Integrated Agriculture Activity trains youth as spray service providers in Adamawa and Borno States…
The USAID-funded Feed-the-Future Nigeria Integrated Agriculture Activity (IAA) recently concluded the training of 30 youths as spray service providers (SSPs) in Adamawa and Borno States, in North-Eastern Nigeria. The first sessions of the training, which began in February, and held in Borno had 15 participants. The Adamawa Agriculture Development Investment Limited Farming Skills Acquisition Centre (AADIL/FSAC) hosted the concluding sessions, with 15 youths in attendance and facilitated by CropLife Nigeria (CLN).
The training aimed to equip participants with the relevant skills to become expert SSPs and provide them with income-generating opportunities through rendering of agrochemical spraying services to farmers in their area. The learning sessions are part of the youth empowerment program of the IAA project.
The trained SSPs, all male and between 20 and 30 years old, are mostly practicing farmers and graduates of different tertiary institutions. The participants came from seven implementing Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Adamawa and five implementing LGAs in Borno. Because of reproductive health hazards involved in spray services and the heavy weight of the full knapsack sprayer, the training did not involve women.
Participants received training on weed and pest management, pest scouting, types and formulation of pesticides, personal protective equipment (PPE), first aid, record keeping, entrepreneurship, and customer relations.
In his comments during the closing program, the Activity’s Deputy Chief of Party (DCoP), Kayode Faleti, congratulated participants on taking part in the training. He urged them to be safety conscious while handling the chemicals and ensure that they make judicious use of the skills and tools they received. Responding to the DCoP, a participant from Hong LGA, Evans Ishaku, thanked IITA and USAID for giving them the opportunity and empowering them with skills.
The IAA supported the participants with knapsack sprayers and complete PPEs, which included safety caps, protective eyewear, overalls, respirators, hand gloves, rain boots, and logbooks to commence their enterprise activities in the farming season.
…and holds training on infant and young child feeding
Optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices are very crucial to the growth, development, health, and survival of every child. The Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) found that IYCF practices in Nigeria remain unsatisfactory as there is a low rate of timely breastfeeding initiation (38%) and lower rates of exclusive breastfeeding for six months (13%). They also estimate that nearly 60% of all childhood deaths are due to underlying malnutrition, while the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbates the problem of nutrition deficiency.
In efforts to improve participants’ nutritional status, the IAA, in collaboration with Adamawa State Primary Health Care Development Agency, recently conducted a 3-day training workshop on “Infant and young child feeding for Community Development Officers, Nutrition Focal Officers, and Social Workers” in Yola, the Adamawa State capital. The 21 participants (14 female and 7 male) were selected from seven implementing LGAs in the state. Facilitators took turns to explain why IYCF matters, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and everyday situations that affect infant and young child feeding considering participants’ individual experiences and circumstances.
The training featured interactive sessions, such as group discussion and participation, practical sessions, illustrations, and PowerPoint presentations. The workshop also included role-playing on counseling using case studies, group work, demonstration, gallery, discussion, question and answer sessions, and buzz groups.
Participants learned how to breastfeed with proper positioning through practical demonstration while using a counseling card as a guide throughout the training. Also, the use of Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) tape and its interpretation was demonstrated with IYCF data tools discussed in detail. The trainers also spoke about myths and misconceptions, women’s nutrition at different stages of life, feeding a sick child and when to take the child to the hospital, and other topics.
At the end of the workshop, participants developed their action plans to step down the IYCF training to participants in the LGAs they represent and use the knowledge gained themselves. The Activity conducted a post-test to confirm what they learned.