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ISFM trainer trained in Volta region of Ghana

Africare, a Ghana-based NGO, wanted to build the capacity to disseminating ISFM technology in the Volta regions of Ghana. Africare had participated in an ASHC-led write-shop in mid 2012. So, they asked ASHC to work in partnership with them to develop a 3-day trainer of trainers workshop in February 2013.

20 extension workers from Ghana’s food and agriculture ministry (MoFA) joined a farmer, local media, and Africare staff for the workshop held in Jasikan District. Ahead of the event, Africare’s programme officer, Francis Dompae, said, “I looked forward to the training enabling participants get in-depth knowledge on ISFM so that they can effectively promote the uptake of ISFM in the region.”

Emmanuel Dzameshie, Africare’s field co-ordinator, agrees. “The training was aimed at complementing other Africare ISFM activities such as field demos in the target zones of the project,” he said. The workshop objective was to develop ISFM modules and create a training manual that the participants can use to promote the adoption of ISFM in the Volta region.

The event was facilitated by ASHC associate, Victor Clottey, who is also CABI’s regional co-ordinator of West Africa. Victor helped create a very interactive workshop format in which participants were encouraged to learn through self-discovery. He was supported by Grace Omondi, the communications specialist on the ASHC team, who lead the session to create a communications module.

Victor Clottey with ISFM handbook

Victor said: “The plenary sessions brought out the idea of local adaptation in ISFM, which is an essential element of ISFM.” The participants then started thinking about how best to conduct training to promote uptake of ISFM, taking into consideration the local/cultural dynamics in Hohoe, Jasikan, Kadjebi and Kpando districts. Participants also took part in highly productive breakout sessions to develop the main content for the modules.

The seven modules developed by the participants are:

• The soil

• Soil fertility

• The concept of ISFM

• ISFM options and strategies

• Policies influencing ISFM

• Input & output market development

• Communicating to promote ISFM

Victor said “I was amazed by the enthusiasm of the participants to gain knowledge in ISFM and development of the manual. They never left the hall to loiter around, and they readily agreed to work longer days to complete all modules.” Frank Ahunu, MoFA’s extension officer in Kpando, says the training will help him build on his 17 years’ field extension work experience. “It was a reminder not to overlook common community practices that affect soil fertility.”

Frank added that because of information in the module on soil and its properties, he can now confidently explain to farmers and other extension workers the negative effects of bush burning. This practice is the norm in some parts of Ghana, but it removes all the organic matter and makes the soil prone to blowing or washing away.

For more information please contact Victor Clottey at ASHC.