Most of graduation ceremonies mark the end of schooling process, but obviously mark the beginning of assuming new work responsibilities. This was the commission dedicated to 27 master trainers who have been trained 3 yearlong by the Rwanda Dairy Development project RDDP through the Food and Agriculture Organization.

The graduation ceremony of these fore front Livestock intensification pioneers was held on 26th march 2021 at Rubona RAB station, and was officiated by Dr uwituze Solange the Deputy Director General of Animal Resources Research & Technology  Transfer, with the presence of the FAO representative in Rwanda and other various guests. 

According to Dr Solange, the graduation marks a very challenging and long way to go through towards livestock intensification, especially cattle breeding.

“You are now the front fighters of cattle development in this country, all farmers eyes are on you. Work hard to lift cattle farming to another level.” Commissioned Dr Solange to the newly graduates.

The team of graduates signed 6 performance contracts before the Deputy Director General of Animal Resources Research & Technology Transfer, and pledged to fulfill their commitment by the end of 2021.

Master Trainers who graduated started the L-FFS season long training from 2017 to March 2021. The training was

conducted by National Master Trainers with the technical support provided by FAO later in December 2020.

LFFS is an acronym of Livestock Farmer Field School. With the introduction of the Rwanda Dairy Development Project RDDP, a sustainable behavior change approach was needed to lead the country’s effort towards livestock intensification

Through the Livestock Farmer Field Schools, RAB/RDDP has assisted dairy farmers and farm assistants to engage in a process of hands-on field based learning over a production cycle of a cow covering “calf to calf” as the timeframe. Trainings focuses on the adoption of improved technologies and practices in dairy farming and milk handling using practical learning methodologies to help dairy farmers and farm assistants acquire and develop their knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in dairy management.

In addition to the technical topics, other households training methodologies including the Gender Action Learning Systems and the Value Based Holistic Community Development approach of Heifer International were integrated into L-FFS and have contributed to the empowerment and social, financial and human capital development of established farmer groups and their members. 

In its 4 years of operation in 12 districts of intervention, RDDP has trained 27 L-FFS Master Trainers, 65 L-FFS facilitators, 1647 L-FFS groups established, 41751 farmer members (25405 men: 61% and 16246 women:39%, with 13% youth).

Through the above numbers RDDP introduced the Dissemination of forages seeds and planting materials where at least 5,000Ha of land covered from 2018A to 2021A (December 2020) and more than 15 forage varieties disseminated), plus trainings on forage conservation. Among varieties of forage seeds distributed: Chloris gayana, Napier spp, Desmodium spp, Alfalfa, Mucuna, Calliandra, Leucaena, Brachiaria spp, Panicum Spp, Cencrus ciliaris

The graduation of Master trainers aimed at Empowerment of trained L-FFS Master trainers to graduate themselves the farmer facilitators; Celebration of achievements realized by the L-FFS during the past 4 years of implementation, New commitments and performance contracts for graduated master trainers; Validation of the RDDP/L-FFS approach and sharing the Rwandan experience with the World  

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