Lived Experience of Extensionists in Community Development
Extension programs, according to the Commission on Higher Education, provide a space for partner groups to find practical evidence and science-based solutions to real-world social, economic, and environmental problems (Cadosales, Cabanilla, & Beltran, 2020). The essence of the extensionists' experience in community development was described using the qualitative phenomenology approach in this study. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the data was gathered via a virtual individual unstructured in-depth interview conducted through Google Meet or Zoom App. As part of a phenomenological study, ten faculty-extensionists from a State University in the Visayas, Philippines, were interviewed. The eight emergent themes identified using Colaizzi's (1978) thematic analysis steps were finding holistic meaning of the extension program, achieving personal development, enjoying recognition as an extensionist, sharing of resources and expertise, strengthening community engagement, empowering the beneficiaries, fostering sustainability, and experiencing challenges as an extensionist. More research is also needed to learn more about extensionists' community development experiences.
Keywords- lived experience, extensionists, community development, phenomenology, Philippines