Coady diploma participant Clive Chibule, from Zambia, enjoyed his experience at the Coady in 2012 so much he decided to come back again, this time for the diploma program. PHOTO: Emily Hiltz
One Coady participant this year enjoyed his time at the Coady in 2012 so much, he decided to come back this year for the Diploma in Development Leadership program.
Clive Chibule, of Zambia, first learned about the diploma program while taking a course on communication and social media.
“I thought, if I got this total package then I would definitely, on a comprehensive level, have gotten a lot of stuff that would really improve the whole organization,” Chibule said, noting when he went back to his organization he told them about the diploma program.
“They said, if it’s possible, you need to go back and gain some more knowledge.”
Chibule works for Green Living Movement, a non-governmental organization that works in the areas of environment and sustainable agriculture.
Chibule said the organization works with rural communities and farmers on the sustainable utilization of resources and creating awareness on the issues of climate change.
“It’s the awareness part that actually connects us to sustainable agriculture because sustainable agriculture is part and parcel of how you utilize the resources, like the land and forests, in a sustainable way,” Chibule said.
His role with the organization is to work with farmers and train them on sustainable agriculture practices, such as capacity building, project management and conflict management.
“We believe in the sustainability of whatever programs we are undertaking in rural communities and to sustain those programs and projects the community needs to have ownership and they need to have the capacity to manage those projects,” Chibule said.
“We also want these farmers to take the lead in their own development. We don’t want them to be dependent on us.”
Some of the crops they encourage farmers to start are sweet potatoes, beans, cassava (which is resistant to drought) and a variety of maize.
Because farmers are dependent on rain, the farmers are encouraged to keep small livestock, such as goats, pigs and chickens, so if the crops don’t do well they can depend on their livestock for food security.
Along with the dependence on rain, other challenges have to do with marketing. Sustainable agriculture also takes a long time to see the benefits, which can be distracting for farmers.
In his first few weeks at Coady, Chibule said what has struck him most is the idea that, as development leaders, it works better to engage the community, rather than to think on behalf of the community.
“We think of what their problems are and then we design what their needs are, which has led to a number of projects not yielding any impact at all,” Chibule said, adding, “there’s more impact when you involve the community.”
He also said he has learned any change has to begin with him.
“It’s me who has been exposed to this mammoth knowledge here, so I need to start changing myself before trying to change others,” Chibule said.
While at Coady, Chibule said there is a lot of learning that happens by socializing with others. He said it’s easy to feel at home at Coady because everyone makes him feel welcomed.
“People are so willing to share and know where you’re coming from,” Chibule said.
“I really find this place to be so warm and welcoming.”
Although Chibule said it’s challenging to be away from his family and four-year-old son, he said the information he’s getting puts him at ease.
One of the most enjoyable moments Chibule said he has experienced thus far in his time at Coady, along with a Mi’kmaq powwow, was getting to swim in the ocean.
“That was my first time swimming in the Atlantic Ocean and it felt so good,” Chibule said. “I felt so fresh and it was so relaxing to be by the water.”
Chibule said he strongly believes in teamwork and its importance in seeing a positive impact on the environment.
“The impact we want to see in this world cannot be achieved by one organization, one individual or one country and that’s why we need to live as a team, that’s why we need to live in unity as a global village,” he said.