One of the objectives of the Building Nutritious Food Baskets project (BNFB) is to strengthen institutional and community capabilities, to produce and consume bio-fortified crops to reach a critical mass through initiatives, like training of trainers (ToTs), targeted step-down courses, and raising awareness through behavioral change communication targeting key stakeholder groups. To reach a critical mass producing and consuming biofortified crops, BNFB applies a “cascading” model for capacity development where experts (agriculturalists, nutritionists, marketing and gender experts) attend a 10‐day workshop run by partner academic institutions and national programs. These experts became the primary target, who in turn deliver a shorter version of a 5‐day ToT course to various levels of audiences (secondary and tertiary). This trend continues until the training is cascaded down to “farmer trainers” who finally train the end users in their communities. BNFB focuses on bioforitified crops ready for upscaling in Nigeria and Tanzania vis a viz pro vitamin A (PVA) maize, orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP), Vitamin A yellow cassava, and high iron beans.
BNFB has recently conducted several ToT courses focusing on different crops and priority topics – for example in collaboration with Research, Community and Organizational Development Associate (RECODA) and Sugarcane Research Institute (SRI – Kibaha), BNFB conducted a three day training of trainers (ToT) on post-harvesting management, marketing and utilization of orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP). The ToT was conducted on 13-15 March in Babati Tanzania and it targeted RECODA staff and her key partners to build their capacity in priority areas in OFSP to enable them to cascade down, and upscale these skills. It was an exciting time for the enthusiastic participants who engaged in the making of different value adding orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) products, including tambi, mandazi, juice, cake and crisps. This was the first of many such training of trainers activities that BNFB project has scheduled for the year 2017.
The second ToT training took place between 28 and 29 March at Kihesa church in Iringa district. BNFB, through one of its consortium partner, The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), in collaboration with Tanzania Center for Food and Nutrition (TFNC), conducted a ToT course on development, benefits, seed access and utilization of biofortified pro-vitamin A (PVA) (orange) maize. The two days course titled, ‘OFSP for income, food security and nutrition’ attracted 26 participants. Alongside raising awareness on the recently introduced PVA maize in Tanzania, the participants were equipped with knowledge on biofortification, and its role in addressing micronutrient malnutrition, and basic technical skills on PVA maize production and utilization.
BNFB has also backstopped and sponsored 6 of the 21 participants at the Agriculture and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI) in Nigeria to a 10 day ToT course on ‘Everything you have ever wanted to know about sweetpotato’. ARMTI, a center for excellent in agricultural and rural development policy and management training in Nigeria, is one of the institutions whose capacity was strengthened by Reaching Agents of Change project (RAC), to deliver Training of Trainer (ToT) courses on “Everything you ever wanted to know about sweetpotato.” and has since continued to implement the course and run it on a full-cost recovery basis. ARMTI is therefore an excellent example of the impact and sustainability of the RAC project’s capacity development efforts. RAC was implemented between 2011 and 2014, by the International Potato Center (CIP) and Helen Keller International, as an initiative that advocated for increased investment in Orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) to combat vitamin A deficiency among young children and women of reproductive age.
These courses are based on adult learning methodologies and are delivered through a blend of classroom based learning activities and practical hands-on activities. The next ToT training is scheduled to take place from May 8-19. The 10 day ToT training session will be held at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Murogoro, Tanzania and will focus on training trainers on ‘Everything you have ever wanted to know about sweetpotato’.
Successful participants in Training of Trainer (ToT) courses on biofortified crops production, agronomy, harvesting and post-harvesting management become subject matter expert. Following the trainings, they are expected and encouraged to cascade down their learnt expertise knowledge and skills, and to raise awareness to various target audience in their communities. This ensures promotion, production and increased utilization of biofortified crops in the community, resulting in reduction of hidden hunger and malnutrition.