Wednesday, December 26, 2012

From John's Africa Trip: Building Support for Farmers of the Future

Many good ideas die at the pilot phase for lack of strong local ownership and support. Given that our hope for Farmers of the Future is to change the mindset towards farming on a national basis, building ownership and support at the local and national levels is critical to its ultimate success. 

The Minister of Education, Mme Ali Mariama Elhadj Ibrahim,
giving her Keynote address at the FOF opening ceremony.
Our local team spent a year working with the Ministry of Education to develop the classroom curriculum. The lengthy process involved using Ministry pedagogues and involving more people at more levels, especially at the approval stage. But the investment in time paid off; we are thrilled that we now have the strong endorsement of the Ministry, and that we can use their name on our teaching materials. The Minister herself was the keynote speaker at the FOF opening ceremony!

During John's week in Niger, there were lots of meetings to share FOF goals, specific program details and hopes for the future. They met with senior officials within the Ministry of Education. They also met with senior government officials, including the High Commissioner of the 3 N’s Initiative, Niger’s national priority to achieve food self sufficiency. They even had dinner at the home of the senior advisor to the Prime Minister! 

Dinner at the home of Bachir Fifi,
advisor to the Prime Minister of Niger.
Bachir is the tall man in the back on the right.

There were also meetings with the US Embassy and US development organizations. In particular, they met with Richard Bell, who is #2 at the US Embassy (the Ambassador was in the US during the time of the visit), manager of USAID in Niger, and manager of ADF (African Development Fund), another US government agency that funds development work in Africa. Aside from all of these people, they also met with several prospective partners and funders for the project!

Dov discusses the FOF concept with Ahmadou Ndiade,
acting manager of USAID in Niger
We are so proud of the incredibly positive reception of the FOF concept. Everyone recognizes that it addresses a critical need: to help farmers transition from subsistence farming to more intensive and productive farming practices. Everyone John and the team met with see FOF as an important enabler to the country achieving its 3 N’s goal. 

As a result of all this work, EPN is well on its way to building the buy-in and commitment required to take the program far beyond the pilot phase. We are so excited about the potential for Farmers of the Future, and we couldn't have garnered the support from all of these government and education officials without your support coming first and foremost. 


  1. A very important and exciting, but often overlooked step -getting local buy-in. One feels the potential for great things to come.

    1. Farmers of the Futures has tremendous potential, and as you can tell, wonderful support at the national level. Thanks for your support!

  2. From Lilly Oyare, published with her permission:

    "Happy Holiday! Thank you for your frequent updates!

    Cheers 2!


  3. Dear Lilly - Congratulations to YOU on Little Rock's moving into its beautiful new location. We can't wait to visit it!