Dr. Adejumoke Ale shares her experience as a volunteer in Nigeria.
What was the best part about contributing to Farmer-to-Farmer as a national volunteer in their country/region?
I was elated to be able to give back to my country using the skills I have acquired over the years. It was rewarding and it gave me a sense of fulfilment. It also afforded me the opportunity to meet the needs of clients or people who ordinarily wouldn’t have crossed my path. I met interesting people, young and old contributing their quota to the development of agriculture in Nigeria.
My first assignment was with a Non-governmental organization, Agrolearn where I contributed to the development of training modules that could be used by agricultural extension agents as well as facilitating four sessions of training. The trainees were warm and enthusiastic to learn. The trainees also sharpened my view of some aspects of extension as they brought their experiences on board.
My second assignment was institutional assessment at the Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology, Victoria Island, Lagos. I was able to help conduct SWOT analysis of the institution which gave me a sense of fulfilment
What was the best part about working with a remote US based volunteer?
The best part was the opportunity to learn new ideas from another clime. I also loved the ideas shared and the two I worked with so far have great personalities. I think developing modules together also broadened my knowledge. I have always longed for an exchange program of some sort and working with them gave me a peek into what it would look like should I embark on that.
What did you learn/were there any cultural exchanges with the US volunteer and/or your host?
Yes, there were a few with the international partners. In developing the modules on my first assignment, Dr. Laurie Murrah-Hanson and I developed an in-depth module on program planning and development which broadened my knowledge. That stood out for me.
Working with Professor Gary Wingenbach was so rewarding as he explained how to use the OCI tool for institutional assessment in details. Listening to his sessions also gave me an insight to what practices are obtainable in teaching and learning in the United States. For instance, emphasis on other aspects of the learner apart from cognitive development is now top priority for me as I impact knowledge.
The hosts I have worked with so far are from my own section of the country, so no major exchange has taken place.
What lasting impact did volunteering with Winrock have on you?
It has aroused a desire to be selfless and make a difference in the agricultural sector. I admire the drive and focus of the organization. The passion of their staff to achieve results is also commendable and worthy of emulation. I also hope they keep this window open even after COVID19.