WPF visits South Africa, in the nick of time
On the move again, the WPF visited South Africa last week. We went to visit our local partners as well as deepen our relationships with others working in the poultry space in South Africa.
While in Pretoria, we met with government and non-government partners to brainstorm future partnerships. One exciting conversation focused on partnering with Franchising Plus to refine our approach for training rural farmers on chick management and basic business skills. COVID has certainly opened more minds to use of virtual training platforms. It also has underscored the inequities for those without regular internet access. We hope to develop tailored resources that can reach both types of farmers, particularly women.
We also were able to sneak in a trip to Pietermaritzburg where we were able to visit with partners from two long-running programs we support: the KwaZulu-Natal Poultry Institute (KZNPI) and Future Farmers Foundation. KZNPI is a poultry management training center located in Pietermaritzburg. This center trains small and medium-size poultry producers through short courses across a range of poultry production disciplines. We were able to sit in on a layer course while there and see students learning about egg grading and storage. Future Farmers Foundation runs an apprenticeship program focused on developing, as the name denotes, future farmers. The culmination of the program for top students involves an internship abroad where students gain first-hand work experience interning on farms overseas, including in the US.
One question we always ask ourselves is what the impact of our investments is. For training investments, impact measurement is a tricky question to answer given the lengthy time horizon for applying any learnings. As we think about deepening ties with partners and expanding to reach more farmers, though, this question is central to knowing if we are making a difference. We are working on strategies to improve how we gauge our success and look forward to sharing what we learn in future posts.
We were very fortunate to squeeze our trip in just before the world shut down again. It makes such a difference to get to meet in person – a Zoom call just isn’t the same.