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Training to Capacitate Students: Making an Impact
30 April 2012 - 11 May 2012


Skills development when addressing climate change impacts is critical as climate change cuts across all aspects of life. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) provided training on the International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT) model to 7 post graduate students from national universities in the three SECCAP focal countries: Swaziland, Lesotho and Malawi as well as from The University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa. The training was held in Pretoria, South Africa, from 30 April to 11 May 2012. The students are being funded by The Food Agriculture Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network's (FANRPAN), SECCAP project (http://www.fanrpan.org/projects/seccap/), in partnership with International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The training is being funded by IDRC and USAID.

Student Voices:

Kanono Thabane Kanono Thabane is an MSc Economics student from Lesotho. As an aspiring development consultant, he hopes to make a contribution to “poverty alleviation through improved modelling techniques and early warning systems.” Kanono was grateful to FANRPAN for affording him the opportunity to make a contribution to development initiatives through this comprehensive training initiative.
Catherine Ngambi Agri-business is topical and current, especially against a backdrop of poverty and food insecurity. A budding Agri-business manager is Catherine Ngambi from Malawi who has benefited from the training session in terms of “proposal and report writing”. This is evident in her desire to attend further training sessions to “enhance my (her) knowledge”.
Majahodvwa Nkonde Africa, and Swaziland in particular, would benefit greatly from a field of study like Agricultural and Applied Economics, a field of study (MSc) that Majahodvwa Nkonde, who hails from Swaziland, is pursuing. This promising young man is writing a thesis on climate change and vulnerability and this training session has added substantial value on the road to this goal and his vision of pursuing “a PhD in policy and trade in future”. He found the training invaluable, especially adding to his skills to “analyse data for future research papers”. He suggested that a session on policy analysis would have added value to the training intervention.
Phindile Shongwe Also studying toward a MSc in Agriculture Applied Economics is Phindile Shongwe, from Swaziland. This bright lass found the training stimulating, especially in helping her understand “the use of crop modelling to predict future behaviour of crops in terms of yields, demand and supply of products”. She would like to see the inclusion of the relationship between economic models and impact models in future training initiatives.
Nkulumo Zinyengere Nkulumo Zinyengere, a PhD student from University of Cape Town, is determined to “enter the community development field mostly in food security and poverty alleviation”. He found the training exercise beneficial in the sense that it gave him a “perspective away from the technical science of my research towards community application”. He would have liked to engage more with climate change and crop modelling to give him “more context to the science”.
Mkuwanda Mtimuni Malawi, according to Mkuwanda Mtimuni, lacks expertise in policy analysis and this dimension in the training programme gave this enterprising student a new perspective on Agri-business so that he can complete the Masters programme in Agri-business at Bunda College in Malawi. The structure of the training afforded him the opportunity to “learn different principles and disciplines within the agri-business sector”. He, however, required more information on the component of cost benefit analysis.
Relebohile Letele In pursuing an MSc degree in Economics, Relebohile Letele, is studying the impacts of climate change on crop production. The training has been beneficial by equipping her with “different skills and learning different models that analyse climate change.” This young lady from Lesotho was pleased with the training intervention. “Learning the IMPACT model has made me realise that the cost could be quantified and the cost benefit analysis could be undertaken at national and regional levels,” she said.


It is clear that students benefitted from this valuable training intervention and are clamouring for the next training session.

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