I’ve been in Navrongo for the past few weeks trying to get settled into work at the district agric office. So this has involved attending meetings, assisting coworkers with proposal and report writing, getting to know the staff, trying to get myself organized and better understand where I fit into things within our EWB strategy and in the district, and preparing myself for the next month of work on the road.
I’m leaving Navrongo on Monday for roughly a month of traveling, not tourist type traveling so no crocodiles or elephants this time, but as part of my work. I’m to visit 7 different districts in the Northern Region (south of the Upper East where I’m at) and talk with agric staff (MoFA) in each district in order to get a snapshot of how management and supervision works (or doesn’t work) in each district then we’ll see if we kind find any trends. EWB has worked in all the districts at one point or another, some recently with 4 month volunteers, some years ago, some part time, etc. So I’ll be interviewing/sitting and chatting with district directors, supervisors and field staff trying to find out more about what management looks like within MoFA. This may be regarding the management systems like reporting, meetings, fuel allowances, feedback, how supervisors monitor their field staff, and so on. The other side of management I’ll be looking into is the leadership of particular staff, primarily directors and supervisors, so I’ll look into things like people’s perceptions of management, what an ideal management environment should like in different people’s opinion, what makes a good manager, what are some qualities, characteristics of leadership that are useful in a district, and so forth.
Basically we (EWB) want to learn about the link between good management and good performing districts, where good performing districts are effectively assisting and supporting small scale farmers. We’re looking into what we think good management is, what MoFA thinks it is, and of course what good management actually is. Why we’re looking into this aspect of agriculture here is because we’ve found out throughout our work here with MoFA that management is a bottleneck. For instance, the Agriculture as a Business program (http://brian-ghanaforthesummer.blogspot.com/2009/06/agriculture-as-business.html) (http://brian-ghanaforthesummer.blogspot.com/2009/06/agriculture-as-business-part-2.html) I worked on last summer heavily depends on the director and supervisors in order to be sustainable and more generally for things to get done. If you are a MoFA staff member and your director is bought into an idea or approach or project he (never heard of a female director of agric here) will push for things to get done. Or the opposite happens where the director doesn’t push for things to get done, isn’t enthusiastic about things, people don’t respect him because of X, Y, or Z and then MoFA doesn’t support farmers very well. A strong management team consisting of a director and about 4-6 supervisors leads to well supported motivated field staff and ultimately better support for farmers.
Hopefully that is clear enough, if I’m missing some background context please leave me a comment and I’ll try and fill in the blanks.
here’s a few pics of some of my new coworkers at MoFA in Navrongo