By Alice Mar*
January 26, 2016—Nearly 60 women and men from three communities near Accra, the capital of Ghana, participated in trainings last fall to build their capacities for sustainable agriculture and nutrition awareness, trainings they hope will set them on the road to achieve greater food security.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) sponsored the trainings, after which workshop leaders identified eight participants as possible “farmer extensionists” or nutrition promoters. The extensionists and promoters are individuals who are deemed to have the capacity to effectively “extend” what they learned in the UMCOR workshops by sharing it with their neighbors.
“Our vision is that those we train will not only practice what they learned and thereby improve the health and well-being of their own families but, also, will share their knowledge—formally or informally—with others,” said Alice Mar, UMCOR executive secretary for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security.
The value of this approach is independence. “Through this social promotion a larger impact that is not reliant on outside actors or resources is possible and sustainable,” Mar explained.
It has long been a foundation of UMCOR’s Sustainable Agriculture and Development (SA&D) program to offer training and education to communities that empower them to address malnutrition, alleviate poverty, strengthen resources, and become self-sufficient.