The RadCon Experience: ICTs and Rural Development in Egypt

There is no doubt that information through agricultural research is essential to improving food security and to allowing for resilient rural livelihoods.  To be useful, however, agricultural information must reach and be effectively communicated to farmers.  The experience of the Virtual Extension and Research Communication Network (VerCon) in Egypt proved to be successful in creating appropriate linkages between research and extension institutions, giving extension staff a wide array of support through repositories of agricultural information and extension material. 

The Rural and Agricultural Development Communication Network (RadCon), an innovative rural communication system, built on the success of the VerCon experience, diversified content and targeted a wider range of stakeholders, including farmers’ organizations, youth centers, universities, NGOs and the private sector alike.  The pilot project began in 2004 and ended in 2008.  Supported by the government of Italy and FAO, RadCon was based on the notion that Communication for Development methods and tools that integrate local media with new information and communication technologies (ICTs) are central to promote inclusive agricultural innovation systems.

Projects included two main components:

  1. Online agricultural rural development information and communication system
  2. A wide network of focal groups and village facilitators in seven governates of Egypt.    

RadCon enabled farm families and rural communities to address essential knowledge information for agricultural innovation and improved livelihoods. 

Key achievements of RadCon:

  1. An information and communication system that responds to all stakeholder needs related to agricultural and rural development, including resource-poor communities
  2. Improved agricultural information system linking small farmers, researchers and extensionists
  3. Information needs of rural population identified through participatory methods to generate technologies and content based on local knowledge
  4. Agricultural information and training modules produced considering the demands of the villagers
  5. Participation of rural communities as active users and providers of knowledge and information
  6. Rural people enabled to bridge ICT illiteracy
  7. Innovative extension approach suitable for rural development in Egypt

RadCon was implemented by FAO and supported by the Government of Italy