News and Update

CFP: Digital Communication for Agricultural and Rural Development

Call for Proposals

We are requesting contributions to the upcoming edited volume, “Digital Communication for Agricultural and Rural Development: Participatory Practices in a Post-Covid Age” to be published by the Taylors and Francis. The volume will be co-edited by Dr. Ataharul Chowdhury, University of Guelph, Dr. Gordon Gow, University of Alberta and Dr. Helen Hambly Odame, University of Guelph. We are seeking contributions from established and emerging scholars and practitioners of communication for development and social change.



Participation and participatory research and development processes are fundamental to communication for development (comdev or C4D) and communication for social change (CfSC) scholarship. Over the past five decades there has been a variety of theoretical approaches, practice-based studies and knowledge bases (e.g. Servaes, 2018; Waisbord, 2018; Melkote & Steeves, 2015; Manyozo, 2012a; Thomas, 2014; Wilkins et al., 2014; Gumucio Dagron & Tufte, 2006; Gumucio Dagron, 2001) that highlight participation as an essential component of inclusive development processes. Over the last decade, we have witnessed many good practices, principles and experience, especially using various digital tools, such as video, radio, internet, collaborative and social media (see Servaes, 2018 and Waisbord, 2018) to harness the benefit of mediated participation and raise the voice of marginalized groups and enable their choices in the development projects.

The COVID 19 pandemic has revealed that digital technology and mediated participation are important and essential in managing  C4D projects. However, it has also underscored the various challenges associated with digital participatory practices. For example, the rapid shift to exclusively online communications has presented difficulties for undertaking community engagement activities, leading to further exclusion of marginalized groups, including households and communities with limited access to digital technology.  As remote communication increasingly displaced face to face contact during the COVID 19 pandemic, researchers and practitioners have been forced to reconsider the very concept of participation. How has  community engagement within C4D and CfSC initiatives transformed, and why does it matter?

This book aims to collect and present insights from scholars and practitioners around the world on the impact of COVID on participatory communication and rural development practices. It will consider how the concept of participation has been transformed by the realities of the pandemic, reflecting on essential principles and practical considerations. It will also look at techniques and approaches adopted and adapted in response to the constraints imposed by lockdowns and the necessity of shifting C4D and CfSC initiatives to exclusively remote interaction. The goal in gathering these insights is to consider what these lessons entail for the future of participatory processes.

Chapters for this Edited Volume will be between 5000-7000 words and will be organized into the following broad areas

Part1: Reflecting on the Participatory Paradigm in Rural Communication Studies

In this part, we will include contributions that focus on historical and theoretical debate of participation rooted in the C4D and CfSC paradigms. The section will also cover contributions that focus on conceptualizing participation in a digital setting, particularly in rural areas.

Part 2: Critical Perspectives on Digital Participation

This section will include contributions that examine critical perspectives on digital participation in agriculture and rural development as we enter a post-COVID era. The chapters will focus on contemporary and emerging challenges, for example social and ethical issues related to deploying online platforms, partnership and civic participation for internet infrastructure, online polarization and marginalization due to emerging threats of misinformation.

Part 3: Practices, Experiences, Cases and Tools

This part will include chapters that focus on experiences, cases and tools related to digital participation. Chapters will cover a range of experiences related to the continuity of C4D and CfSC activities during COVID 19 disruptions. The chapter authors include practitionerreflections on lessons learned as well as what we might expect for enduring changes to participatory practices as the  pandemic becomes an endemic, and beyond. 

The following is a list of potential topic areas:

·        Theoretical and Conceptual Discussions on Participatory research and development in agri-food, natural resource management and environmental communication, with a focus on implications for digitally medicated/remote communication.

·        Critical perspectives/experiences/tools/methods related to use of digital media (e.g. social and collaborative media, internet tools and platforms etc.) and traditional media (e.g. radio, video)  for knowledge mobilization, agricultural extension and advisory services in areas of agri-food, nutritional and environmental changes and development.

·        Critical perspectives/experiences/tools/methods related to use of digital media (e.g. social media, internet etc.) and traditional media (e.g. radio, video)  for co-creation, co-design and public engagement in areas of agri-food, nutritional and environmental changes and development.

·        Critical perspectives/experiences/tools related to citizen science, crowdsourcing, and open data initiatives in in areas of agri-food, nutritional and environmental changes and development.

·        Digitally mediated/Remote communication practices that address equity & inclusion and anti racism, Indigenous issues, labour, etc. in areas of agri-food, nutritional and environmental changes and development.

·        Suggest an idea!

Submission Instructions:

Please send a 250 word abstract proposal by December 24th, 2021 to Ataharul Chowdhury  

In the subject line of your email, include:

                 Digital Communication for Agricultural and Rural Development!

In the body of your email include:

·        Chapter title

·        Section you are submitting to

Part 1: Reflecting on the Participatory Paradigm in C4D

Part 2: Critical Perspectives on Digital Participation; or

Part 3: Practices, Experiences, Cases and Tools.

Name of author(s), title(s), institution(s), & email addresses.

             We will send out confirmations by January 30, 2022

             First draft of the chapter is expected by June 19, 2022.


GNF and IAMCR Rural Communication Webinar Series Part 1

GNF and IAMCR Rural Communication Webinar Series Part 1. Please see the details below:

Date: December 3, 2021 at 10 am ET

Register here

As part of the SSHRC connection grant, Global Networks Forum on Communication for Agriculture, we organized a series of webinars in the last year with established and emerging scholars and practitioners of communication for development and social change from regional and global networks, such as Collaborative Change Communication for Development (CCComdev) the Rural Communication Group of the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), and Canadian Communication Association.

In collaboration with the IAMCR Rural Communication Group, we like to continue the webinar initiatives. In this part, we are happy to invite Fred Campbell, the Founder of Ryakuga–a non-profit that facilitates grassroots communication and social change. In December, 2020, Campbell registered Ethical Journalism as a new Canadian nonprofit. In this presentation, Fred will discuss their work to build the seventh wave of participatory development support communications for community sustainability in rural Newfoundland, Canada .

Forum Discussion: What’s holding up advancing agricultural advisory services

We are happy to introduce a forum discussion series on different aspects of agricultural advisory and extension services. It is an excellent opportunity to learn from our speakers and contribute to the discussion, ‘What’s holding up advancing agricultural advisory services?’ Please see the details below:

Date: April 9 2021

Register here

More about the series

Speaker’s Profile

Dr. Chowdhury Joined the Editorial Advisory Board, Media Asia

The School of Environmental Design and Rural Development is pleased to announce that Dr. Ataharul Chowdhury joined the editorial advisory board of Media Asia.  This is a quarterly journal published since 1974 by the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) and Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. The board includes several other scholars, such as Sarah Cardey (U of Reading, UK), Srinivas Melkote (Bowling Green State U, USA), Eunice Barbara C. Novio (Vongchavalitkul U, Thailand) and Paromita Pain (U of Nevada Reno, USA).

Webinar: Rethinking Participation in the Digital Age of Communication for Development and Social Change

We are delighted to organize our upcoming webinar on Tuesday, 10 November 2020, 9 am to 11 am EST. The event will be organized as part of the “Global Network Forum Webinar Series: Rethinking Participation in the Digital Age of Communication for Development and Social Change.” For more details please click here.

The registration link is available here. You will find the meeting link at the end of the registration form, and we will also follow up with you and provide the meeting link before the event. 

ICTs and Social Media for Agricultural Advisory Services

ICTs and Social Media for Agricultural Advisory Services

The role of agriculture has changed over the last decades—once which was only to feed population—now it became more multifunctional and multi-actor processes with involvement of many global and local stakeholders, such as farmers, processors, and markets. Whether it is farmers or advisory agencies or food safety professionals, these stakeholders must play their roles and perform their functions efficiently to ensure that the sector meet a crucial responsibility to support lives and livelihoods.

Agricultural advisory agencies and advisory agents have been increasingly utilizing technology, such as ICT and social media, in performing their duties to facilitate learning and change in farms. ICT is a term used to denote all the technological channels through which people can reach out to each other and share information.

Agricultural extension officers in many parts of the world have adopted social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, blogs and microblogs, online forms, videos, podcasts and many others to communicate with farmers and share beneficial information. In Ontario, advisory services have been relying on various remote, virtual and web-based tools to facilitate information dissemination. Ultimately creating stronger, more informed local food systems start with fostering collaboration, communication and participation in the industry, and ICTs can help us to achieve this. Prof. Ataharul Chowdhury and extension experts at the University of Guelph and colleagues abroad investigated the use of social media for agricultural extension in other jurisdictions, such as in Bangladesh and Trinidad and Tobago. To know more about, please visit

Pandemic gives a digital push to agricultural advisory service and marketing of farm produce in India

Agricultural advisory services in India have gone digital during the COVID-19 pandemic. Farmers find it difficult to visit their farm extension service centers called “Agriclinics,” which supports e-marketing. Through a pluralistic approach, it has come up with different digital platforms to provide advisories to farmers through video conferencing by connecting them with advisors. Department of Agriculture has collaborated with the ICT department to provide assistance to farmers through a common platform called Common Service Centers (CSC), a platform that offers video conferencing and other facilities to farmers. With this, farmers could visit their nearby CSC and get diseases, pests, and insect-related advice from an advisor through a video call. Under this initiative, farmers are getting e-marketing facilities called “Kisan e-Mart,” which allow both buyer and seller to negotiate their desire price for a particular product. As a result, digital agricultural services are even benefitting the agricultural sector during this COVID-19 pandemic.

(Source: Times of India)