IAMCR/FAO Research Award winners

Watch this video with Rico Lie, Chair of the IAMCR/FAO Award Selection Committee, announcing the award winners, and short statements by the accomplished individuals themselves.

IAMCR is pleased to announce the winners of the IAMCR/FAO Research Award: Nurul Hilmiati (Indonesia), Nurdahalia Lairing (Indonesia) and Ma. Theresa Rivera (Philippines). 

In close collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), IAMCR's Rural Communication Working Group (RUC) is supporting a series of research and networking activities on the application and institutionalization of inclusive Rural Communication Services (RCS)* as applied to agrifood systems and sustainable rural development. Furthermore, within the framework of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming (UNDFF), FAO and the Rural Communication Working Group, in partnership with a series of universities, research centres, development institutions, and communication networks, are promoting the Collaborative Change Communication for Development (CCComDev) initiative that aims at sharing knowledge and increasing learning opportunities and collaboration in the area of communication for rural development. 

Announcing its decision, the IAMCR/FAO Selection Committee said:

On the occasion of Lyon23, IAMCR and FAO are offering three special awards grants to authors of papers that advance our understanding of applications of RCS, particularly in the areas of agriculture, family farming, natural resource management, climate change adaptation, food security, and disaster risk reduction. Special attention has been given to papers that consider elements such as: participatory design of communication services in rural areas; appropriation of media by family farmers; institutionalization of communication services for rural communities; and evidence-based approaches for inclusive RCS, particularly in the Global South. The winning papers will be awarded at IAMCR 2023 in Lyon, France on Wednesday July 12 at 16:00-17:30 CEST:

  • Improving rural communication services through co-innovation towards commercial family farming in Timor-Leste: Insights from the Redi KAMODI model by Dr Nurul Hilmiati (Indonesia).
  • Developing contemporary Rural Communication Services in Indonesia, prototype testing of Digital Farmer Field School (DFFS) by Ms Nurdahalia Lairing (Indonesia).
  • Rural radio and citizen participation: Role of digital technology in multi-stakeholder participation by Dr Ma. Theresa Rivera (Philippines).

The collaboration between IAMCR and FAO directly involves six academic institutions working in the field of ComDev and rural communication: The University of Queensland, University of Guelph, Wageningen University, University of Reading, University of the Philippines Los Baños, and Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences.

nhilmiatiNurul Hilmiati

Nurul Hilmiati is a participatory development communication practitioner. She has been working as a researcher interested in rural development, community empowerment and participatory development communication. She is experienced in conducting participatory research and development initiatives and providing training for field assistants, extension workers and farmers. She focuses on the research project designs, methods, stakeholder engagement and communication strategies to deliver impact. In those research initiatives, she was also responsible for training the project's field researchers to conduct participatory need and opportunity assessment (PNOA), providing assistance to improve their facilitation and communication skills, and in charge of designing and developing communication strategies to scale out the uptake of the innovations promoted by the research initiatives.


Improving rural communication services through co-innovation towards commercial family farming in Timor-Leste: Insights from the Redi KAMODI model

I was involved in collaborative research for a development project in Timor Leste entitled “Smallholder cattle enterprise development in Timor Leste” from 2016 to 2022, funded by the Australia Centre for International Agricultural Research (LPS/2014/038). The project aimed to increase the income of smallholder crop-livestock farmers and market chain operators in Timor-Leste through more efficient, commercially oriented cattle production and improved access to markets. A core strategy of the project was the creation and establishment of multi-actor innovation platforms, locally called Redi KAMODI (RK). Redi KAMODI consists of village-level networks of groups and serves as a rural communication service involving local farmers, traders, extension officers and technical advisers. My role was designing and developing communication strategies for innovations uptake that were promoted by the project, developing participatory monitoring strategies and strengthening collaboration between the trans-disciplinary research team – participating farmers – and extension staff. I was also responsible for training the project's field researchers to conduct participatory need and opportunity assessment (PNOA), reflection, training for extension staff, and providing assistance to improve their facilitation and communication skills.

Download Nurul´s paper

nlairingNurdahalia Lairing

Nurdahalia Lairing is a researcher and a teacher from Research Center for Communication, Social-Ecological Learning and Sustainable Environment (CoSeLSe) at the University of Muhammadiyah Enrekang (UNIMEN). She coordinates the design and development of the Digital Farmer Field School with the Living Lab approach in Indonesia.


Developing Contemporary Rural Communication Services in Indonesia, Prototype Testing of Digital Farmer Field School (DFFS)

Nurdahalia Lairing’s recent project is about Prototype Testing of Digital Farmer Field School (DFFS).  DFFS is an Android-based learning platform installed on a tablet used by farmer groups and extension agents for knowledge sharing and co-creation. It is an alternative to rural extension services aimed to improve access of farmers to information on agriculture, health and the environment. The first version of DFFS (DFFS v1.0) has been developed by the local design team, and it has been tested with farmer groups in the Enrekang district.

Download Nurdahalia's paper

My sincere thanks go out to the selection panels for selecting my paper as one of the three winning papers for receiving a travel grant this year.  My attendance at the IAMCR conference to share our work on DFFS is only possible due to the travel grant provided.  For our further work on DFFS, I am constantly searching for new ways to collaborate and new ideas to implement the project that will benefit the smallholder farmers in Indonesia.  Being physically present at the IAMCR conference is a prime opportunity to forge ideas and explore collaboration and innovation. I am forever grateful for this opportunity.

triveraMa. Theresa M. Rivera

Ma. Theresa M. Rivera is a University Research Fellow and Professor of Communication at Far Eastern University in Manila, Philippines. She conducts qualitative research on social and
behavior change communication, with a focus on community/ rural communication, disaster risks, participatory governance, maternal, and child health, and social appropriation of information and communication technologies for development. She was formerly Chairperson of the Development Communication Department, and past Director, of the Rural Communication Center, at Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines She is a founding member of the Philippine Academic Society for Climate and. Disaster Resilience (PASCDR), former Vice President for Mindanao of the Philippine Association of Communication Educators, Inc., and former country representative of the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC).


Rural Radio and Citizen Participation: Role of Digital technology in Multi-stakeholder participation

My research work on “Rural Radio and Citizen Participation: Role of Digital Technology in Multi- stakeholder Participation” is a grounded theory study of a community radio station, DXUP-FM, in Upi, Maguindanao, Philippines. DXUP-FM is a 300-kilowatt radio station jointly established in 2004 by its local government unit (LGU), with training fund support from the Canadian International Development Agency-Local Government Support Program (CIDA- LGSP). The study examined how the community radio station transitioned to social media, specifically Facebook Livestreaming, transformed into a teleradio, and utilized Short Messaging System (SMS) to foster interaction and participation among the Indigenous Tedurays, the Bangsamoro, and the Christian settlers in the selected rural community. By integrating digital media, particularly Facebook Live-streaming, DXUP-FM expanded its reach beyond traditional radio frequencies and engaged a wider audience. The radio programs promoted cultural understanding, addressed local issues, and facilitated dialogue among the different cultural community groups.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, DXUP-FM also played a vital role in education by launching a "school on the air" program, aired over its cable television stations. It created online communities for residents, including overseas Filipino workers, to connect and discuss various topics. However, challenges such as limited technology access, lack of digital literacy, and infrastructure gaps hindered equitable participation. Overcoming these challenges is crucial to ensure that the benefits of community radio and its transition to social media, foster an interactive communicative ecology that harmonizes indigenous cultures and work towards building a culture of participation and peace.

Download Ma.Theresa´s paper

IAMCR/FAO award committee

  • Elske van de Fliert (Chair), The University of Queensland, Australia | Global Research Initiative – Rural Communication (GRI-RC)
  • Mario Acunzo, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Italy | CCComDev
  • Rico Lie, Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands | IAMCR RUC, Global Research Initiative – Rural Communication (GRI-RC)
  • Maria Stella C. Tirol, University of the Philippines Los Baños, the Philippines | CCComDev, Global Research Initiative – Rural Communication (GRI-RC)

* Rural Communication Services (RCS) include a wide range of demand-led communication processes, activities, media applications, and institutional arrangements to respond in a sustained and inclusive manner to the communication needs of family farmers and the rural population at large. Recognized as a key factor in strengthening family farmers’ organizations and capacity for knowledge generation, the concept of RCS has evolved to become an integrated communication approach serving rural development processes.