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Volunteer Post

“The Best Reward as a Volunteer”

Dr. Cheng-Sheng Lee

This week’s blog features, Dr. Cheng-Sheng Lee, Executive Director of the Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture, an organization jointly administered by the Oceanic Institute and the University of Hawaii. He recently returned from a volunteer assignment in Myanmar where he provided training to catfish farmers and breeders at the Myanmar Fisheries Federation office and a practical training at Yangon University in collaboration with the the USAID-funded Developing a Sustainable Seafood Industry Infrastructure project in Myanmar.

Dr. Lee noted, “The best reward as a volunteer is to work with a group of trainees who are eager to learn. At the conclusion of the workshop, I saw several sub-groups were formed and talking to each other. Later, I was informed that they were organizing a small working group to facilitate communication in the future, it was so great to hear that. I wanted them to network at my first day lecture, but did not expect it would happen right after the workshop. They are one of the best groups I have worked with in my nearly 50-year career in aquaculture. It was so enjoyable to work with them. The local catfish farming industry will expand as the result of this workshop.”

One participant from Maubin University expressed his thanks, saying, “This training helped us organize catfish farmers from different regions and know the existence of laboratory facilities that can help us with testing and research finding.”

Dr. Lee expects that the workshop will lead to an increased number of farmers who will start to spawn stinging catfish during the upcoming spawning season, an increase in production of stinging catfish fingerlings, improved interactions and relationships between farmers and university faculty, an increase in university faculty and students’ interests in aquaculture, and increased communication of the working group following the workshop. Dr. Lee concluded by saying, “I felt my time with them was worthwhile and am inspired to continue doing more volunteer works.”

Dr. Lee in Twante Township, conducting an initial field visit of the catfish farms prior to training.