Need Certified Trainers? AMEA Can Help
The Agribusiness Ecosystem Market Alliance was founded to advance professional farmer organizations access market opportunities through the Standardized Approach. AMEA’s initiative for the global definition for professional farmer organizations, is the first step of the Standardized Approach to identify the needs of farmers to successfully professionalize their operations and services.
As a member of the alliance you may aim to implement the AMEA Standardized Approach, and your projects can apply the integrated system by:
Implementing project objectives in line with the global definition for professional farmer organizations
Using assessment methods and training material that is integrated and deliver higher level professional FOs
Conducting FO training by high quality certified trainers
Collecting data on the common indicators
Currently, the global definition is available in draft, which SCOPE Basic and Agribusiness Leadership Program (ALP) are being tested for meeting the assessment / curricula approval criteria. AMEA can connect you with a group of ALP implementation consultants to support your organization in creating training-of-trainer (ToT) events to certify trainers according to the AMEA criteria. The trainer certification focuses on facilitation competencies and technical knowledge. An ALP Master Trainer conducts all certification for ToT programs. In addition, all ALP implementation consultants have worked with International Finance Corporation (IFC) clients on ALP projects and are highly qualified to support other AMEA members in certifying trainers. The consultants also offer other ALP services such as Training Needs Assessments and customization of ALP to respond to client needs.
Amy Warren is one of these consultants.
1. Can you please tell us about yourself?
My Name is Amy Warren and I’m an instructional designer for the International Finance Corporation (IFC). I’m part of a team of instructional designers working with IFC and other AMEA members to create content for training programs. I have been working on the Agribusiness Leadership Program (ALP) since it was founded in early 2016. ALP is a capacity-building program that uses a system of assessment, training, and coaching to help cooperatives and other farmer groups professionalize and grow. As an instructional designer, I create all the training content for ALP. This includes activities, handouts, instructor guides, and development plan exercises that we deliver in the classroom.
2. How long have you been working with farmer organizations and which capacity specifically?
I have been working as an instructional designer on ALP for two years. However, my work with smallholder farmers goes back to 2011. From 2011 to 2014, I worked with IFC as a consultant with the farmer and small and medium enterprises training team. I wasn’t directly involved with training at that time, but I contributed to the “back office” operations for our smallholder and entrepreneurship programs.
3. How did IFC and AMEA work together to create the AMEA ALP trainer certification?
AMEA’s trainer certification is based on IFC’s training-of-trainers (ToT) program. For ALP projects, IFC delivers an in-country ToT for the trainers who have been contracted by the client to deliver ALP services. The ToT has three components, all of which we carried over into the certification ToT:
(1) training in facilitation skills, to ensure trainers are capable of delivering training appropriate for adult learners;
(2) training on the technical curriculum found in ALP (e.g., core topics like governance and financial management);
(3) a teach-back session during which trainers have the chance to demonstrate their skills.
The biggest difference between IFC’s ToT and the certification ToT is that we needed to build a rigorous assessment component for certification. To award individuals with certification, we first had to define the standards they need to reach. We established standards for facilitation competency and technical knowledge. That is, what do they know and how well can they train on it? We also defined the assessment criteria for these standards. For example, what evidence do we need that someone created an appropriate learning environment or demonstrated good communication skills? Once the assessment piece was in place, we were able to work with AMEA to deliver our first certification TOT in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in October 2017.
4. How does this fit with the AMEA standardized approach?
AMEA’s standardized approach is a system, which identifies, develops and certifies highly skilled service providers who offer quality training and coaching services to farmer organizations. AMEA’s standardized approach offers an opportunity to improve professional performance by providing standardized training carried out by reliable, high-quality trainers.
5. In which cases can you support AMEA members in creating certification ToTs?
If an AMEA member uses ALP and the SCOPEinsight assessment tools, they should consider certifying their service providers. Certification signals that a trainer has achieved the standards of training delivery established by AMEA. Thus, through certification, AMEA members can be more confident that their trainers are capable of delivering effective training to farmer groups.
Candidates are selected by AMEA to participate in the certification ToT based on their English skills and training experience. These ToTs are in the classroom and have a maximum of 15 participants. We can travel to the designated country to organize and deliver the certification ToT in collaboration with the client. The ALP team creates a tailored offering based on how much support is needed. We recently made an AMEA ALP trainer certification offer for a project in the tomato sector in West Africa and are now engaging with an AMEA member organization to create a proposal for a cassava project in Central Africa.
In addition, the AMEA Credentialing Working Group is looking at creating a certification for Master Trainers this year—these are the people who train the trainers. Once certified, trainers become part of the AMEA online database (under development) and all AMEA members will be able to use the services of these qualified trainers. The trainers gain experience over time, further hone their skills, and deliver better and better training to farmer groups.
6. How can our members reach you if they are interested in working with you?
They can reach me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The first step is to discuss the exact needs for a specific project and I will pull in other consultants to develop a tailored proposal. We are excited to be part of the AMEA family and to create a pool of qualified and certified trainers from which all members may benefit.