|Landcare Masterclass Dec 5-8 2016
Jason Alexandra, Keith Bradby and Andrea Mason from Australian Landcare International undertook the Landcare Masterclass in Solwezi, Zambia in December 2016. Training was carried out over 4 days as part of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Project, Developing Value Chain Innovation Platforms to Improve Food Security in East and Southern Africa led by the World Agroforestry Centre (WAC) and the African Landcare Network (ALN).
41 participants registered and attended the training sessions throughout the four days consisting of farmers, ministry officials, and cooperative representatives from Solwezi District and organisations within Zambia but other countries were also represented including Kenya, Malawi, Namibia and South Africa.
Day 1 – Setting the scene: introduction to Landcare in Australia and Africa, Landcare and other grassroots approaches, the role of coordinators and outlining project development for the next 3 days.
Day 2 – Developing Projects: local and larger scale strategy working groups and value chains, planning, monitoring, working with diversity.
Day 3 – Field Trip and Market opportunities: site visit to local farmer group, onsite discussion, Value chains and linkages presentation from local mining company and foundation.
Day 4 – Development of Proposals: preparation and presentation of project plans, key learnings and reflections
Three main themes were developed as projects over the four days:
• Community/farmer group action (using a Landcare approach) in production, conservation farming and in developing value chains for marketing produce. The training provided skills in project planning and community development.
• Development of new networks for extension officers and project managers to foster interagency collaboration and increase local participation at the grass roots level within Zambia and across the region.
• Large scale land restoration across the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries using the Landcare approach. (Participants from South Africa, Malawi, Namibia, Kenya, Zambia)
Farmers, extension officers, researchers, project managers and the ALI team shared experiences, learnt from each other and developed projects based on the Landcare model. On the final day, all participants committed to taking action to further ideas discussed beyond the four days of training.