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Winrock International

Volunteer Post

Celebrating Mr. Ebenezer Aboagye as Winrock’s Volunteer of the Month for April 2024

Winrock’s Volunteer of the Month for April is Mr. Ebenezer Aboagye. He volunteered with the Accelerated Dissemination of Soil Improvement Practices (ADSIP) under Enabling Farmers for Agricultural Transformation (EFAT) project in January 2024. The ADSIP project aims to enhance the capacity of agro-dealers in areas such as disseminating ISFM practices and technologies to smallholder farmers, addressing the needs of women and young farmers, understanding the impact of climate change on agriculture, and developing strategies for climate crisis adaptation. As a volunteer, Mr. Aboagye created and delivered ISFM training materials and co-facilitated a 4-day workshop with practical sessions. We asked Mr. Aboagye to reflect on his experience as a volunteer, and his responses are below:

Why did you want to volunteer?

To develop the capacity of smallholder farmers to enable them to reduce crop losses from pest outbreaks and unproductive soils thereby:

  • contributing to a reduction in hunger
  • increasing food security
  • increasing smallholder farmer income

What was the highlight of your most recent volunteer assignment?

  • I worked as a local volunteer, in-country
  • I helped to enhance the knowledge of 35 agro-dealers on the concept of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) Understanding the concept of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM)
  • It increased agrodealers knowledge of the impacts of climate change and ways to support smallholder farmers to overcome it.
  • I facilitated a field practical session to provide agrodealers with hands-on training on ISFM and its applications.
  • I equipped agrodealers with the skills to improve their business, networks, and promotion of ISFM technologies.

What made your Winrock assignment distinctive?

  • The subject area was quite grey. The participants knew the various components of ISFM but did not know it as a concept. It was interesting to explain and take participants through.
  • The field practical allowed the participants to have real-time knowledge of the technology.
  • WhatsApp group platform was created after the program to provide follow-up and to discuss issues on ISFM technologies by beneficiaries of the training workshop.

How does your experience affect your worldview?

I realized there was a huge gap between research and farmers, and that extension remains the most important chin that needs strengthening to ensure increased productivity.

What advice would you give a new volunteer?

Sacrifice his/her time, resources, and other lucrative assignments to assist in developing the capacity of smallholder farmers to increase productivity enhance food security, and improve their livelihoods.

How have your assignments made a difference in your own life? /Has your assignment caused you to do anything differently?

This is my first assignment, so I was motivated to engage and share my vast knowledge with farmers and other actors.

Why should people consider volunteering?

There are a lot of people who have vast knowledge but there is a huge gap in technology transfer due to inadequate financial resources to facilitate training. Volunteers are crucial in filling this gap. Smallholder farmers need resources and enhanced training for sustainable production of crops in their small-scale fields.  People should therefore consider contributing their time and expertise to support the smallholder farmers to increase productivity, enhance food security, and improve their livelihoods.

How do you feel about the support from Winrock, whether before, during, or after your assignments?

Winrock International provided excellent logistical and financial support for my recent assignment in the Upper East of Ghana. The coordination was excellent as I had to co-train with a local consultant who handled a separate module.

What do you do when you’re not volunteering?

I provide plant health management consultancy services to local organizations and government institutions.

Smallholder farmer in Arugu farming site using onion leaves as organic input to improve the fertility of the soil despite their alternate us as vegetable

Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement? In inspiring?

Yes. My former Regional Director of Agriculture inspired me to pursue academic degrees in the field of agriculture and to help educate rural farmers for the attainment of food security. 

Do you keep in touch with your host organization? [Host organizations are the organizations that receive volunteer support].

Yes. Always in touch with the activity coordinator at Winrock International through phone calls and the WhatsApp group platform.

How do you feel that your volunteer assignment has contributed to creating a shared understanding across different cultures through person-to-person interactions?

My volunteer assignment has contributed to my understanding of the different cultures in the Upper East Region of Ghana.