|Introduction to the Population Education Leaders Guides (FAO)|
This package of population education teaching materials has been produced as part of the continuing efforts of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to assist member nations in addressing concerns about the relationship between population growth and the achievement of development goals, particularly those in the areas of integrated rural development and sustainable agricultural production.
The materials are one of the major outputs of the Inter-regional FAO project, "Integration of Population Education into Programmes for Rural Youth in Low-Income Countries, "for which funding has been provided by the United Nations Population Fund.
FAO views population education as a process which enables people to recognize and understand the implications of population factors for the well-being of the individual, the family and society.
In many areas of the developing world, rapid increases in population growth are placing an increasingly heavy burden on national development efforts. FAO recognizes that the people of a country are both the driving force of development and the target for all its development efforts. However, whilst the population is one of the nation's major assets, many government now recognize that uncontrolled population growth can turn this asset into a liability. Increasing agricultural production by 10% is of little help if over the same period, the population increases by 20%. As a result of these views, the demand for assistance in turning the tide of rapid population growth is rising rapidly. In turn, FAO has made an increasing commitment to projects and programmes that assist member countries to meet this challenge. These materials are intended for use with out-of-school rural youth (future parents and producers) to help them understand the effects of rapid population growth and the need for responsible parenthood.
They should be used to reach rural young men and women through existing youth groups, young farmer's clubs, social associations, church groups, the scouting movement, etc. The ten guides which make up the teaching materials are intended for use by the leaders of these youth groups in conducting a series of structured learning activities.
Many organizations and individuals provided invaluable information and advice during the development of these teaching materials and their support is gratefully acknowledged. Special mention must be made of the assistance of the Unesco Regional Population Education Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean. The wholehearted collaboration of Regional Population Adviser Jairo Palacio, expert consultants Rafael Mazin, Maria-Clara Arengo and Manuel Ordorica, and the entire support staff of the Programme were instrumental in enabling the leaders guides to be successfully completed. These revised versions of the leaders guides are based on extensive field testing in Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. The assistance of the government staff in the Ministry of Rural Development, Social Services and Youth in Sierra Leone and in the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture in Zimbabwe, is gratefully acknowledged as is the support of the numerous youth groups and their leaders involved in the pilot phase of the project.