WHO WE ARE?
Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology
The Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology (DAERS) has three key mandates namely Teaching, Research and Community Service. In this regard, the Department was established with the recognition that it would, in cooperation with other Departments in the Schools, play an important role in training extension staff and providing adequate community extension services that would help to bring about improvement in agricultural production and improvement of the living standards of the rural community inhabitants in Sierra Leone.
The department considers these three key mandates as the land-grant model that provides the essential linkages and services between the researchers and the farmers. The goal of the department is to mentor and produce graduates with the requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes in the agricultural development process, and those who possess the competence to transmit effectively such skills and knowledge to farmers and other Value Chain Actors. Based on its mandate the departments has an extension outreach unit, which is solely responsible for community outreach and extension services.
The goal of the department is to mentor and produce graduates with the requisite knowledge, skills, attitudes and competences to address/solve field-level problems of farmers and other Value Chain Actors in the agricultural sector in Sierra Leone.
The Objectives of the Extension Department
The department of extension is charged with the following objectives:
The objectives of the department are stated as follows:
- To train students to develop mastery of the concepts, principles, theories and skills in agricultural extension and to transmit improved practices to farmers and other value chain actors effectively.
- To enhance students’ ability to work with farmers and value chain actors to identify field-based problems and design strategies that aim to solve real-life problems in the field of agriculture and extension.
- To prepare students to acquire research skills needed to addressing the need-gaps in agricultural development processes with confidence and effectiveness.
- To help students acquire experience in rural development projects through exposure to community extension outreach services to improve the quality of life of the rural dwellers.
- To promote and facilitate continuous capacity building, learning and forward planning as well as the use of ICTs and the media which take account of culture and gender in the profession and advisor/extension services so that millions of smallholders can move up to value chain.
- To continue to develop and support platforms of different levels for extension professionals and researcher to meet, exchange and improve their capacity to mobilize smallholder’s knowledge, labor, land, water, and generic resources to global food security
The department has run key projects and research that are in alignment to its mandate.
The Integrating Gender and Nutrition within Agricultural Extension Services (INGENAES) is one of such projects. This project was sub-awarded to Njala University from the University of Illinois., urbana Champaign. The USAID funded project aim to reduce gender gaps in agricultural extension services, increase empowerment of women farmers, and improve gender and nutrition integration within extension services.
- (Every December)
Extension Day- exhibition, trade fair and advisory services
Extension Day is an annual event held by the Department’s Outreach unit. This event showcases farmers’ harvest thereby serving as an exhibition and trade fair as well as advisory service spot as farmers on this day can access technical advice and ask questions. The event is held for farmers who are clienteles/ beneficiaries to the outreach unit.
- ( 2019) Solidaridad West Africa
The department was contrated to carry out a baseline survey research on CORIP and SWAP programme of Solidaridad West Africa. The research team making up of lecturers including the Head of Department, Adolphus Johnson carried out the research successfully and submitted a report.
- (2020) The department has now entered into a partnership with the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE). The Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology in collaboration with the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE) has introduced degree programs for Mid-Career extension practitioners. This is to bridge the gap in clientele demand for improved extension services and improve the extension workers’ capacity to solve the problems of demand-driven extension services by Value Chain Actors. By the introduction of this programme, Njala University will become one of the fifty plus partner universities of SAFE in Africa.
- Seed Rice Project: Seedlings on loan to farmers
Trainings/Workshops held (Technology Assessment, Gender & Nutrition, Youth Mappers, Farmers Training etc.)
- Students’ Programmes and Mentorship (Radio Shows, Field trip, Newsletters, Agric Videos etc.)
Collaborative Partners (e.g. MAF, Gbotima ABC, SLARI, University of Illinois, SOLIDARIDAD, etc.)
The Department offers the following Degree programmes:
1. Bachelor of Science with Honours in Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology
2. Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Extension with options in Crop/Animal Production
3. Bachelor of Science with Honours in Agricultural Communication and Media
4. Master of Science in Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology
5. Master of Philosophy in Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology
6. Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology
In addition, the Department offers services courses in the following sub-degree programmes;
2. Ordinary Diploma and
3. Higher Diploma
PROGRAMME ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
The entry requirements for these programmes are in line with the Njala University entry requirements for both undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes. Candidates enrolling for the Bachelor of Science Degree Programme must satisfy the University’s requirements of five (5) credits GCE O’Level /WASSCE including English language in not more than two sittings. In the case of the West African Examination Council Exams, only grades varying from 1-6 are recognized as GCE O’Levels credit passes. For WASSCE it is A1 – C6 while for the Associate Examination Board (London GCE) only C or better are recognized.
Candidates enrolling for master degree programmes must have a good first degree in extension or its related subjects from a well-recognized University including Five (5) subjects at WASSCE or GCE O’Levels. Applicant with a good first degree with division two or better from a recognized university with at least a year working experience in the field or related public sector have added advantage.
PROGRAMME DURATION AND MINIMUM CREDIT HOURS FOR GRADUATION
For Candidates enrolling into the Bachelor of Science Degree Programme will spend a period of 4 academic years (8 semesters) and earn between 19-21 credit hour per semester and a total of 120-133 credit hour for graduation.
For Candidates enrolling into the Master of science in agricultural extension degree programmes will spend eighteen (18) month (3 semesters) and earn between 19-21 credit hour per semester and a total of 30-42 credit hour for graduation.
Introduction of B.Sc. Agricultural Communication and Media Programme
Agricultural communication is defined as the exchange of accurate information about agricultural and natural resource industries. Agricultural communication programmes were born out of a need by land-grant universities to distribute research findings from their experiment stations to both agriculture and non-agriculture audiences through various forms of media. Agricultural communication and media programmes in universities train communication specialists that play an important role in the agricultural sector. They serve as public relations personnel or communication person for agricultural projects and organizations. Worldwide, a range of agricultural communication careers support agricultural industries, organizations, government agencies, and universities. Agricultural communicators hold positions as writers and editors; photographers, broadcasters or videographers, web content developers and managers; public relations practitioners who develop and manage public relations campaigns; agricultural blog and other social media coordinators; and technical communicators. They work for public relations or advertising firms with agricultural clients, agricultural trade magazines, agricultural associations and nonprofits, agricultural businesses and industries, government agencies, and universities and extension services.
However, in Sierra Leone, agricultural journalists are not actually trained and qualified to report on agricultural activities. There has been that communication gap in the reporting of news relating to agriculture, in making information that concerns agricultural sector available to the masses and influencing policy makers. The agricultural sector virtually has been under reported in the mass media. Communication specialists for many agricultural organizations and nonprofits have little knowledge about communicating or designing communication as an agricultural communicator. Agricultural communication is most appropriate for organizations dealing in agriculture because it is a blend of communication and agriculture. Communication specialists train in agricultural communication have a broad knowledge about agriculture, and therefore can handle communication that deals with agriculture most appropriately.
It is against this backdrop that the DAERS, Njala University introduced this course.
Hence, the Bachelor of Science with Honors in Agricultural Communication and Media aims at enhancing the agricultural sector in the country.
Objectives of the B.Sc. Agricultural Communication and Media Program include
1. To train agricultural communication specialists that can serve in NGOs, government agencies and agricultural non-profit organization.
2. To train media professionals that can become agricultural journalists who will report adequately and professionally about the agricultural sector.
3. To train multimedia and marketing professionals that can become entrepreneurs and use the new media to foster agriculture growth in Sierra Leone and the world.