Dr. Andrew Sanchez recently completed his Farmer-to-Farmer assignment with the Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) in Nepal. Below, he reflects on his trip:
“This assignment was my first and has been a great opportunity to help a developing country to solve agricultural and natural resource problems through experimentation and research. It was also my first trip to Nepal, let alone south Asia. It has been eye opening, and I clearly see the need for further technology transfer and assistance so that developing countries can benefit from global advancements and increases capacity. Training and advancements through technology transfer and continuing education are key to empowering local people to solving their specific problems in agricultural and natural resource problems. The countries of the developed world cannot solve problems in the developing world by giving material goods to them, yet we can lessen the learning curve and empower individuals by providing help understanding technology emerging practices. We need to promote the sharing of technology and information so that people and communities are empowered.
When I decided to volunteer, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, and while I was assured by a fellow volunteer that I would be taken care of, I never anticipated how great this opportunity could be. Upon arrival and throughout my time in Nepal, Winrock’s small but dedicated team made me feel right at home, making it easier to focus on my task at hand – increasing the data handling and analysis capacity of young, experienced, faculties and selected post-graduate students.
My primary contacts in Nepal were Dr. Vrigu Duwadi and Mr. Chhan Bhattachan with Winrock, and Dr. Mohan Sharma, Professor and Continuing Education Center Director with the Agriculture and Forestry University of Nepal. I can’t say enough good things about these individuals. All of my activities while on assignment were coordinated through this team (with the invaluable inclusion of Krishna, our driver) to assure that we were delivering information that was pertinent to the audience and that facilities and logistics essential to the success of the training were available. In addition, all of these individuals had a hand in making sure I also got to tour campus, visit cultural and natural resources sites, and generally ensure that I received the best Nepali experience possible (which I think comes natural to them).”
Here’s a photo of Dr. Sanchez working with one of his trainees:
Dr. Sanchez reports that AFU students have been contacting him since his return to the US, taking the initiative to send more questions and continue in their quest to improve their knowledge and skills. These ongoing relationships are so valuable to both the trainees and the volunteer!
[Thanks for your hard work, Andrew!!]