Agricultural development scholars graduate Harper Adams University to head home and begin changing lives
Fifteen lead farmers and agricultural extension workers from across Africa and India have graduated from Harper Adams University, following a bespoke 10-week course in sustainable agriculture funded by the Marshal Papworth Fund, an agricultural development charity managed by the East of England Agricultural Society.
Speaking to the students, Harper Adams University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Ken Sloan, said: “This has been an incredibly humbling experience. I do want to thank the students because you are so incredibly generous about how you educate us about the experience that you’ve had and the experience that you bring.
“I said it at the event with Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal – that this is a two-way learning experience – this isn’t just about a community in the United Kingdom sharing skills and expertise, it’s actually your generosity in the different African countries and India, bringing your knowledge and insight to us and sharing it with us. Take everything you have learnt and share it. Change the life of someone else in the same way you have changed my life, and the life of people you have met while you have been here.”
Students are joined by Professor Ken Sloan, Sandra Lauridsen and Tom Arthey from the Marshal Papworth Fund, and Harper Adams University course leads Ed Mashatise and Mitch Crook
As well as being presented with their course completion certificates by Professor Ken Sloan, the day also included the students presenting their plans for a project that would use all their experiences and learnings from their time on the sustainable farming course to improve agriculture in their communities at home. These projects included themes of improving use of biological fertiliser and organic manures, modernizing pig farms in schools and for smallholders, how to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in agriculture, sustainable charcoal briquette production, leveraging aquaculture amongst young farmers, intercropping in maize for pest control, tropical forage grasses, introducing more productive sheep breeds, and helping school farms become more productive.
In Rwanda, Polyphile Ndayisenga, is a teacher in Bugarama, where he works with one of the Marshal Papworth Fund’s partner charities, Hands Around The World. Polyphile is responsible for the school farm, he said: “I know how difficult it is to teach a hungry child, and I know how hard it is to teach as a hungry teacher. It is part of the Rwandan government strategy that every child must be fed in school – we have school farms for that purpose – and with my time at Harper Adams University, thanks to the Marshal Papworth Fund, I will be able to make the feeding programme at my school more sustainable and roll it out to other schools in the area. Attendance and attainment rates both increase hugely when school feeding programmes are in place, so there is an opportunity to change the lives of the next generation.”
The 15 sustainable agriculture students from Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia, were selected by the charity partners of the Marshal Papworth Fund, including ADRA Ghana, Hands Around The World, Leprosy Mission, Ripple Effect, Teyapi4Peace and Tree Aid to study a bespoke 10-week practical course at Harper Adams University, one of the leading agricultural and horticultural universities in the country.
Tom Arthey, chairman of the Marshal Papworth Fund, said: “Thank you from the Marshal Papworth Fund committee to Harper Adams University and all their staff that have been involved, as well as those farms that have hosted the students for field visits. We are lucky and grateful to have such a supportive team at Harper Adams University, you really do put everything into the course and to supporting our students in and out of the classroom.”
“I would also like to thank our charity partners for selecting your candidates to put forward for the course – the course and its outcomes are only as good as the students that you select, they are a credit to you and your organisations and we can’t wait to see what the record 15 students go on to achieve when they return home. Their projects are truly inspirational.”
Tom finished: “The students have made huge personal sacrifices to attend a 10-week scholarship many thousands of miles from home, and we appreciate you making that commitment to your communities.”
The Marshal Papworth Fund provides scholarships for students from developing countries, including year-long Masters MSc scholarships to leading UK agricultural universities and colleges, and this bespoke 10-week short course, developed with Harper Adams University. To date, 243 students have been educated at UK agricultural universities as part of the Marshal Papworth Fund scholarship schemes.
To find out more about supporting the Marshal Papworth Fund, please contact Sandra Lauridsen on 01733 961024 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You can also visit our new website at www.marshalpapworth.com