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Background

As the frontiers of agroforestry science advance, it is becoming increasingly necessary attractive to a wide variety of disciplines to incorporate it into their teaching and learning programmes. Agroforestry is seen as an effective land use system that can enhance productivity, improve livelihoods and provide environmental services. Thus, the social, economic and ecological considerations are being considered. This broadens the understanding of land use and agriculture as a whole, and contextualizes it in human development. For instance, Temu and Garrity (2003) observed that the introduction of agroforestry into educational programs has at times served as a platform for the entry of biodiversity and conservation education into agriculture. Agroforestry brings together knowledge from many disciplines, and this has both benefits and challenges. The integration benefits the breadth of knowledge but also raises some questions o­n whether agroforestry can be identified discipline of its own.

Currently, global education in agroforestry is highly varied. Discussions o­n agroforestry education are centred o­n which of the existing disciplines would be most suitable to host it. Generally, agriculture (and its various sub-disciplines), forestry and other land use sciences are used as platforms to launch agroforestry education. An overwhelming majority of institutions have introduced agroforestry into their education programmes, either as a separate subject or as topic in related studies. A few universities have established fully-fledged degree programmes in agroforestry.

A lively debate ensued at the 1st World Agroforestry Congress in Orlando Florida o­n the issues touched upon above. This culminated in a special side meeting o­n Monday 28th June, at which 21 universities and colleges interested in the subject and a representative of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) met to debate agroforestry education. There was a rich exchange of knowledge and experiences. Members present noted the development of agroforestry education networks in Africa (ANAFE) and Southeast Asia (SEANAFE) and their successes in coordinating agroforestry education. They concluded that there is a need to coordinate and share more knowledge and experiences at global scale, and to do this effectively; it was agreed to establish a global network.

Name

Global Agroforestry Education Network (in short GAFEN) OR There is hereby established a Global Network o­n Agroforestry Education (in short GANAFE). Although the rest of the document uses GAFEN, please substitute that with GANAFE or any other acronym you prefer.

Mission and scope

The mission of GAFEN is to enhance the benefits of agroforestry in meeting the needs of the farming communities by facilitating a global understanding and collaboration in improving the relevance and quality of agroforestry education.

The scope of GAFEN is to strengthen tertiary education in agroforestry worldwide by facilitating and supporting collaboration among education institutions and establishing and using synergies among the diverse institutions committed to agroforestry science, education and practice.

Membership

Tertiary education institutions, regional or national agroforestry education networks and scientific research institutions teaching or seeking to teach or advance agroforestry can become members of the network by writing an application letter to the Steering Committee of GAFEN. A dossier o­n the agroforestry activities of the applying institution should accompany the letter.

Objectives & activities

The objectives and activities of GAFEN are:

  • To enhance the quality and relevance of agroforestry education at the global scale
    • Strengthen the scientific base of agroforestry through graduate thesis research
    • Develop share teaching and learning objectives in agroforestry in the context of teaching and learning programmes in related subjects
    • Share information and debate curriculum structure and content
    • Share information and debate educational standards
    • Develop and share teaching and learning resources in agroforestry
  • To enhance the capacity of educators to deliver agroforestry and facilitate collaboration among them
    • Monitor and share trends in agroforestry science and practice
    • Explore and use distance learning opportunities
    • To manage an agroforestry education newsletter
  • To facilitate international staff and student exchanges
    • Promote sabbaticals for teaching staff to strengthen their experiences in agroforestry at advanced research institutions and with farmers
    • Promote student exchange among institutions
  • To enhance the profile of agroforestry education at the global scale and as a career
    • Link with and support regional and national agroforestry education networks
    • Represent the interest of educators in agroforestry at international institutions and forums
    • To produce a periodic directory of agroforestry education
    • Expand the horizons of knowledge for disciplines related to agroforestry

Interim governance arrangements

The group meeting in Orlando Florida appointed two persons, August B Temu (of ICRAF) and Michael Jacobson ( Penn State) to develop the basic tenets of the network, up to convening a members� general meeting. Members are invited to propose a structure for the network. Here is an idea. I have not ventured to describe all the possible responsibilities, because I believe we should start simple lean, then expand as resources become available. I invite ideas from all members.

network structure

By August Temu, Leader, Training and Education Program World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)

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