I really didn’t expect to get back to Chile – or at least not so soon! As you will see from an earlier blog, I travelled there to work with the dairy industry on the subject of “extension” in 2010. I had thought it was a nice ‘one-off’ opportunity and enjoyed it on that basis. Then I found myself back – this time running a more formal extension training course that I developed “ Camino a la adopcion – Extension de formacion” – or “Pathway to Adoption – Extension training”. Of course, I didn’t do the translation! – that was organised by the Consorcio Lechero who brought me over. This organisation plays a coordinating role across the value chain within the dairy industry – and saw a need for improved extension approaches if Chile was to make the gains they wanted in the dairy industry.
And, of course, my one or two words of Spanish were not enough for me to deliver the course in Spanish! So I worked with an excellent young Vet who mirrored my enthusiasm for the topic! Although by the 3rd day we were both quite worn out! I was pleased to find out that despite the differences between our countries – and our extension experiences and thinking – most participants really appeared to get something out of the course. Naturally I ran it in an “adult learning” fashion which meant the focus was on how the course material related to their own work – and how their work informed the course. Go the adult learning approach – it works!
I did manage to have a little bit of a look around Chile again – and found Puerto Montt a particularly interesting seafront to visit! I also got back to Puerto Varas – a favoured holiday destination for Chileans (and where the conference was held last year).
Meanwhile, back in Australia over the last months, Amy, Ben and I – and our chief interviewer Liesel – have been flat out on a range of projects. It has been a rather busy year and by the demand, it would appear that project evaluation is continuing to be focus a around the country! And the interest in extension and extension training is also on the rise – not just in Chile, but also Australia. I once wrote in a paper that “extension was the oil that made things happen” – and it is proving to be the case. If you want research and policies to be relevant, you need to be proactively engaging with the relevant communities!
Who knows – I may find myself back on Chile again. I had better brush up on my Spanish! Hasta luego!