On Saturday 26th September, delegates who attended the 2015 Institutional Management & Business Planning course held at Bicton College were recognised for their achievement along with Bicton’s Higher Education students at a graduation ceremony in Otterton, Devon. Although not present, having returned to their native countries back in June, BOAT Chairman David Wendover announced their names and all delegates were loudly applauded for their effort by all those attending. Below is Kennedy Orwa’s speech on behalf of BOAT delegates during the presentation evening with BOAT Trustees and Bicton staff on 4th June.
It gives me great pleasure to be here with you this evening. On behalf of the BOAT Delegates of 2015, let me thank BOAT Trustees for the opportunity given to each one of us to attend the BOAT programme of training this year.
We have spent valuable moments with the trustees and staff of Bicton College, for our purpose, all represented by David Wendover. Each minute spent with them has been valuable in terms of our learning and experiencing the social life in the UK.
I do recall the weekend of 23rd and 24th May. During that weekend, we were all taken in by the BOAT Trustees and we spent the weekend with them. We got opportunities to experience normal life at their homes. When we reconvened after the weekend out, as any other school children, we compared notes on our experiences. We discovered that each one of us had a great time out there. To us, it was a true English hospitality and, for that, we are very thankful.
Concerning the training, let me draw your attention to the situation in Africa. Statistics may differ by country, but generally, the larger proportion of Africans depend on Agriculture for income and for food. We have the necessary resources – land and human. Technology is not necessarily as advanced as in Europe. However, with the resources we have, we should be able to produce much more than we actually do.
The production challenge may be solved in many different ways, but key among these is improving management. Through this training, there has been great improvement in our management capacity. The required changes to improve production may seem enormous. However, as individuals, we have the faith that we can deploy the knowledge we have gained and contribute positively to improve the sector.
It starts with change in how I do things. Then I should be able to influence the few people that I supervise. Eventually, my influence should permeate my organization. If one organization, and another, and another do the right things, we should be able to improve agricultural production in our countries and, eventually, our national policies on agriculture.
Some of you have visited Africa and seen how agriculture is practiced there. We had the chance to visit farms as part of our learning. Indeed there is a clear difference between how agriculture is practiced in the UK, compared to our countries. We have to change our management and farming techniques to increase production, and this training is a good first step.
During our presence at Bicton, we have understood the efforts of the BOAT Trustees in order to find money to support our training. We have seen that they put in a lot of time and efforts, and it is a great challenge. The fact that all of you are gathered here this evening is a symbol of unity of purpose, and it brings hope. We thank you very much for coming and hope for your continued support for this training programme.
In one of our discussions, we asked ourselves what we could do as BOAT alumni to further the course of the BOAT Trustees in Africa. We did not find an answer to that question. However, we are happy that the question came up in the first place, for we believe therein lies the first step to an answer that can be implemented in future.
It is our hope that going forward, there will come ideas for substantial partnership with the BOAT programme to improve management in the agriculture sector in Africa.
Otherwise, let me end by thanking you once more. Have a good evening.
Kennedy Orwa, 4th June 2015
Kennedy Orwa with former Bicton College Principal Jane Townsend
Below is a press clipping from the Sidmouth Herald about this years course –