The Rural Extension Program at the Ahfad University for Women

The Rural Extension Program at the Ahfad University for Women

The Rural Extension Program started at the university in 1973 in the form of scientific field trips for students to explore the lives of rural people and learn about appropriate forms of intervention to improve their lives.

In 1976, the ‘rural extension course’ was integrated into the curriculum of the School of Family Science. A year later, in response to the need for a contribution to improve the quality of life of poor people in rural areas, the course became a university requirement for all the schools.

The Rural Extension Program was initiated to achieve many objectives, but its main focuses are to do the following:

  • Expose students to issues of rural life and train them to deal with these issues;
  • Contribute to the improvement of the quality of life in rural communities, especially of rural women;
  • Practice methods of social research in gathering and analyzing data related to the needs of rural communities; and
  • Train students in the field of development and encourage them to act as agents of change.

The participants in this program are the university students and faculty, as well as government officials and NGOs operating in the designated area. The university receives funds for the field trips from UN agencies and NGOs. Other contributors to the program are donors, local communities, local authorities, national and local NGOs, and academic institutions in the area.

It is the university’s conviction that the program has proved to be very successful. Students have gained valuable experience and training, and have developed a positive attitude towards and respect for human rights, as well as an appreciation of the diversity of rural life. Numerous studies have emanated from this program (many of which are published), and training manuals have been developed.

One of the direct results of this program was the establishment of the School of Rural Extension Education and Development (REED) in 1987. The school prepares graduates to become agents of change in rural communities. The school also offers a master’s degree in sustainable development, which is unique in Sudan and offered only by the Ahfad University for Women.





© Ahfad University for Women. All Rights Reserved.