Education for the rural development catalyst: Learning from the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme and the University of Guelph
Catalysts are key figures in the rural development process throughout the world. While some advocate for political change through a process of community empowerment and conscientisation, others serve the more conventional agenda of the development agency. This case study of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (Pakistan) and its 'social organisers', shows how this latter role has a less political, yet equally substantial, impact in certain contexts. The impact of a capacity development program involving AKRSP catalysts at the University of Guelph as a second case study is assessed. The chief impact was increased self-confidence, while there was some additional improvement in critical abilities and sectoral skills. This study concludes that such programs require rigorous candidate selection, ongoing collaboration between the agency and the university, and above all, a broader learning process approach. Findings and recommendations specific to the AKRSP-University of Guelph collaboration are included.