We held one of our favorite trainings earlier this week in Chifuchambewa, Salima. No community is immune to conflicts, jealousy, and disorganization. Every year we take new farmers through a leadership, conflict resolution, and teamwork training. If you gauged the impact of a training by how heated the discussion gets, most of our agricultural trainings would look pretty dull. People are quiet - learning for sure, but quiet. Not on this subject, not at all.
For some reason, this topic sparks passion in the community. Discussion is lively. But what we find is that everyone knows their community is broken, relationships are weakest when teamwork is most needed. Jealousy comes from even close friends, at times when congratulations and reinforcement are most due. And everyone knows it's all wrong.
But what can we do about it? they ask. Usually, good answers, good solutions emerge from within the group. Simply bringing up the topic generates excellent ideas. We are just there to provide tools that help the community put their ideas into practice.
After the discussions, the club shared a meal together, which is an expression of unity in this culture. New irrigation farmers learn from the beginning that going it alone does not work most of the time. We expect the ideas that sprang up in this meeting are will grow in practice.