Alumniverhaal

Zefirinus – Agricultural Extension Officer

Zefirinus works as an Agricultural Extension Officer in Indonesia. In this job one of his tasks is to transfer his knowledge and skills to local people. This is not always easy but he likes the interaction with the farmers.

I chose to study Development and Rural Innovation, because it answered my difficulties in applying technical knowledge, especially for rural people.


What are your tasks as an Agricultural Extension Officer?

"I work for the local government of the East Flores District in Indonesia. In my job I am responsible for 150 extension workers and more than 1000 farmer units in this district. My main duties are providing materials, monitoring and evaluating extension processes. These processes focus on behavioural and non-behavioural aspects of agriculture.

Another task is collaborating with villagers to build an effective extension programme. In this we combine traditional culture, technology and gender aspects."

And what do you like about your job?
"It is full of interaction with farmers. I try to change the old method of extension, which was very formal, into an informal approach. I contact farmers using a personal visiting programme, group meetings and mass media. And we even have access to the local radio to communicate with farmers. Still, working with such a large number of people in a highly complex context is not an easy job."

What challenges do you encounter in your work?
"I notice that we often think that the technical knowledge and skills that we learn at university are sufficient to answer farmers’ problems. In reality it is not that easy to transfer knowledge and skills to local people who have limited educational background."

Are you still happy with your choice of study?
"I chose to study Development and Rural Innovation, because it answered my difficulties in applying technical knowledge, especially for rural people. The programme is very interactive. I learned how to understand the dynamics of communities and human practices. Many of the courses were very useful for me and I still practice the knowledge that I gained in my daily job."

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