Dominica is now poised to benefit from a training project dubbed: “Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)” which is being undertaken by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
The overall objective of the CSA training is to equip Agriculture Extension Officers, Forest Rangers, and other affiliated professionals with knowledge and facilitation skills to build capacity in Climate-Smart Agriculture as an approach to increasing climate resilience and sustainable development of the agricultural sector. This objective will be achieved using a three-phase approach.
The objective of Phase 1 is to increase the knowledge and critical thinking skills of trainers on core and specialized CSA modules/content. The objective of Phase 2 is to develop the facilitation knowledge and skills of trainers to effectively deliver content on CSA to technical officers and farmers. Phase 3 will focus on the trainers building the capacity of non-trainers (technical/extension officers and farmers).
The agricultural division recently held phase 3 whereby a wider body of extension staff within the division of agriculture will be exposed to the training exercise. The objective of this exercise is to facilitate a wider community outreach whereby the extension service will engage the rural farming community.
At the event which was held at the Public Service Union (PSU) building, technical specialist of IICA, Kent Copiel, said this partnership with UNDP deals with building livelihood resilience by incorporating, a gender-sensitive approach or responsive approach looking at disaster risk management or disaster reduction methods as well as sustainable livelihood methods in building resilience within certain hazard prone communities.
He said the project focuses on three parishes, namely, St. Patrick, St. Paul and St. David.
“We are the stage of component which deals with promoting climate-smart agriculture and we took a different approach in how we approach the strengthening of capacity of the beneficiaries in the targeted communities, and our focus was placing a lot of emphasis on training of trainers,” he said.
Coipel continued, “I think we have to continue to recognize the importance of our agricultural extension in capacity building of farmers and producers. So our emphasis was to focus on building the capacity of our cadre of agricultural technicians and we conducted some pre-assessments of the specific training needs that we need to really focus on especially in the communities and among the technicians.”
He said during phase 1 and phase 2 emphasis was placed on designing a methodology that will allow the extension officers to be able to provide training to the beneficiaries. He added that a series of modules and the training material were developed that can be used by the extension officers to train the beneficiaries.
The next phase will deal with building the capacity of the extension officers to be able to pass on the information. A cadre of personas trained we had about five team leaders and two persons outside of the ministry who were trained under that phase.