Gabathuler et al.

According to Gabathuler et al. (2011), “extensionists must be very highly qualified, with great social competencies combined with sound expertise, creativity and flexibility. Many of the qualities a good extensionist must have can be acquired only to a limited extent by learning; they are individual traits of character. Careful selection of extensionists is thus a matter of extreme importance. In choosing extensionists, particular care must be taken to ensure that they have the following qualities and skills:

  • Above-average communication skills (listening and comprehending the concerns of others, good language skills)
  • A high level of social competence (empathy, respect, authenticity, conflict management and team skills, honesty, openness).
  • Analytical skills (comprehending situations, distinguishing the important form the unimportant, recognizing interconnections, asking relevant questions and introducing new topics).
  • Systematic understanding (interest in ecological, economic and social issues and their interactions).
  • Professional competence in extension themes (knowledge and experience relating to extension themes and the ability to obtain relevant information from experts, classify it and transmit it).

Contrary to popular belief concerning the profile of an extensionists, the need is not for experts who have the greatest range of problem-solving approaches at their disposal but for individuals with special competencies in participatory learning processes and development of appropriate solutions to problems.” (page 88, emphasis added).

Gabathuler, E., Bachmann, F., Kläy, A. 2011.  Reshaping rural extension: Learning for sustainabilty. Published by CTA, Margraf