“I feel like I am now empowered and I am fully aware of situations and approaches to use to be able to move forward positively.”

– Pauline Asami, BecA-ILRI hub

ASSET (Agricultural Scientist Support Exchange Team) programme was funded in 2015 by the ENSA project that seeks to promote agricultural development through graduate student capacity building. Additionally, ASSET aims to increase effectiveness of agricultural scientists in the United Kingdom as well as Sub-Saharan Africa by forming lasting collaborative links between the two areas. The programme pairs students from the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa by assessing areas of study and identifying students with similar interests. Both students are then encouraged and supported in professional development of scientific writing through a peer-based network centred on peer-review exchange.

On the 23rd of November, newly selected participants were invited to attend a leadership and management workshop conducted by HFP::Consulting in Kigali, Rwanda. Dr Jodi Lilley, programme founder, introduced coaching methods and their practical application in peer review.

This year’s programme included 16 agricultural scientists of 12 different nationalities across the group. Prior to the workshop all participants identifed a personal goal for the week to aim towards. At the end of the course, personal reflection and review forms were handed out to gain insight into which areas of the course students particularly found helpful. The following points were noted;

  • Participants particularly enjoyed training in active listening as they felt it was a  fundamental part of all the other communication skills. Similarly, many members of the  group mentioned particularly enjoying the personality assessment and conflict  management seminars.
  • Every participant stated that they felt they had achieved, and often surpassed, the  personal goal they had set for the week.
  • Many of the participants reported that they made unexpected personal discoveries about  themselves during the course and that these left them able to better  understand or communicate with others.

After returning from the training and management course, the members of ASSET participated in three rounds of peer-review with documents key for their success.

“The areas I wanted to learn most about were covered so well, even beyond my expectations.”

– Anne Muia, Kenyatta University