Farmers Association trainers learn skills to better train local farmers

November 29, 2010

Trainers from Baetolau Farmers Association at the course with facilitator Claudine Watoto from KGA

12 Trainers from  Baetolau Farmers Association, comprised of Zone coordinators and resources personel attended a one week training of trainers held at Ngaliabu Village, North Malaita. The training was facilitated by Kastom Gaden Association Capacity Building and Networking Program Support Staff, Ms Claudine Watoto.

Different topics were covered over the last five days training however the training basically focused on facilitation skill and Participatory Technology Development.

The first two days covered how to make a simple lesson plan, and how to organize and facilitate training of farmers. Trainers learned different learning facilitation skills and techniques. They also looked at what are the key roles, characteristics, attributes, skills and knowledge of an ideal trainer.  

Trainers were able to learn and understand who are their audience and how they acquired information.  With such skills trainers have acquired they won’t be having difficulties when carry out training for rural farmers in their areas.

As Claudine highlighted “being a trainer one must be creative and should at least acquire a few different facilitation skills and techniques. A trainer must know  who are your audience and how your audience process information. So in this way a trainer can identify right type of approach to pass or share your message to your audience.

Example; it is important for a trainer to see how farmers absorb information such as: are they only interested in information presentation, role game, garden visits, demonstration, or carry out field practical’s and by doing so, trainers need to carefully watch farmers participation and energy and that’s where your facilitation skills plays a vital role.

Being a trainer you should be someone who are good communicators, passing on knowledge in easy to manage pieces in language that farmers can understand easily.

The training also teaches trainers on the process of participatory technology development in agriculture. This is a kind of a new learning tool for most of the trainers. In this process, trainer learn how to interact with local farmers to identify problems experienced and then help them to identify local farmers who have promising solutions for these problems. The trainer can then work together with these farmers and others to design sustainable farming system with local farmers.

A one day field practical was organized with Fo’ondo farmers where part of this process was practiced in the field.   The trainers learned how to carried out a joint analysis of the situation, an activity called participatory rural appraisal. In this exercise trainers use different techniques and local materials to discuss with farmers as a group in order to identify key problems farmer faced.  This process assists the trainers to do analysis of problems with farmers.  Out of this exercise the trainers and the community were able to identify and analyze what are the problems local farmers faced and assist farmers to design their own program that is sustainable for their farming practices.

Out of this process the BFA trainers learned PRA tools such as transect walk, soil matrix, cropping planning, track changes and present situations. During the training the facilitator also recognized that majority of these trainers are innovative farmers as well and have a lot of their own technologies to share.

This training helps me a lot especially on how to organize and plan out village training as well as improving my presentation skill as quaoted by one of the female participant.

While the Baetolau Farmers Association Acting Coordinator, Mr Timo Aldo say the Participatory Rural Appraisal is vital for any trainer to acquire such skill, before I use to design a work plan based on my knowledge  but since I learn from the PRA, it gives me the idea that being a coordinator I need to use such tools to collect information from the farmers as a basis for my planning and so this training help me a lot to do better planning.

This is the second training of its kind organized by the KGA for it’s local partners organization, the next TOT will be held for Turusuala Community Based Training Centre on the Weather Coast of Guadalacanal.

The training is supported by AusAID through its funding of Kastom Gaden Association’s “Strengthening Food Security and Rural Livelihood” project.