Within this update, Ichobwe Paul Rioba, a Training Officer in the Leadership Program with Nuru Kenya, writes a wonderful description of how he utilizes leadership principles day to day. Below, find Ichobwe’s reflections on past challenges and his hopes for Nuru Kenya.

It’s a pleasure to have to opportunity to describe my experiences during my unique work with farmers in the field. From February 15, 2014 through March 10, 2014, I was part of a farmer outreach team that was responsible for spreading the message about the new AG loan package. I realized the application of the ‘holistic’ module in Nuru’s training series because members from all programs came together to form an active and vibrant team to help Nuru farmers understand, accept and take the newly introduced inputs. Being a facilitator whose facilitation is classroom-based, I found it exciting and interesting to facilitate outside of the classroom, talking to an ordinary farmer, and working with him directly in his own homestead. It was very different from a classroom set-up where participants are in a group. The other team members and I came to enjoy talking to a great number of farmers in the field.

Expecting challenges, we all worked together to talk with farmers about the new agriculture loan package. About 80% of the Nuru farmers we managed to talk with, were worried about the threatening Maize Necrosis Lethal Disease (MNLD) and drought that had hit them hard during 2013. However, together with my colleagues, I managed to use the skills I learned from my leadership training to help farmers understand that Nuru is handling the problem by introducing crops like millet and sorghum that are both disease and drought resistant.

Applying the concepts of servant leadership, bottom-up approach and strong communication skills, I was able to see a positive outcome by talking to the farmers about the benefits of the new agriculture loan package. It was great to see how the Nuru modules that are taught by the Leadership Program were essential and useful in reaching the community and building the foundation for solutions to the community’s needs.

I want to express my gratitude for all those who came together to create this farmer outreach program, especially the Leadership Program Manager Jane Omanga and Training Manager Paul Mwita. I especially want to express my gratitude to all the resourceful, encouraging, determined and focused farmer outreach team members who made this successful farmer outreach possible. I wholeheartedly acknowledge and appreciate Nuru for its well-designed and applicable modules in its training series. These helped us better understand and address the needs of the farmers in Kuria West.