This essay examines the communication for development initiatives carried out at the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph, Canada. It surveys key events within this country’s history and culture that inform and have shaped the communication for development field such as the Fogo Island project, the Farm Radio Forum and the First Mile project while paying close attention to the challenges faced by rural
communities in such a diverse and extensive geography. Influenced by Paolo Freire’s writings on education and the concept of engaged learning, the school’s courses and endeavours in this field depart from a framework that challenges established positivist epistemologies that have governed western education in the past. The school challenges students to become critical investigators, in close relationship with their local communities, acting locally so as to bring about global change.

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