On 27 February, 21 Master Trainers, including four women, graduated from a three-month Agropastoral Field School (APFS) Master Trainer course held at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Sheikh Technical Veterinary School (ISTVS) in Sheikh, Somaliland. As Master Trainers, the graduates are now considered senior trainers, and have the capacity to train field-level community facilitators.
The training was conducted by IGAD with technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under a five-year programme funded by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC), the “IGAD-FAO Partnership Programme on Drought Resilience”. The Programme was designed to support the implementation of the IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI) by supporting resilience building among agropastoral communities in the Horn of Africa.
“Changing lives by providing communities with practical solutions to build local resilience”
The event was officiated by Somaliland’s Deputy Minister of Livestock, Mr. Ali Mohamed Elmi and attended by Somaliland government officials and representatives of IGAD, FAO, SDC and the Government of Kenya. Mr. Fred Wesonga, ISTVS Principal, welcomed the visiting delegation, emphasizing that such trainings can and will change lives by reaching communities with practical solutions for building local resilience.
The course is integral to building the capacity of local government and field staff to address the root causes of vulnerability to drought and poverty in a holistic, gender-sensitive manner among Somali cross-border populations. When the graduates return to their respective duty stations, they are expected to train local facilitators and support the startup of APFS groups in the communities they serve.
After the training, the 21 trainees from Somali regions of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya will be able to master all key aspects of the establishment and running of field school programmes in their communities. They will also have a solid technical base in all major topics related to Somali-based production systems, e.g. livestock, dryland agriculture, natural resource management, as well as cross-cutting issues such as gender. Through hands-on learning applied in APFS groups, the participants had the opportunity to practice and develop their new skills during the course.
The graduation at ISTVS was historic in that this was the first time for such course to be institutionalized at a higher education institution under the custody of an intergovernmental authority. The field school approach seeks to empower communities to improve productivity for food security and reduce rural poverty. Since the development of the approach in Asia in the 1980s, field schools have been implemented in more than 90 countries across the globe. The approach provides an excellent platform that is flexible and responsive to meeting the requisite tailored skills of rural communities.
In view of the severe drought currently affecting Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya – and especially with the threat of famine emerging in Somalia – building resilience to drought emergencies in the Horn of Africa is high on the international community’s agenda. SDC’s Senior Regional Food Security Advisor, Mr Abdullahi Khalif, emphasized the Agency’s commitment do things differently to address recurrent droughts and the challenge of famine. He especially highlighted SDC’s commitment to provide equal opportunities to men and women to benefit from development aid.
Source : Fao