Posted by: mhirdyounger | August 20, 2014

Agric Students Learning From and With Farmers

Ask any extension agent, any good extension agent, and they will tell you that they have learned a lot from farmers. Not only do extension agents teach, train and build the capacity of farmers, they also learn from them. And they pass that knowledge onto other farmers, researchers and hopefully policy makers. But this takes an extension agent that has respect and empathy for farmers, their opinions and their understandings of agriculture. It takes an extension agent who goes out to the field and spends time with farmers.  It takes an understanding that so much of extension really depends on good relationships and trust.

So that`s what the Internal Attachment Program is all about. It`s about getting young agriculturalists into the field to learn with and from farmers, to build their attitudes around empathy and respect for farmers.

DAC Community Presentation

The Internal Attachment Program

This program is a community-based, experiential learning program where agricultural college students actually go out and stay, eat, sleep and work with farmers for an extended period of time. It`s similar to the EWB Village Stay. While staying with the farmers, students co-define and prioritize agricultural problems, they then come back to campus to research these programs. At the end of the program, the students provide extension back to farmers through sharing what they learned about the problems identified in the communities.

The program fits into the colleges` Internal Attachment Period, which is 6 weeks of on-campus learning after first year. In 2013, EWB AgEx worked with Kwadaso Agricultural College (KAC) to re-vamp this program to include the community stay component that is described above. Because of the success of this program, this year, EWB supported 3 colleges to run the program for the first time. KAC ran than program for a second time, iterating on what they had learned in the first pilot to build a stronger and more sustainable program.

The program provides the opportunity for students to gain practical rural farming experience. It is designed to strengthen students` problem-solving  and communication skills, encourage innovation, and expose students to agricultural entrepreneurship with the understanding that these skills are necessary in order for students to become effective extension agents and excel in agribusiness. Students gain practical field experience in farming, through participation in farming activities during their community stay.  By conducting a situational analysis and problem prioritization, going through the process of solving agricultural problems, and determining the best way to present the solution to farmers, students practice the key aspects of extension.

“The students who did the practical attachment, without doubt, will be a better group of agriculturalists. We’ve talked to them and we see that they are quite different.”

Mr. Alhaji Musah, Administrator of Kwadaso Agricultural College

To learn more about AgEx, check out this link or our 10 year anniversary booklet. To learn more about our work at the colleges, check this out.  For a JF experience working on this program see here, and for a great photo click here. To read stories of the program’s impact, make sure to check out this link

Advertisements

Responses

  1. […] Over the next week, I will share a few guestblogs from AgEx Junior Fellows. These are young change leaders who worked with our venture from May-August, 2014 supporting the Internal Attachment Program. […]

  2. […] out of Toronto. He shares his experience working with Damongo Agricultural College on piloting the Internal Attachment Program, a program that got students to learn with and from farmers in their local […]

  3. […] who joined AgEx from the EWB University of Ottawa chapter.  She supported the piloting of the Internal Attachment Program at both Damongo Agricultural College and Animal Health and Production College, which enabled […]

  4. […] end off this series of posts detailing the Internal Attachment Program (a program that AgEx supported to increase agricultural students’ experiential learning with […]

  5. […] feedback and support of this partnership, the Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship Project, Internal Attachment Program and Innovation Committee would not have been possible. Principal Kontor’s dedication to […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: