Prince graduated with a degree in agricultural economics and extension from the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture in Nigeria. He currently works as a farm strategist and agricultural program coordinator for a private company.

Hello Prince! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Sure! My job entails working with farmers, agribusiness holders and agriculturists to develop solutions and strategies for solving farm based problems which include those found in crop and animal production, agricultural processing, storage and marketing, in addition to extension services and consulting.

Furthermore, I am also in charge of the career development program being anchored by my organisation. In this sector, I organise and manage training and mentoring programs of young people to become professionally competent in the agro industry, by teaching them how to develop user friendly technologies to help small-holder farmers improve their livelihood through extension and other interventions.

In addition to my professional work, I am a community based volunteer. I volunteer as an advisor for the National Social Investment Program in the agricultural division of the scheme and I provide essential services to farmers across several communities in the South Eastern Region of Nigeria. I also volunteer with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to render extension services and farm enumerations. It basically consists of getting to the farmers in their communities and delivering to them those information that will enable them to solve critical problems, through demonstration exercises, as well as gathering data on agricultural assets and helping in the distribution of farm imputs to farmers.

How did you hear about the e-learning platform Kaya, and which courses did you take?

I got to know about Kaya through the United Nations Volunteers Page and I have been using Kaya for about two years now. So far, I have completed a total of 12 courses, including Coaching and Mentoring, Psychological First Aid for Children, Becoming an Effective Leader. I found them all useful because they helped me gain numerous useful skills as well as improve my professional and leadership skills and traits.

What I enjoyed most during the courses, was the simplicity of presentation of the course materials. Although I wasn’t able to finish some courses because they required the use of computers to navigate. I received digital badges and certificates too on completion of some courses and I have added some of them to my CV and LinkedIn profile.

Did the courses have an impact on your career?

The courses had a tremendous impact on my job, career and personal goals. As a professional, the depth of knowledge I had was due to my academic training alone, but the courses I did on Kaya gave me something deeper than just professional skills. They gave me leadership skills and insight into the world of service and support for individuals and communities. I was able to realise that just working to earn a living is not enough to make one become fulfilled in life. Fulfilment actually comes from making yourself available to help the community around you achieve milestones in social change and impact. Those courses helped me to gain confidence to face those challenges that went beyond those found in the workplace.

Everyone has a different understanding of the word “humanitarian”. What does being a humanitarian mean to you?

Being a humanitarian for me means totally accepting and promoting a life of service to the world around you through the things you do with the resolve that it is a cause worth personal desire and fulfilment.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the way you work and/or learn?

The crisis had some negative impact on my job, but it provided me with the opportunity to continue to render voluntary and humanitarian services to several communities. For example, during this period, I was able to form a volunteer group that moved from community to community helping several people who decided to engage in farming activities due to the economic hardship that COVID-19 brought on growing economies like Nigeria. Several people became inspired to take to farming as a basic source of livelihood more than ever before.

What would you say are the greatest challenges surrounding humanitarian learning today?

I think the greatest challenges surrounding humanitarian learning today, are lack of proper education about what humanitarian work really is, lack of centres for humanitarian education, especially in countries with low level of technological advancement, in addition to lack of commited and well equipped individuals with passion and zeal for training humanitarian workers. In addition to this, the rising level of poverty and unemployment among the youth, adversely affects the passion for humanitarian learning.

Any final comment or suggestion?

I will like to suggest that well established organisations and agencies who are focused on humanitarian operations, go a little beyond online platforms. Many communities do not have access to the Internet or technology and for this reason, humanitarian education won’t get to them. If possible, those who have successfully completed numerous courses on kaya, should be encouraged to transfer the knowledge they gained to others by setting them up with some basic provisions that will make it easier for them to do so.

The Humanitarian Leadership Academy should also set up a fellowship program for young emerging leaders from developing regions like Africa. These fellowships will more effectively equip young leaders who are concerned about social change, as well as make many others understand humanitarian philosophy.

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