Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Greetings from Bolgatanga

Just arrived at the World Vision office in Bongo to check e-mail and catch up with the rest of the world.
The team had a wonderful session today at Bolgatanga. My teaching partners, Dr. Shaibu Sieni—the entomologist, and Bro. Idrissu—the economist, were fabulous. After initial introductions and welcome message by World Vision Bolga Manager, Benedicta Poealore, we were ready to begin the training. The resident agronomist, Dr. Siani, provided a presentation about insects and their challenges on cowpea. The presentation and interaction was excellent. His explanation of triple bagging technology was very persuasive. He engaged the 60 Extension field agents and business representatives in a discussion around what methods they were using—and how the triple bagging technology presented an excellent opportunity to reduce, and certainly eliminated the use of chemicals in cowpea storage.

The resident economist, Bro. Iddrissu led the group to examined opportunity costs, including value creation prospects that the PICS program will bring to local economies. The practical examples, group discussion and excellent participant involvement were incredibly awesome. The economic opportunities that the PICS program presents was very well explained and embraced by this group. Frankly, I have learned more about this project by listening to individual stories and experiences with chemicals. I have also learned about the pros and cons of other indigenous methods for storing cowpeas. The afternoon session was devoted to facilitation methods and village demonstration protocols. My presentation focused on facilitation skills, and ways of being that makes it easy for people to accept and engage a new technology. The interaction, participation and sharing of experiences was fantastic. I completed the workshop by explaining Purdue Human subjects protocols, including the necessity for documentation, participant consent, and following the protocols set by the PICS program.

Finally, I led participants through the pre-demonstration by making it easy for them to discuss and find ways to identify influential people, friends, chiefs and opinion leaders and community partners to help make this project successful. Looks like all the prep work is paying off and I am delighted to play a role in making this project work. Tomorrow is for practice, demonstration, and more practice of triple bagging. Stay tuned. So far--so good.

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