934312 Facilitating change for sustainable development (in Eng.)

Vorlesung und Seminar
Vortragende/r (Mitwirkende/r)
Volcic, Valerija , De Faria, Alexandre , Hauser, Michael
Angeboten im Semester
Sommersemester 2024
Unterrichts-/ Lehrsprachen


Change that brings about sustainable agriculture, fair food systems and human wellbeing has long been an important goal in international development. This course focuses on facilitating change within households, communities or food value chains. It conceptualizes change as the co-evolution of complex adaptive systems, underpinned by a selection of change theories and process models. Facilitators - such as agricultural advisory service providers - can mix these theories and models to help stakeholders to create change and impact pathways. Since all change is impermanent and context dependent – that is, dependent on interrelationships, interdependencies, interconnectedness – the course emphasizes the need for integration and for understanding the whole – for example the importance of:

- Broadening perspectives (multi-level, multi-stakeholders, across timescales) of all actors in agricultural development and related systems;
- Agricultural knowledge and innovation systems;
- The “we-identity”: actors’ sense of connectedness leading to ownership for development initiatives;
- Collaborative leadership and collaborative networks within and between farmer communities;
- Integrating internal as well as external factors (drivers) of change in sustainable development processes.

The course aims to acquaint future practitioners with the theoretical foundation for facilitating complex change processes in the field of agriculture and sustainable development.

Inhaltliche Voraussetzungen (erwartete Kenntnisse)

This course is the second out of three, offering students insights into the management of farm and food system transitions in complex environments of the global south. The other two courses are Livelihood system dynamics in rural development (934304) and Participatory methods in development research and practice (934317).


1. Recall conventional development models and alternative approaches.
2. Identify good learning principles for facilitating a change process with adult groups.
3. Understand the importance of group dynamics for facilitation processes.
4. Apply facilitation methods in the role of a “change facilitator”.
5. Debate on the challenge of translating program goals into real interaction.
6. Propose means to overcome barriers towards a new professionalism in agricultural development.
7. Organise facilitation methods into method families.
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