At the request of Samaru College of Agriculture, Nigeria Jolene spent 17 days in Zaria Kaduna State assisting the college developing training and training materials for integrated pest management and pesticide safety. She also helped them develop a curriculum for a certification class that the host will offer its students.
My second Winrock assignment to Zaria, Nigeria to work with the Samaru College of Agriculture in pesticide safety and integrated pest management was as eventful as my first with the bonus of working with the same wonderful staff as before. I felt like I made friends during my first visit and it was nice to catch up, update each other on the past few months, discuss families and home life, and of course how the projects were going. My second assignment built upon my first and I used it as a chance to evaluate the progress that was made and provide some valuable feedback. I am impressed by their willingness to learn from us, volunteers. While it can be challenging to adapt certain first-world practices to their environment, the participants are always seeking better solutions and are willing to adjust practices. Sadly, some of the efforts are stalled by lack of infrastructure, goods, and resources, and manpower. Nonetheless, the participants view new knowledge as an opportunity to set new standards and find solutions. Pest management and pesticide use, which are worldwide problems, is an ongoing discussion. I have found that while there can be some unique environments, they face the same challenges as other countries and they are just as concerned about human and livestock health, environmental impacts, and sustainable farming practices. I was impressed with the amount of information they retained from my last visit and we were able to continue some of the large conversations we had last time. I feel their increased knowledge is being put to good use and they will continue to grow. My time with them has also given me a new perspective on pesticide education in my own community as well an introspective evaluation of my own life. Having worked with farmers that have so little, I can better understand how to work with limited resources in my own community, how to find solutions in strained situations, and how to guide people to protect themselves with limited support. I feel an increase in energy, creativeness, ingenuity, and determination to solve challenging issues that benefit my family and community. For that, I am very thankful.