BOAT and Bicton College were pleased to welcome six course participants from Malawi (3) and Tanzania (3) to the second accredited course which started on April 10 2013. The Official opening of the Course was held on 15 April and was attended by approximately 40 people including Bicton Governors, staff, BOAT Trustees and Friends of BOAT. The Chair of Bicton College Governors, Jo Wymer, officially opened the Ceremony and emphasised how important BOAT was to the work of the College and how pleased the Governors were to support it. The College kindly hosted a buffet lunch after the Ceremony.

Fred Harper provided a background to the course and welcomed a special guest: Mrs Jean Mtethiwa, who is currently studying for a PhD at Cranfield University. Jean was the Principal of the Natural Resources College near Lilongwe in Malawi and has been a good friend to BOAT. She co-hosted the Workshop on Sustainable Agricultural Management in 2013. BOAT has also received students in the past from this College notably Kingsley Mkwamba who is now Acting Vice Principal. Jean is an engineer by training and found much to interest her at Bicton and amongst Trustees.

The students were then introduced to those present in the following order.

From Malawi

Blessings Kambombo who is a Project Manager for Concern Universal on the Msamala Sustainable Energy Project.

Mark Phiri who is Acting Programme Manager/Agriculture and Irrigation Specialist of the Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement Programme, Total Land Care.

Smorden Tomoka who is a Project Manager for Concern Universal for the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Projects in Dedza.

From Tanzania

Janeth Bendera who is a Tutor at the Livestock Training Agency, Buhuri Campus, Tanga.

William Moshi who is a Livestock Tutor and the Farm Manager at the Livestock Training Agency, Tengeru Campus, near Arusha.

Darlington Nkenya who is Acting Director, at the Livestock Training Agency, Mdaba Campus, near Songea.

The 2013 course was very intensive and all of the students worked hard to achieve the outcomes. More time was allocated for assignments this year but the timetable still became full with other activities. The feedback from the students on their experiences was very positive and some suggestions for changes in 2014 were made. All students considered the course to be relevant or very relevant to their home situation and returned with more confidence to carry out their work more effectively. They requested more time on Leadership, the incorporation of Project Management in Module 2, the moving of Marketing from Module 1 to Module 2 and some rearrangement of the order of delivery of subjects. They liked the three days on Communication, Decision Making and Personal Effectiveness but would like these items delivered earlier in the course.

There was a range of abilities in the group of six but all completed the course and assignments successfully. All students returned home safely and they will be contacted again when the assessment are finalised and in six months to seek their views after a lapse of time.

A pleasant and successful Presentation Evening attended by around 40 people was held at Fursdon House by kind permission of David and Catriona Fursdon. David Fursdon gave a fascinating talk on the history of his family and the estate and his wife Catriona presented the Certificates of Attendance and Pitman Certificates, together with a small gift from Bicton College, to each student. Guests were invited to tour the gardens and grounds. (Catriona Fursdon presents Certificates and a leaving gift to Janeth Bendera of LITA, Buhuri, Tanzania at the end of the course).

The delegates of the 2013 course were recognised at the Bicton College University Level Graduation Ceremony on 14th September 2013, where Fred Harper, Chairman of BOAT was one of the guest speakers.