Today’s blog post comes from Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer David Ending, who worked with the Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) in Nepal to help develop an evaluation action plan.
After his first week in country, David explained:
Coming to Nepal is a tremendous opportunity to learn with university staff. Having worked on and off in Africa for 45 years it is easy to apply lessons learned from many places. A big advantage in Nepal is the network that Winrock staff has developed. Two of the three professional staff of Winrock Nepal went to AFU. They went to school with many of the staff and have an excellent professional relationship. They were able to set up meetings with all key people before starting the main assignment. Having the support of all staff levels makes the assignment that much easier.
In relation to the university staff, they were well prepared to develop an Action Plan. In 2013 they prepared a strategic plan which served as a starting point for developing an Action Plan. The Director of Planning put together a good multi-disciplinary team. The Action Plan was expanded to include: who is doing what and when, financial implications, what is going to be evaluated, how it is going to be evaluated, and what action will determine that the activity has been met. In addition, instead of looking at what is done even without a plan, the importance of innovation has been introduced. Planning with a purpose towards building a stronger university has come to the forefront.
AFU can be elevated by dedicated staff to become an engine of change. The most important point is to work with farmers (extension) to improve the quality of life. Before I leave Nepal, the Action Plan will include a roadmap for becoming the best university in the world in one area.
And at the end of his assignment, David summarized his trip with these thoughts:
Winrock staff should be highly commended for the great job they did in putting together an assignment that can have an impact on thousands of people. There were excellent relations between Winrock and the Agriculture and Forestry University.
The Director of Planning of AFU put together an excellent team and she skillfully directed the process of developing an evaluative action plan. The team adopted the motto = One Team – One Goal. The result of this assignment was a very good evaluative action plan.
At the beginning of the assignment the following question was poised:
What can AFU do that is better than any university in the world?
The starting point for answering this question lies with extension. AFU can uplift farmers by assisting them to build their communities. Farmers can improve their quality of life by collecting information that they can use to make decisions about what to produce, when to produce what to sell, when to sell, and where to sell. If farmers are successful in obtaining and utilizing information, they can train other farmers.
The objective of extension is to empower farmers. Farmers are capable of obtaining any goal when they work together as a team. The fact that AFU has an extension arm through the Continuing Education Center facilitates the development of farmers.
Winrock partnering with AFU is a good fit. Thousands of people can be reached if emphasis is placed on improving the quality of life of farmers. One of the strengths of AFU is the fact that different approaches can be tried. Seeing the result within 6 months would be greatly appreciated.
Having the opportunity to work with AFU was greatly appreciated. Winrock selected a motivated partner. How the opportunities are carried out will determine the level of success.