Settling into the warm heart of Africa
ACES interns in Malawi watch farmer training videos to prepare for video extension campaign. L to R is Kristin Iverson, Christina Fernandez, and Anoosha Memon.

Dzina langa ndi Kristin Iverson. 

My name is Kristin Iverson in Chichewa, the local language in Malawi.

Known as the warm heart of Africa, Malawi has been a pleasure so far. We have received warm welcomes everywhere we have gone.

Our first week was orientation. We settled into the SANE (Strengthening Agriculture and Nutrition Extension) office. We got to know the project in depth, met the project staff, and prepared for our video extension campaign. We met with the district teams that we will be working with for the next few weeks and created a schedule of sites that we will be visiting. We also narrowed down the list of videos we will show. There are over 50 farmer training videos available in Chichewa!

This second week was the start of our video extension campaign. We are working with three different districts to show farmer training videos. The three students from Illinois stayed together this week to get to know the equipment and how the process of showing the videos will go. But moving forward, Anoosha and Christina will continue working around Lilongwe, and I will be going to Dedza. Some of the most popular video topics so far include composting to beat striga, and harvesting and storing soya beans. 

We are excited to continue working with this project and to keep sharing our adventures!

This summer, the Office of International Programs is sponsoring three undergraduate Food Security Fellows who are participating in experiential learning experiences related to global food security. These ACES students are based in Malawi and will be blogging regularly during their experience. 

Specifically the students will be working with the ACES-based and USAID-funded Strengthening Agriculture and Nutrition Extension activity to deliver a video-extension campaign to smallholder farmers. Working with counterparts from Malawi, our students will provide technical support for the video work and collect data to evaluate the success of the campaign. They will gain on-ground appreciation for how rural development actually works and how a development project functions. 

The ACES undergraduate Food Security Fellows are:

- Christina Fernandez, senior in natural resources and environmental sciences

- Kristin Iverson, senior in agricultural leadership and education  

- Anoosha Memon, senior in agricultural and consumer economics