INFORMATION IS POWER

(Photo credits to the owner)

Image result for farm field school philippines

“Kung gamay ray makahibalo pareho ninyo,

gamay ray mabulahan. Pero’g inyong isabwag

ang inyong nahibalo-an dire ngadto sa kadaghanan,

daghan pud kaayo ang mabulahan”

Possessing information is empowering.

With the advent of the internet and various endeavor of finding new and profound ideas, information are, without doubt, considered infinite, limitless.  While it can be found everywhere from TV, to internet access, to newspapers and other reading materials, to libraries, radio, research works, among many other sources, not all of these in are relevant and usable.  Even more, not all of these are easily accessible especially to larger portion of the population.

To simplify the complexity of the information issue, this discourse will make agriculture as an example and digest the matter in its simplest form, edible enough to be understood even to people who are not trained to do so.

For the purpose of simplifying, I will focus on selected variables such as the farmers, choice of crops, and production, then overlay them to the most challenging RESPONSIBILITY of bringing the correct information to the correct people at the correct places and time, COMMUNICATION AND ITS PROCESS.

—000—

The Message

The message is the reason of communicating.  It says it all.  It will be very helpful to ascertain that the message is clear, concise and easily understood.  Going on with this discussion, below is a simple example of a message.

“The direction of the national government is to give priority to agriculture, thus there is an on-going program for a massive rice production to toward food security and ensure sufficiency of food supply.”

The Sender

The sender is entrusted to relay the message.   It can be a person, a legal personality or an agency of government.  It is expected from the sender to learn and understand what the message is to avoid misunderstanding which will lead to chaos, confusion and mistakes.

The senders must and should deliver the What, Why, Who, When, Where and How.  In other words, the sender makes sure that farmers will be planting rice because it is necessary to food security and sufficiency of food supply.

Further, the sender shall have the responsibility of identifying who will do the what, and when and where it will be done.

Most importantly, the sender must and should explain all the processes, procedure and system on how to source out seeds, prepare, plant, grow, process, and market the rice, including therein inputs of technology and sciences of rice production.  Meaning, it is not enough to just tell but also equally important is how to do it all along the process.  Toward this end, standards are set and targets are defined.

 

The Channel

Channel is the means by which the message is relayed.  There are numerous available channels to tap to effectively and efficiently transfer the message with precision.  The challenge now for the sender is to choose the best possible way of cutting across distance and time to reach the intended recipient of the message.

In this case, channels may be:

  • Explaining in person by going through the networks of government structure, from national agency to regional offices, to provincial offices, to municipal, to the barangays, to the purok, to individual farmers/organization of farmers to the farm.
  • Making use of multi-media like TV, radio, newspapers, social media (Facebook), among others
  • Other advance or traditional means of relaying the message

 

The choice must be carefully made to make sure that the message is available and accessible in a timely and practical manner.

The Receiver

The receiver is the recipient of the message sent by the sender using the channel.

In this case, it is very essential that the farmers actually learn and fully understand the What, Why, Who, When, Where and How sent by the sender.  In other words, the farmers would really plant rice because it is necessary to attain food security and sufficiency of food supply.

Further, receiver shall be the right person to receive the message and knows what, and when and where it will be done.

Most importantly, the receiver must and should comprehend and appreciate the explanation of all the processes, procedure and system on how to source out seeds, prepare, plant, grow, process, and market the rice, including therein inputs of technology and sciences of rice production.  Meaning, it is not enough for them to just know and understand, but equally important is how to do it all along the process and apply them.  At this point, standards and targets are understood.

 

The Feedback

Feedback is the reaction, answer and response of the receiver about the message.  It can be thrown back through the channel used by the sender or other means appropriate to the circumstances of the receiver.

In the case at hand, the farmer shall or may provide the observation, recommendation, criticism, additional information, queries or demand for further explanation and reinforcement to persons, office or agency concern in sending the message.

For the sender, feedback is an opportunity for monitoring, evaluation, decision-making.  It is also an avenue of owning of accountability on the part of the sender whenever there are issues and concerns relative to the implementation of the program, favorable or otherwise.  For the keen and smart sender, feedback is bountiful sources of learning and replication materials.

The Barriers

In every communication process, there is always barrier.  It is unavoidable but manageable.  Barriers may be technological, physical, environmental and other factors which will hamper and/or distort all the elements in the communication process.

In this case, both the sender and the receiver should take the responsibility of managing barriers.  For example, if the farmers may not be comfortable of just reading brochure and other materials, they should attend seminars and training themselves.  Or, if physically the sender cannot personally go the field because the means of transportation is not available, the use of radio transmission as channel may be opted.

If and when all of these variables and processes are considered and done according to what they should be, then inclusive benefits are expected to be met.

—000—

Information, if not properly communicated, is inutile.  On the ground, majority of the farmers do not have access to right information, thus they are less competitive and competent in terms of production and marketing of their products.  By utilizing the communication process at its optimal potential, it will aid and support farmers escape away from the bondage of poverty.  In this case, it is making information as tool in poverty alleviation.

And the good thing is, sharing the right information through the optimum efficiency and effectiveness of the communication process is not only relevant, necessary, practical and timely to rice production and the sector of agriculture.  It is also applicable to entrepreneurship, services, agro-forestry, tourism, manufacturing, mining, among others.  The operative phrase here to is “share information”.

I cannot forget my sociology college professor when he was about to end his day’s lesson, he will say “Kung gamay ray makahibalo pareho ninyo, gamay ray mabulahan. Pero’g inyong isabwag ang inyong nahibalo-an dire ngadto sa kadaghanan, daghan pud kaayo ang mabulahan”

Overlaying the tested and tried process of communication in sharing the right information to the right people at the right place and at the right time will definitely promote empowerment to those who are less in life, the most vulnerable sector like the farmers as illustrated in this blog.  Further, it will give way to sustainability of development every person, society and government wish to achieve.  It furthermore promotes governance characterized by strong political leadership and genuine people’s participation.   At the end of the day, everyone will proudly say that service is indeed delivered to those who need them most.

Ending this discourse is asking To Whom This Article May Concern?  I believe, this is for everyone specially government officials, legislators, economic managers, government agencies, farmers, laborers, entrepreneurs, services providers, professionals, and anyone who believes in the empowering power of information.

Acquire and possess information and be empowered to live life to its fullness.

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