Florent Okry is working on rice seed development and agro-biodiversity conservation in Sierra Leone.
I am currently engaged in a PhD programme with the Technology and Agrarian Development chair group from Wageningen University and Research centre and the Africa Rice Center. My PhD research centres on rice seed development and agro-biodiversity conservation. The PhD is part of a broader programme on "Biology and Anthropology of the African Rice" in fieldwork, which is on-going in Guinea-Conakry and Sierra-Leone.
Shortly after graduating from the MSc Development and Rural Innovation I got involved in research and development activities as a Master trainer and coordinator of socio-economic activities of BODARIMA (a local NGO). Later on as a research assistant at the Technology Transfer Unit of the Africa Rice Center (a CGIAR center). Mainly, I worked for the PADS project (Participatory Adaptation and Diffusion of Technology for rice based Systems in West Africa), a project which covered the countries Ghana, Gambia, Mali and Guinea-Conakry.
As an Agricultural Engineer, the three chair groups that make the programme (Communication and Innovation Studies, Rural Development Sociology and Technology and Agrarian development) offered me a great exposure to social perspectives. I wrote my thesis with the Technology and Agrarian development group.
To future students I would like to advice the following: this programme offers a diversity of courses. One can choose what to learn. I am aware of time constrains but would recommend that a student, as much as possible, balances courses of the three chair groups. In other words: avoid, as much as possible to choose a chair group till you reach the stage of doing so.