Voices From SNRD Africa

Four viewpoints on the conference by participants

Photo:  © GIZ

A good mix of both groups [younger and older members] could give an impulse to SNRD”, said Ousmane Djibo former speaker of the SNRD Africa.

While for some colleagues the 2021 SNRD Africa Conference in Accra was the first one, some others have been in business longer.

In general, we can say that this conference had a remarkable number of young colleagues. A reason why we have been inspired to listen to diverse voices from different generations in this interview in order to get their perspectives of the running of the conference, climate change, opportunities and tips for the SNRD community.

The interviewees

Ousmane Djibo, Project Leader, Agricultural Policy and Food Security Sector Project & Former SNRD Africa Speaker

Hiba Yacoub, Technical advisor, Project for Strengthening the Quality Infrastructure in the Soybean Value Chain, Benin

Hudah Mohamed Hussein, Administrative Specialist, Agriculture Cluster

Petra Jacobi, Competence Center Manager (FMB), Rural development and agribusiness

The Q&A

What surprised you at the SNRD conference?


“At the SNRD conference, I was very pleasantly surprised during the field trip to the organic cocoa processing plant ‘Fairafric’. It was a pleasure for me to discover that a multitude of delicious chocolate products are produced in Africa in very attractive packaging, with cocoa coming directly from organic farmers in the region.”

Ousmane Djibo

“The very strict Corona rules in Ghana and in the hotel. :)

The motivation and commitment of the participants, who were physically present at the conference.

More younger colleagues than in the past. A positive aspect is that the next generation is assured. At the same time, the question arises where should the many years of experience that we have gathered as a company flow in?”

Hudah Mohamed Hussein

“Being my first participation in SNRD, I was most surprised by the coordination of all GIZ staff being brought together from all different countries, projects that all come together to find solutions and a better working system for all the working groups. The passion that each member I met had toward the working group and not only what they have done so far but also what they are looking to achieve through synergy. And most importantly all the measures that were kept to ensure that we could achieve all our objective even though we are going through a pandemic.”

Petra Jacobi

“Less of a surprise than enthusiasm that the conference took place despite the difficult situation. Many thanks to all those, who have prepared it with great flexibility. This situation has brought together a very special mixture of colleagues and thus also created a special dynamic in Accra.”

What are you taking away from the hybrid conference?

Hiba Yacoub

“One of the important things I took away from the conference was the food loss assessment tools during the RLAT training. I was amazed by the amount and cost of food loss and waste in the world. This is even more worrying when we realize that these losses generate significant GHG emissions and contribute to food insecurity. It is therefore essential to limit post-harvest losses by implementing good practices throughout the agricultural value chains, but also to take into account the impact of food losses on climate change. All these aspects are taken into account in the RLAT which allows a holistic assessment of food losses with a focus on adaptation to climate change.”

Hudah Mohamed Hussein

“Aside from all the changes we need to make for climate change that anything is possible if we keep to our objective.”

Ousmane Djibo

“The hybrid format, especially the virtual connection, has expanded the number of participants, what would not have been possible with physical participation alone.

“Since the number of participants at the SNRD conference is very limited, since the critical report of the German Federal Audit Office (Bundesrechnungshof) a few years ago, the hybrid format offers more participation in the future.

“For the organization, the technology behind the hybrid format was a major challenge. This aspect should get more attention in the future”.

Petra Jacobi

“We need to think a lot more about hybrid formats and experiment with this format, especially how we can best bring together the participants onsite and the virtual participants. The question of how we gather everyone’s contributions at the end and how we can use the positive dynamics on site for everyone’s benefit has not yet been fully answered for me. ”

“It is also certain that the technical requirements for such a conference are not the same everywhere, sometimes the requirements are not given at all, and that there will probably be hick-ups.”

How do you see the SNRD positioned after the climate change conference?

Hiba Yacoub

“Climate change is seriously considered within the SNRD, however, it should be cross-cutting to all the network working groups for greater impact of the actions taken to mitigate its negative impacts.”

Hudah Mohamed Hussein

“SNRD now identifies as a body that supports climate change not only through what we gained from the conference but also all the working groups aligned their workplans to objectives that not only target their topics but also climate change. A lot of synergies were made in the conference that allowed this to happen for the future.”

Ousmane Djibo

We are on the right track. However, we must continue to consider how we can address the issue of climate change across the board, i.e. in the various SNRD working groups and not just in one.”

“How can we address the topic strategically and enable third-party business potential for the company?”

Petra Jacobi

“The consequences of climate change affect all projects of the SNRD, so it was important to focus on the topic at the conference and to set impulses. In the end, the SNRD is well positioned for climate change, if the colleagues in the projects are also well positioned, if this is reflected in our work and if it is visible in the working groups of the SNRD. We must continue to work on this.”

Where do you see (new) opportunities for the SNRD?

Hiba Yacoub

“The SNRD is a network of experts in many fields; it would be interesting if the network could make much more use of these skills to develop high-impact strategies in specific areas that could be useful to all those involved in rural development.” ()

Ousmane Djibo

“A good mix of younger and older colleagues:  The younger colleagues are more digital affine, and the older ones bring more experience.  A good mix of both groups could give an impulse to SNRD.

“Besides climate change, I also see other topics such as sustainable food systems and agroecology as an opportunity for SNRD, where we could position ourselves.”

Hudah Mohamed Hussein

„With climate change being the main topic, for SNRD now this will outline itself with the new strategy for African countries and EWOH giving us a whole new opportunity to work on the core areas . This transition and the participation of the working groups will bring about a whole new journey for SNRD. SNRD has also impacted youth in Africa through the Youth Changemaker Fair that took place, and this will be a new opportunity for SNRD to be part of their innovative idea processes throughout Africa for sustainable products and services.”

Petra Jacobi

“It’s not really new: Digital formats allow many more colleagues to contribute based on their experience and to bring in questions more directly and to benefit from the diverse knowledge within GIZ. I consider in particular the collaboration with and between national colleagues as a great opportunity, which we can leverage even more effectively.”

Which tips would you like to share with us/the SNRD?

Hiba Yacoub

“SNRD could organize monthly/quarterly MS Teams sessions where volunteer members present key activities of their project as well as challenges and solutions to address them. This would allow others to learn about all the SNRD projects and lead to better networking.”

Ousmane Djibo

“Adopting the hybrid format to allow for more participation in the conference.”

“I would like to see more participation from AVs.”

“More strategic positioning and leading in processing/integrating new concepts and approaches.”

“In addition to climate change, address and rehash other important topics such as sustainable food systems and agroecology”

Hudah Mohamed Hussein

“To keep up the sustainability efforts they keenly undertook during the conference and also implement it across all other events, other than that SNRD is doing quite great, the team has professionals that make sure everything is done efficiently. I’m sure we will still be amazed at the next SNRD.”

Petra Jacobi

“To ensure/ find mechanisms that interlink even better what is discussed in the sector network to other forums in the company, especially for GIZ’s knowledge management. This can create important cross-sector and cross-regional synergies. Context-related issues that come from [partner-] countries are important and need space in the SNRD.”

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