Abuja (ILO News): The ILO organized a 3-day Training of Trainers Workshop on Work Improvement in Neighborhood Development (WIND) Programme. The WIND training programme is implemented under the Food Africa Project; a private public partnership project with United Nations agencies ILO, FAO, SDG Fund, &ITC, and private partner Sahara Group and the Roca Brothers with the Kaduna State government. Following the completion of a needs assessment conducted in October 2018, the WIND training manual was adapted to address the needs of the farmers in Jere community, Kaduna State. The program is a participatory programme directed at providing solutions to agricultural challenges in rural areas to improve health, safety, working and living conditions of farmers to increase productivity and quality of life.
The three day training of trainers (ToT) workshop which held from December 4-6 2018 targeted leaders of Famers’ Co-operatives in Jere Community as participants and was facilitated by Dr. That Khai, the ILO Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Specialist. The first day of the ToT workshop was designed as a practical field visit to a farm and farm house to complete a safety checklist of farm practices to improve understanding of the practical aspects of the WIND programme principles and guides. The visit afforded the participants the opportunity to identify positive and negative aspects of routine farming practices.
The final two days of the workshop were conducted as participatory seminars. In the opening remarks at the first day of the seminars, the Director of the ILO Abuja office -Mr Dennis Zulu stated the importance of the workshop and the WIND approach to improving safety and health in farming practices. In the remarks delivered by a representative, Ms Olatawura Ladipo-Ajayi, he noted that the WIND training programme provides practical responses to the special challenges of agricultural safety and health. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of the participants taking full advantage of the workshop to improve the quality of their work and more importantly as trainers who are expected to extend the knowledge gained from the training programme to the members of their co-operatives and community.
In addition, Mr Zulu emphasized the participatory and action-oriented training approach of the WIND programme, designed for rapid and sustainable improvements in farmers' working conditions. He reiterated the importance of active engagement with the workshop materials as the WIND program is designed to be reliant on, and responsive to, farmers' own initiatives, knowledge and resources.
Addressing the workshop, the Sahara Foundation representative, Mr. David Ekegum expressed his delight at the workshop and was happy to see the participants were engaging with the workshop materials. He mentioned that the Sahara Foundation is really passionate about the training and he hoped that the participants would not only apply the lessons in their work, but also train their Co-operative members using the knowledge from the workshop.
The workshop sessions covered four main topics: Storage and Handling of Materials; Workstations and Tools; Work Environment and Control of Hazardous Chemicals; and Welfare Facilities and Community Cooperation followed by interactive sessions and group work.
Speaking on behalf of the participants following the sessions, Mr David Raya, An Extension Officer based in Jere community, Kaduna State expressed his appreciation to the ILO for organizing the training programme. He noted that the knowledge gained from the workshop will go a long way in improving their living and working conditions on their farms. Mr Raya also extended his gratitude to all the implementing partners of the Food Africa Project for the initiative. He provided assurances of their commitment to making improvements in their farming methods.
The workshop concluded with participants developing an action plan for both short and long-term changes in their community, home and farming practices; and a simulation programme of a training session by the participants. These action plans will serve as the basis of a follow-up to monitor impact of the programme and improvements in safety, health and living/working conditions in Jere community.
Food Africa Project:
The Food Africa Project is an innovative public-private partnership between the SDG Fund, UN Agencies, private sector and Nigerian government to improve food security and nutrition, and alleviate poverty by strengthening of local value chains for farmers. The pilot project in Kaduna provides a backward and forward integration approach for food supply chain management and introduces more sustainable practices to reduce crop waste, and improve smallholder farmers’ profitability. Recognizing the link between the gaps in skills and structural unemployment in the region, the project promotes income generating opportunities and offer technical support to promote trade of local goods and services.
The Project is being implemented as a collaboration between several specialized UN Agencies, providing expertise on labour and employment (ILO), food production (FAO), and international trade (ITC); private sector- Sahara Group, the Roca Brothers; the United Nations’ SDG Fund, and the Kaduna State Government.