Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Update from the field

From Robert Spencer, FTF Volunteer:  Here I am on my third volunteer visit this year and each one is great; as I put it “each trip is friends, food, education, and fun”. Field Officers Papy and Anderson are amazing hosts and always make sure we accomplish our mission while enjoying ourselves and serving the clientele. I have been coming to Haiti since 2006 and have become so accustomed to spending time here I consider it my ‘home away from home’. My travels continue to take my colleagues and I to villages further out from Cap Haitien (in the north) including the villages of Gran Pre, Caracol, Limonade, Lory, and Port Margot. And to the southwest part of Haiti which includes the villages of Aquin, Les Cayes, Asile, and Passe bois d’orme. As we make progress with increasing the people’s knowledge base, my presentations are further developed to cover more specific areas such as: animal husbandry, food safety as it applies to organ meat (i.e. liver), zoonotic and biologic concerns, home-style rabbit meat processing, and meat quality. Animal husbandry needs to be addressed since management styles tend to be lacking, and the people do not always comprehend the correlation between animal husbandry skills and how it can enhance (or destroy) animal productivity and profitability.

All this is based on suggestions from the field officers who work closely with me and receive feedback from the clientele.My participation in outreach programs in Haiti have taught me much over the years, such as how my “style or approach” to teaching is to gain interaction from the people. This applies to my programs in Haiti and the U.S. I figure if I can get people to interact with me in a country where I do not speak the language, processing the information. At the end of each seminar I tend to ask the audience then the people are understanding three questions: (1) Do you see the relevance of the information I have shared with you, (2) Do you see the potential to implement what you have learned, and (3) Do you believe this will help feed your families and allow you to generate revenues through the sale of this meat product? Their responses are a resounding yes, followed by an intensive thank you from the lead person in each community. This approach is working well within the U.S., and I have begun utilizing these same three questions in my programmatic evaluations to better assess impact.

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