The Training of Teams of Trainers (ToToT) of Hindukush Region was held in Islamabad, Pakistan. Five-day training program commencing from 12th June, 2019 aimed to facilitate and provide training skills to the potential trainers of Hindukush Region. 16 participants including teams of Trainers and SUNSAI partners participated in the training. The objective of the ToToT program was to assist the local potential trainers to implement the Capacity Development Program (CDP) that was designed to spread the message of Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture (NSA) at the grass root level. Potential trainers are the channel through which NMA objectives will be further conveyed to Rural Service Providers (RSPs), the ToToT program focused on enhancing the skills of the trainers about the nutrition sensitive agriculture and how to further use this knowledge to train respective RSPs and intuition for the development of NMA project.
The ToToT program started with the golden circle phenomenon and its relation with the NMA project. Mr. Konrad Hauptfleisch master trainer described how we approach ‘why’ (the main purpose) of any idea. ‘Why’ is also associated with the reflection question and how someone would reflect on their idea based on past experience, he added. After that ‘how (action) and ‘what’ (theory) were discussed as well as being the part of golden circle phenomenon.
The ToToT program focused on two main objectives, firstly the program was well directed towards the training and development of the trainers and the second objective was to enlighten the trainer with the significance of sustainable agriculture, organic agriculture and agro -ecological farming system. Trainer used certain techniques to train the trainers effectively, the techniques included Q/A, brainstorming sessions, fish bowl, world café, icebreakers, white board and flipchart demonstration, presentations by the trainers and pop quiz session (at the start of each day). These activities turned out to be significant tool for the learning of trainer as it gave them the knowledge about the how to further implement the capacity development program (CDP) in their respective areas and to RSPs. The training covered the knowledge of Eco agriculture farming system and sustainable agriculture extensively. The main focus was to implement the CDP and NMA objectives on a micro scale in trainers’ respective regions. Trainers were asked to design a program, in which they had to explain how they will meet the objectives of NMA project while implement them in the local market and what challenges would they face while implementing and what are the solution to those problems and how to eliminate the possible hurdles.
On the second day of the program, field excursion was planned for the teams of trainers. Trainers visited National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC; http://www.parc.gov.pk/index.php/en/2013-04-11-06-13-50/narc-islamabad) located in the vicinity of Islamabad. Program focused on the horticulture department of the research center, trainers were demonstrated by the scientific officers Ms. Samira and Dr Riaz. They briefed the visitors on the production of different types of grapes, peaches, apricot, lychees and etc. while in vegetables white bringles, capsicum, beef tomato, cherry tomatoes, coriander, parsley, chilies etc. Mostly the research is done on off season vegetables of summer season because they have lack of cold weather facilities. The production of these fruits was for the research purposes and how can we grow them in different environment, officers told the trainers. The research center is also working on organic and nutritious agriculture; the successful experimented yields are introduced in the markets. Participants were very keen to ask questions from the scientists at the research center, trainers were also interested to introduced new fruits’ yield to their local farmers in their regions. Later, the trainers were demonstrated on the production of vegetables. The horticulture department is currently working on the production organic vegetables that include tomatoes, capsicum, potatoes, bringles and many more. The research center has the facilities of controlled temperature and moisture; vegetables are grown in those facilities to determine the optimal environmental factors required for the production of organic yield.
During the ToToT program, trainers took sessions on different topics such as value and supply chain models, market system development and nutrition sensitive agriculture etc. They talked about how to ensure that these strategies could benefit the project.
Last but not least, some trainers also pledge to add value to NMA project as well. Dr. Ishtiaq Deputy Director Agriculture Department District Kharmang (Baltistan region) has pledged to translate the whole curriculum of NMA project into Urdu language, this step would benefit the local RSPs as it will be easy to understand and the objectives will be communicated properly. Similarly, Dr. Mir Nasir from KIU University Gilgit Baltistan has pledged to add the NMA project curriculum in the mainstream syllabus of their educational institute. This will be a break through as the new graduates of the institute will be educated about the capacity development program in their course and they will be prepared for the challenges that might occur in future. This will also allow students to research on the CDP which will open new doors of development and it can also introduce new techniques and methods for the execution of the NMA project.