In-country assistant coordinator, SANREM CRSP
As an internationally focused agricultural research initiative, Virginia Tech’s Sustainable Agriculture Natural Resource Management Collaborative Research Support Program (SANREM CRSP
) relies heavily on in-country partnerships to execute agricultural research, the focus of which is to identify ways to mitigate the effects of climate change in the developing world. The organization accomplishes this task primarily by executing conservation agriculture methodologies on research plots in 13 countries.
Partnerships with in-country personnel are critical in achieving long-term research objectives that are often coordinated over a long distance, involve myriad partners, and require collaboration with the local community.
At the SANREM CRSP LTRA-6 site
in Haiti’s Central Plateau, Assistant Coordinator Dilou Prospere provides an essential link between partners on the ground in Haiti and Virginia Tech faculty in Blacksburg, Va. He also works with two other partners — Zanmi Agrikol
, a Boston-based Partners in Health initiative, and Caritas
, a global confederation of Catholic relief agencies — to execute trials and research projects to benefit local farmers.
Michael Mulvaney (center), the assistant director of SANREM CRSP, and Dilou Prospere (left) lead a workshop in Haiti's Central Plateau.
This summer, Prospere partnered with three Virginia Tech faculty members to promote the concept of conservation agriculture in Haiti, a practice that was fairly unknown to smallholder farmers in the region. He assisted in holding workshops for the farmers.
"Meeting with the farmers was, and will continue to be, an important step in getting conservation agriculture techniques practiced and applied in the Central Plateau,” Prospere said in an email.
The workshops introduced more than 180 farmers to conservation agriculture techniques in three regions: La Chateau, Maissade, and Corporant. About 40 percent of the workshop participants were women.
“Through those workshops, we had face-to-face conversations with farmers where they were able to express their concerns, demonstrate their understanding of conservation agriculture, and ask questions regarding the benefits and disadvantages of conservation agriculture,” Prospere said. “From my prospective, the workshops were really successful and well seen by the majority of the farmers.”
Future workshops are scheduled in 2013 for the project. More information is available on the SANREM CRSP website