could choose from that curriculum based on their background and the situation in which they will be working.
The subgroup members also discussed the skills needed to reduce conflict, such as mediating or facilitating between parties or, at a greater level of involvement, negotiating settlements or resolving conflict. They acknowledged that acting in such roles requires an astute awareness of the conflict situation and how extension services could fit into it, and that such engagement could augment an extension agent’s agricultural mission or detract from it.
Peacebuilding can require not just additional skills but additional time, and if an extension agent does not have enough time for it, the activity will not be sustainable. Rather than being responsible for peacebuilding activities as part of their formal job responsibilities, extension personnel may need conceptual models that further peace in the course of their extension activities. They also may need the skills and knowledge to work cooperatively within customary institutions and processes for managing disputes at the village level.
The acquisition of skills that will enable agents to address problems in both agriculture and peacebuilding requires training, which, among other things, should enable agents to understand how their technical work helps resolve conflict. Subgroup members emphasized the importance of experiential training, so that extension personnel are applying useful skills even as they are learning them. Trainees also need opportunities to reflect on their experiences with others to build their skills.
The discussants made a distinction between skills required by local extension personnel and those required by donor organizations (e.g., central governments, international entities, NGOs) to make decisions about investment decisions (Table 4-1). The skills required by local extension personnel and managers in donor organizations often overlap but are sometimes distinct. For example, both local extension agents and donors need to be able to identify local partners, but extension agents need particular skills to interact with these partners effectively. The group agreed that distinction applies across all three areas related to capacity building: skills, legitimacy, and processes.
To be effective, extension personnel need to build legitimacy by fostering high levels of trust and credibility in their local communities, subgroup