Summer may be over but it was quite a productive summer, wherein we laid foundations for the future, and the work isn’t over yet!! July in particular was a very busy month for Osez Innover Guinée. Our team was pleased to have Meghan in country with us helping out with everything from crafting new proposals to completing preparations for our annual Conference and Competition. The country team had a weekend-long strategy meeting as well, wherein we brought new focus and hammered out plans for mobilizing resources towards our immediate and long term goals.

One of those goals was finalizing and carrying out the preliminary Training of Trainers for the Agropreneur Incubator Program (AIP) on July 29-31. Our trainers, who had been waiting eagerly for the event, were asked the week before to prepare brief modules for presenting during the training. The orientation meeting was on Friday the 29th. The training was held during a full day’s worth of modules and discussion at the Agricultural Research Center of Bamban in Kindia. The AIP Curriculum Development Workshop wherein we examined, explored, and updated the calendar and curriculum for the new AIP launch in 2017, was held the next day following the Training of Trainers.

Unfortunately for us, but exciting for them, two of our admirable agriculture trainers were stolen from us at the last minute by the Minister of Agriculture herself, so that they could advise her on an industrial agriculture project in the Forecariah region. One of our entrepreneurship trainers was absent so that he could take the lead on our Women’s YETP training in Conakry, which kicked off the same weekend and was carried out beautifully! This year the Embassy of Great Britain financed it. Finally, we missed the presence of another stellar entrepreneurship trainer, due to a severe case of malaria. Thankfully, she is doing much better now!

In total we had five of our trainers able to participate, and were lucky enough to have one of Guinea’s veteran agricultural technicians join us. Monsieur Barry, who has been posted by the government at the center for over a decade and who has been working as a trainer and extension agent throughout Guinea for decades more. We greatly appreciate his availability and for putting all of the resources of the Center at our disposition for the full two days. The Center is admirably equipped for large and small-scale conferences, and so we opted to also hold our entrepreneurship conference there this October!

The small group made for some excellent discussions. Our trainers all brought their own expertise and curiosity and a willingness to participate. I admired their ability to actively listen and ask astute questions about the modules. We discussed seed banking and soil management to great depths, and they even pushed me to carry out an impromptu soil pH test because of their strong curiosity and interest. After a phenomenal lunch (one of several stellar meals) courtesy of Madam Bangura and her catering team, we listened to the 15-minute presentations of each of our participants, which we followed with questions on the subject matter and constructive complements and criticisms on their presentation styles. I enjoyed this part of the day most, personally. It was incredibly encouraging seeing how well the participants did presenting in their areas of expertise. We heard presentations on banana production, composting, accounting, free-range chickens, and entrepreneurial spirit.

I would like to personally thank Oumou Bangoura, Alseny Sylla, Ibrahima Camara, Abdoulaye Aziz Camara, and Sékou Oumar Bah for their enthusiasm, their openness, and their earnestness in participating in this preliminary Training of Trainers. I would also like to commend Samba Sory Camara, Amadou Diallo, Yousuf Barry, and Mariama Keita on all of their help in developing the AIP. We are looking forward to launching the new and expanded Agropreneur Incubator Program together in 2017 in Kindia. New modules on advanced accounting, animal husbandry, soil management, and new case studies, amongst other changes, will feature prominently in our new program thanks to everyone’s hard work! Osez Innover is blessed to have such a strong and cohesive group of young professionals helping guide its youth movement, and the development of Guinea.