The Arkleton Trust has a long history of supporting national and international approaches to rural development policy and practice and encouraging the sharing of experience and knowledge gained, with particular emphasis on assisting and promoting rural development in the poorer and developing countries around the world. It has done this through a range of mechanisms, including publications, seminars, study tours, fellowships.
Over the years, it has found that one of the most effective ways of transferring knowledge and expertise has been through study tours and exchanges between countries by groups and individuals. These often involve or are facilitated by governments, NGOs, universities and other establishments, but may also include less formal arrangements.
The Arkleton Trust therefore, decided to focus its funding in 2013 on supporting study tours, visits and exchanges which help facilitate valuable knowledge exchanges.
Outline proposals were sought...
In order to support such initiatives, the Trust believed that, initially, its support might best be aimed at enabling organisations to develop ideas and proposals for study tours and exchanges (i.e. a predevelopment stage), although it would not rule out funding for visits, where these have already been developed. In particular, the Trust wished to facilitate learning and rural development in the developing world, particularly Africa, and therefore, gave priority to applications that sought to address this priority.
Whilst the Trust welcomed the involvement of universities and governments in proposed visits, it was not intended that support would be made available simply for intergovernmental or inter-university exchanges. Any proposals needed to demonstrate how rural development practitioners and other actors in the rural development field would be involved and the potential benefits to them.
The Trust was keen to see practical outputs from its funding, rather than more detailed research reports. Where practical, it wanted to be actively involved in helping to develop the study tours and exchanges and, from time to time, members of the Trust, participated in the study trips, to help develop linkages and networks.
Three applications were approved under the study trips in 2013. The first awarded to the Plunkett Foundation for assistance with a workshop at the International Co-operative Congress in Cape Town. The second to Dr Bronwen Cohen for a workshop in Plockton (Scotland) on Place-Based Education involving representatives from Norway and Alaska. Information on this fellowship is available as a case study. The third was an exchange trip between Jatan Sansthan (India) and the Family Guidance Association in Ethiopia (FGAE) focusing on women’s health. Information on this fellowship is available as a case study. Reflections from participants of the Jatan FGAE exchange can be found here.