SNRD Is an Incredible Learning Journey

The farewell note of outgoing speaker Rita Weidinger
Rita Weidinger

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  • Read more about Rita Weidinger’s tenure as SNRD Africa Speaker.
Rita Weidinger in Somone, Senegal  ⎮  Visual: © Corbecoms

Dear SNRD Africa members and colleagues

My journey of four exciting years of being SNRD speaker in a wonderful team is soon coming to an end. Although I remain in SNRD Africa as a member, this is a good moment for reflection and gratitude.

I love working with such an incredibly innovative and committed and surely diverse community. It’s been a journey filled with growth, collaboration, and shared dedication to sustainable development.

For over 28 years, SNRD Africa has been a hub for knowledge and human capacity development for national and international experts in GIZ for rural development in Africa. What an impressive “tradition” full of innovation!

Handing over the baton  ⎮  Visuals: © Corbecoms

I am humbled to look back on my own learning journey with SNRD, sharing:

SNRD is about people

I wish to thank our patron/s Kirsten Focken and before Angelika Friedrich and Tobias Gerster, to our heads of divisions Jochen Renger and Ralf Sanftenberg, and Christel Weller, for all their unwavering commitment. I’m grateful for the excellent team play of the co-speakers Jens Knickenberg, Lamiaa Melegui, Lucie Pluschke and Thomas Breuer and the community managers Janice Kanyire Annyaah, Aileen Giersiepen, Joy Heitlinger and Maria Schmidt; all the working group speakers and members, the project partners. Throughout we got good buy-in and exchanges with our funders, specifically from BMZ and also the EU.

SNRD is about the here and now

Every situation is an opportunity. Wasn’t it for COVID that all SNRD working groups were sharing efficiently through online formats? In 2021, we organized a hybrid conference in Accra, Ghana – against all technical odds. Hungry for personal interactions, in 2023, we went back to a predominantly presence conference in Somone, Senegal – in an all-inclusive environment.

SNRD is about its partnership

Aligning with BMZ 2030 four years ago, we revised our working group structures, and new names were born. After an intensive discussion by a task force on climate issues, the Climate and Nature working group now handling it all. The highest growth in members was with the newest group – the Gender Transformative Approaches working group — beautifully reflecting the German government’s focus on the conference “Rural Development Goes Feminist”.

SNRD is about impact

Climate change, the war in Ukraine, and disrupted food chains require more transformational thinking and project implementations. Jointly we look for the transformation of food systems, for integrated solutions and other innovations. If you get discouraged during your daily desk work, take inspiration from the 200 growing trees we planted together in 2021. Some are more than two meters high today, each collecting already 5kg of carbon. In one afternoon, we planted 1,000kg of carbon together, which is increasing daily.

Unable to mention all, you can see that I take with me many cherished memories, smiles and hugs, knowledge, and deep appreciation.

I’m excited to hand over to our newly elected Speaker, Heike Hoeffler, with whom I started in the agribusiness working group 20 years ago. I’m more than convinced that the enthusiasm, expertise, and fresh perspectives of Heike, Jens, Lamiaa and the new community manager Caroline Willeke will scale the SNRD learning journey for more impact in rural development.

I’m confident that SNRD Africa will continue to thrive and make significant contributions to the advancement of sustainable development goals.

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Handing over the baton — brief impression  ⎮  Visual: © Corbecoms

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