AKI welcomes trainees from Africa for the first time

Picture: AgrarKontakte International (AKI) e.V.

As trainees from Kenia due to the Corona-related travel restrictions could not travel in 2020, AKI welcomed 30 trainees from Kenya for the first time on 9th of May 2021 for their six-month internship program on family farms in southern Germany. Given the great importance of women in agriculture, also in African countries, AKI and the GIZ are very pleased that among the participants there are also 11 female trainees. This is an evidence that shows the great interest of female participants in the AKI traineeship program. All the trainees come from Bukura Agricultural College (BAC), an agricultural college in western Kenya. The trainees belong to a cohort with different departments and come from different regions of Kenya to pursue their education at the BAC, where practically oriented training is essential part of the curriculum.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supports projects within the framework of the global project "Green Innovation Centres in the Agri-Food Sector" with the aim of increasing the income of smallholder farms, enhancing employment opportunities and improving the regional supply of food in the rural regions of Africa through innovations in the agri-food sector. One component of this project is the training of young talented experts and future managers. Within this framework, AgrarKontakte International (AKI) e.V. has been granted to implement the traineeship program with Kenya since 2019.

Due to the locally imposed corona related travel restrictions in Kenya at the time of departure and the fact that the trainees had to travel to the airport from their all over the country scattered home regions, the journey of the trainees was a big challenge. However, the AKI team was able to welcome the trainees as planned on 9th May in Frankfurt am Main and bring them with a bus to DEULA in Kirchheim unter Teck. As the arrival of trainees from Kenya marked the start of a brand new AKI traineeship program of its kind, they were welcomed by Mr. Siegfried Schwab, Deputy Chairman of the AKI Board, Mr. Falk Kullen, Managing Director of AKI and Ms. Bärbel Sagi, from GIZ.

Due to the Corona entry regulations, the trainees were transferred to Schwäbisch Hall after 3 days at DEULA in order to complete the 14-day quarantine. During this time, the relevant documents for the traineeship were discussed and all questions were clarified by the AKI team. In Schwäbisch Hall, the trainees also received a safety briefing on the handling of technical agricultural equipment, which was conducted by AKI's Deputy Chairman Mr. Siegfried Schwab. Mr. Schwab gave the trainees valuable demonstration on machinery safety and how to handle various work equipment. Furthermore, the project manager, Mr. Teklezghi Teklebrhan who comes from Eritrea, lived in Kenya and has been living in Germany since 13 years has shared his impressions and experiences in Germany with the trainees during their stay in Schwäbisch Hall.

While the trainees were still in their home country, five introductory online seminars had already taken place and the trainees were informed about agriculture in Germany and its special features in southern Germany. Moreover, the trainees were informed about some traditions of German culture and German kitchen. This helped the trainees to learn more about everyday life in Germany before their arrival. Before entering Germany, the trainees completed 300 hours of German language courses.  

The trainees have mastered the introductory session to their traineeship very well with great excitement and anticipation and are very much looking forward to the technological and cultural exchange with the host farms in southern Germany. With the practical knowledge they acquire at their host farms, they will be able to make a great impact in their home country.

The digital introductory online seminar with the host families took place on 20th May. Here, the most important documents for the traineeship were discussed and all open questions were clarified together with the managing director Mr. Falk Kullen and the project manager Mr. Teklezghi Teklebrhan. On 24th May, after the end of the 14-day quarantine, the host families picked up their respective trainees personally in Schwäbisch Hall. The practical internship will be completed on farms with a focus on animal production (pig farming, dairy farming, poultry farming) and plant production. During the entire six-month internship, the trainees will live and work with their host families. In addition to the practical experience, the trainees will also gain more knowledge about the agrifood sector in Germany through inter-farm activities such as field trips, excursions and online seminars. After a successful internship, the trainees will then receive their completion certificates at a closing ceremony in early November before returning to Kenya.

AgrarKontakte International (AKI) e.V. would again like to sincerely thank everyone who was involved in the 14-day introductory phase and made our work possible during this time.