times the consumption in rural areas. Economies, therefore, often become more efficient as they develop because of advances in technology and changes in consumption behavior.
And the increased consumption of energy is likely to have deleterious environmental effects. Urban consumption of energy helps create heat islands that can change local weather patterns and weather downwind from the heat islands. The heat island phenomenon is created because cities radiate heat back into the atmosphere at a rate 15 percent to 30 percent less than rural areas. The combination of the increased energy consumption and difference in albedo radiation means that cities are warmer than rural areas 0.
Cloudiness and fog occur with greater frequency. Precipitation is 5 percent to 10 percent higher in cities; thunderstorms and hailstorms are much more frequent, but snow days in cities are less common. Urbanization also affects the broader regional environments. Regions downwind from large industrial complexes also see increases in the amount of precipitation, air pollution, and the number of days with thunderstorms. Urban areas generally generate more rain, but they reduce the infiltration of water and lower the water tables. This means that runoff occurs more rapidly with greater peak flows.
Flood volumes increase, as do floods and water pollution downstream. Many of the effects of urban areas on the environment are not necessarily linear. Bigger urban areas do not always create more environmental problems. And small urban areas can cause large problems. Much of what determines the extent of the environmental impacts is how the urban populations behave — their consumption and living patterns — not just how large they are.
The urban environment is an important factor in determining the quality of life in urban areas and the impact of the urban area on the broader environment. Some urban environmental problems include inadequate water and sanitation, lack of rubbish disposal, and industrial pollution. The health implications of these environmental problems include respiratory infections and other infectious and parasitic diseases.
Capital costs for building improved environmental infrastructure — for example, investments in a cleaner public transportation system such as a subway — and for building more hospitals and clinics are higher in cities, where wages exceed those paid in rural areas. And urban land prices are much higher because of the competition for space. But not all urban areas have the same kinds of environmental conditions or health problems.
Some research suggests that indicators of health problems, such as rates of infant mortality, are higher in cities that are growing rapidly than in those where growth is slower. Since the s, many cities in developed countries have met urban environmental challenges.
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Los Angeles has dramatically reduced air pollution. Many towns that grew up near rivers have succeeded in cleaning up the waters they befouled with industrial development. But cities at the beginning of their development generally have less wealth to devote to the mitigation of urban environmental impacts. And if the lack of resources is accompanied by inefficient government, a growing city may need many years for mitigation. Strong urban governance is critical to making progress.
But it is often the resource in shortest supply. The lack of good geographic information systems means that many public servants are operating with cataracts. The lack of good statistics means that many urban indicators that would inform careful environmental decisionmaking are missing.
When strong urban governance is lacking, public-private partnerships can become more important. Some of these public-private partnerships have advocated tackling the environmental threats to human health first. Much of the research that needs to be done on the environmental impacts of urban areas has not been done because of a lack of data and funding.
Most of the data that exist are at a national level. But national research is too coarse for the environmental improvement of urban areas. Therefore, data and research at the local level need to be developed to provide the local governments with the information they need to make decisions. Certainly the members of the next generation, the majority of whom will be living in urban areas, will judge us by whether we were asking the right questions today about their urban environments. They will want to know whether we funded the right research to address those questions.
And they will also want to know whether we used the research findings wisely. Experts in the family planning sector have developed a set of evidence-based practices—known as Family Planning High Impact Practices HIPs —that improve family planning and reproductive health program outcomes. HIPs can also be applied in development programs that integrate multiple sectors at the …. New research indicates that family planning and use of maternal and child health facilities is positively associated with resilience.
Resilience has a range of definitions and operates at different scales. It is generally understood as the ability of an individual, household, community, or system to…. Environmental Effects of Urbanization Urban populations interact with their environment. Health Effects of Environmental Degradation The urban environment is an important factor in determining the quality of life in urban areas and the impact of the urban area on the broader environment. References M.