Saturday, April 18, 2009

Technical training in Segou


Joel is a volunteer in the San region, like me. His counterpart developed the Plasa method which is a tree planting method for the dry season. Here he demonstrates how to do it for other volunteers and their counterparts. The man helping him has a tree nursery and hadn't heard about the method before - he's now really excited to try it out on his own trees.

Esayi and I went to Segou this past week along with other volunteers from the region and their counterparts for a more focused technical training on things like tree grafting, soak pits, the Plasa method (a method for planting trees in dry/hot season developed by Jude Thera), shea work and solar dryers as well as how to draft project proposals and funding sources. It was a great opportunity for volunteers to share what projects they are trying to get started in their villages and for our counterparts to meet one another and discuss their ideas. We did a lot of round table discussion and also met with over 15 NGO's represented in the Segou region.

It's incredibly fascinating seeing our counterparts get so excited about projects and also talk with one another about work going on in different areas of Mali. Communication isn't easy here - electricity is sparse and while lots of people have cell phones, that doesn't mean they have a disposable income to make a lot of calls. With volunteers all over Mali there's an instant network of people and volunteers who are well connected to one another and can work to connect people who specialize in tree grafting or planting and shea work to come and do formations in our village and vice versa.

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