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Digital preparation for the Kenyan interns

Picture: GIZ/HSWT

For the first time, young farmers from Africa will be coming to Germany via AKI to complete a six-month internship. Such a stay is demanding for both the interns and their host families. In addition to conventional tools, digital formats are increasingly used by AKI to ensure the best possible preparation for both sides.

At the beginning of May 2021, 30 agricultural College students from the Bukura Agricultural College (BAC) in western Kenya will be taking the long journey to southern Germany to venture into a new phase of their lives. Thus, the interns underwent an extensive selection and intensive preparation process for their internship on family farms in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria.

The five-day introductory course at DEULA Baden-Wuerttemberg at the beginning of May will not only be the highlight of this intensive preparation, but also the start of the six-month internship. Topics ranging from family life, (South) German culture and language over how to keep a report book and everyday working life in German agriculture to machine usage and occupational safety are some of the main topics to be discussed during the introductory course. As in all AKI internship programs, the focus of the "German-African Trainee Program" is on practical training aligned with the AKI motto "Learning by doing".

In compliance with the Covid-19 restrictions, AKI and its project partners used new tools and methods to prepare the young Kenyan farmers for the internship in the best possible way. These included the following online measures:

  • Multi-stage selection process of the best candidates based on AKI’s 30 years of experience,
  • Digital German course with active group work and the interactive language learning app Busuu for individual language learning,
  • Seminars on topics like value chains, cooperatives, farm machinery, milk production and agricultural policy in Germany, Europe, and Africa. These seminars were supported by Bäuerliche Erzeugergemeinschaft Schwäbisch Hall (BESH), Deutscher Bauernverband (DBV) / German Farmers’ Association, DEULA Baden-Wuerttemberg, Verband der Deutschen Milchwirtschaft (VDM) / German Dairy Association, and Bundesverband Deutscher Milchviehhalter (BDM) / German Dairy Farmers Association,
  • Series of cross-cultural awareness seminars with both interns and participating host families.

In addition, AKI aims to firstly implement a digital report book for the Kenyan program. This will be supported by an online platform on which the interns can keep daily reports, upload technical papers and trace their learning achievements. Host farms and AKI will also have access to this platform for support, supervision, and evaluation.

Not only the preparation of interns is increasingly digitalized and thus in line with the AKI's new strategy goals, but also the internal program organization and external exchange with all program partners – many thanks to all those involved for being so cooperative and active in this change process.

Due to the high demand for the AKI internship programs this year, we were unfortunately not able to allocate a suitable candidate to every family that applied. However, AKI is confident that there will be a sufficient number of interns from Africa and Eastern Europe next year, and we look forward to receiving applications from interested family farms from Southern Germany for the upcoming internship year 2022.

The German-African Trainee Program and the Training pact with Africa

The "German-African Trainee Program" is part of the initiative "Training Pact with Africa" and is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The Training Pact is associated with the special initiative "One World without Hunger" and the "Green Innovation Centres in Agriculture and Food Sector" (GIAE) of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). In the coming years, hundreds of young Africans will be given the opportunity to develop their knowledge and practical skills in the agri-food sector in Germany. The aim is to improve the economic and social prospects of young and rural Africans in order to address one of the main causes of economic migration.

AgrarKontakte International (AKI) e.V.
An important part of the months-long preperation process is a series of cross-cultural seminars
AgrarKontakte International (AKI) e.V.