Delegates on arrival along with BOAT Trustees and Friends of BOAT.

There were 27 applicants from six African Countries for the 2017 Course. Finally 10 well qualified, mature students were selected. Once again Visas proved to be a problem. James Longwe from Malawi initially had his Visa refused but application problems were resolved with the assistance of the local Member of Parliament and he arrived one week late.

The Course started on 19th April with six African students. After five days of arrival, induction and some teaching the Course continued for the next five weeks. As in previous years the fully timetabled Course was intense with many hours in the classroom and written assignments submitted. Again it was necessary to find outside tutors to supplement the teaching by B.O.A.T. Trustees and Bicton College Staff. Classroom work was supported with visits to Kingston Maurward College in Dorset, the Devon County Show, Vapormatic and Mole Valley Farmers.

The following attended the 2017 Course.

From Kenya

Shem Kambogo – Deputy County Director, Agricultural Engineer, Ministry of Agriculture, Migori County, close to the Tanzania border in South West Kenya.

Patrick Kigoro – Programme Co-ordinator, Integrated Community Development Services of the Anglican Development Services, Isiolo, north of Mt Kenya.

Kennedy Gichira – Regional Development Co-ordinator & CEO Anglican Development Services at Nyeri South East of Mt Kenya.

Emily Ongus – Manager, Biodiversity Community Carbon and Livelihoods Project, Zeitz Foundation, Laikipia.

Gordon Owino – Agroforestry Officer, Rafiki wa  Maendeleo Trust, Bondo,  close to Lake Victoria, near Kisumu, Western Kenya.

From Malawi

Kennedy Nazombe – Staff Associate Lecturer in Land Administration, University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Lilongwe.

James Longwe – Executive Director of Participatory Development Initiatives. This is an NGO working in Water Supply, Sanitation, and the Hygiene Sector. The aim is to promote safe water supply, hygiene and sanitation in vulnerable communities in five Districts in Central and North Regions of Malawi.

The Course was successfully concluded and all of the Trainees passed.

At the end of the Course the Questionnaire Survey revealed another encouraging feedback. On a scale of 1 to 6 the overall level of satisfaction with the quality of the Course was 5.1. The Academic Level of the Programme for the delegates personal and professional development needs was rated at 5.5.

The Pitman Training Sessions were seen as being valuable and well taught and scored 4.9.  Teaching. There were good levels of participation in all sessions. Personal Development scored 5.4. The Course had helped to boost self confidence, improved verbal presentation, & general communication skills.  All visits were very informative. Kingston Maurward College scored 5.7. Devon County Show scored 5.6.

Course Organisation, Management & Administration scored 5.4.

Domestic Matters. The comfortable Hostel Accommodation scored 5.3. Food was high quality but took some time to get used to it. It did lack variety.

Some said that there was too much Course content for the available time. More time spent on Leadership was requested. Also would have liked time spent on Project Management with relevant computer software.

Course Highlights. Bicton Staff and B.O.A.T. Trustees were most helpful. Appreciated the Bicton and BOAT work ethic. Another highlight was meeting HRH The Countess of Wessex over tea at the Devon County Show.

“The Course was very relevant. It made me realise the gaps I had in aspects of HR, governance, business management, & decision making. I shall improve my performance in these areas when I go back.”

External Examiner comments. “The students were very confident and complementary about the Course. They found the modes and methods of assessment to be appropriate. They were very welcome on campus, found that there was a good level of discussion and they were engaged through visits with the latest developments in the UK agricultural sector.”

The Presentation Evening was held in the beautiful gardens of Broadhembury House thanks to the kind hospitality of Mr and Mrs Mike Drewe.  David Wendover presented the delegates with their BOAT Certificates.  James Longwe from Malawi gave a heartfelt speech on behalf of the delegates.

Delegates along with David Wendover, Mike Drewe, (partially obscured) and Chris Jaworski at Broadhembury House.