Are you a student of Wageningen University and interested in rural development and Lithuania? Then: keep reading!
Every year, the Rural Sociology Group participates in a two week intensive programme on rural development in the EU. A diverse group of students from various European countries (a.o. Portugal, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Lithuania, Slovenia) work together on a case study. Through lectures and field trips scientific and practical knowledge will be aquired and then implemented in the case study analysis. See last year’s experience in San Vito di Cadore
This year, the IP takes place in the Kaunas region of Lithuania from 15 to 28 April.
The subject of the intensive programme is “Role of agriculture and natural resources in sustainable rural development” (AGSURUDE). The objectives is to teach last year bachelor and master students existing theories on multifunctional agriculture, natural resources management, competitiveness of rural areas and management of sustainable rural development. The programme aims to show students what it means in practice, to enable them to critically evaluate the existing situation and to define the role of agriculture and natural resources management in building up sustainability of rural areas development.
General content of the IP The first 3 days, the students and tutors will receive lectures related to the role of agriculture and natural resources around the Kaunas Region that take into account different aspects of management in sustainable rural development. Also lectures on general methodology will be introduced. After this, students will be divided into smaller groups, and each group will visit a chosen region in the Kaunas region during 3 days. In order to have fluent contacts, each group will have a Lithuanian student/tutor who takes care of translation etc.
During the study trips, students/tutors have to take contact with local government, farmers, members of organisations etc. in order to identify the role of agriculture and natural resources management in sustainable rural development of the studied region. Students and tutors will together develop a questionnaire in advance, and it will be their task to ask the right questions in order to unravel the territorial identity. Students need to be innovative, active, inquisitive and enquiring to fulfill the tasks. The students and tutors will sleep in these study regions. After these 3 days, they get back and work on region presentations.
After the region presentations, groups will be reformulated; new groups consist of at least one member from each previous group. Each new group focuses on a specific topic in a transversal analysis: that topic is studied over the different regions, and each group presents these results on the last day, followed by a general discussion. The 6 topics which groups have to focus on include the relation of agriculture with the rest of the economy, the environment, the social cohesion (with farmers, with rest of region), tourism etc. Each group presents the results on the last day, followed by a general discussion. The main aim is to let students give their own opinion and to evaluate existing agricultural and natural resource management strategies.