How communities benefit
Because communities are partners in the change process they can gain many benefits from participating in an extension program. These benefits extend beyond the main purpose of the partnership.
Extension is an education process that builds the capacity of people to undertake change. An important part of the process is people working together to achieve a common goal. This provides people with experience and skills that can be used to deal with other important community issues.
What is a community
Extension is about influencing a community but what is a community?
A community in the context of extension is a group of people with a common interest or purpose. It could be a town, region, state or even a country.
In agriculture it often involves an industry or a group of industries and the people in a supply chain from the farmer to the marketplace where the goods are finally sold to consumers.
In natural resource management it may involve the people within a catchment or group of linked catchments such as the Murray-Darling Basin. Along coasts it could involve communities that impact on the coastal zone.
In the fishing industry it may involve fishers, their industry organisations and other associated businesses involved in the supply chain to consumers or businesses and government providing services to the industry.
When extension is used for dealing with social problems the community may consist of a group of people with a common challenge such as a financial problems, a pollution threat or increasing teenage poverty.
Some extension workers also work across whole industries in national roles so the people who work in the industry throughout the country are their community.
Benefits of being involved
Extension helps people to work together and take responsibility for actions that will benefit themselves and often their community. In doing so it reminds people of the important role they play in building a stronger community.
Extension provides many benefits for the people involved such as improved networking and better understanding of:
- The problems that affect them
- How their community works
- How to better use the resources available to them