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“A beautiful experience worth living”: how a Crossroader engaged women and youth in agroecology

An agricultural engineer with thirteen-year experience in sustainable economic and social development in developing countries, Pierre-Marie Nkontchou was looking for his next challenge when he came across Crossroads International’s work. He was instantly attracted to Crossroads’ vision. “Crossroads talks about one world. For me, this is a strong word. It talked to me. […] Also, Crossroads promotes empowerment for local beneficiaries. [..] When we build capacity, afterwards people can take charge. For me, this is a very important aspect,” Pierre-Marie explained.

Pierre-Marie was selected as a volunteer Advisor in Agroecology with Crossroad’s Togolese partner La Colombe to support the implementation and development of their agroecological project. This project uses an innovative layering approach on very small plots of land to diversify the production and increase yields.  During his six-month mandate, he trained youth in the different farming methods and taught them how to work efficiently as a group. He also trained the technical staff from La Colombe so they could take over the training of the local farmers once he was gone.

“There was a good level of farmers’ involvement in the training we were giving and especially among women. […] I managed to convey a message that motivated women to participate,” Pierre-Marie added when asked about his achievements.

La Colombe’s garden plot where Pierre-Marie worked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even through his practice of soccer with local youth he managed to promote La Colombe’s work, providing information about the agroecological project to young people who were interested.

Pierre-Marie said his volunteering experience was rewarding both professionally and personally. “It’s a beautiful experience worth living.”