Ivy Jones came to the Netherlands from Ghana to start with the master Development and Rural Innovation. Before, she had worked as an extension officer and a tutor in one of the Colleges of Agriculture in Ghana. She felt like MDR was giving her just the right tools to refine her skills. “I learned a lot about communication skills, good facilitation and presentation techniques, and good interpersonal relationship. Getting these skills from the MDR programme has equipped me more in my new job as a Technical advisor in the Ghana Cocoa Board.”
Immediately after Ivy’s return to Ghana, the ministry nominated her to participate in a training programme in China. The training dealt with the promotion of new agricultural technology in Ghana and challenges in Cocoa farming and its value addition. After a few years, she resigned from her position at the ministry, looking for a new challenge in her career. She joined the Ghana Cocoa Board as a technical advisor of the farmers. Her tasks include engaging the cocoa farmers with all the needed technical knowledge in managing their farms to maximise yields. This, she tells, is done through conducting interviews with the farmers on problems they face in their production, group meetings, discussions and collective brainstorming. Additionally, she focuses on gender issues by training women in a livelihood program to improve their standard of living through income generating activities.
“One of my favourite things in MDR was the focus on intercultural communication. Here in Ghana, we have almost six different tribes that you have to deal with when conducting agricultural business. It is crucial to be very sensible in your decision making and to have critical thinking about how to deal with situations on the ground. Communication, facilitation and interpersonal relationships are my biggest take-aways from the study programme.”
Ivy’s next goal is to pursue a PhD in gender studies. This is an important topic in Ghana as men often receive a large part of the profit in agricultural production and women tend to be silenced. Her wish is to bring more knowledge into the country to create lasting change on this issue.