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Research Around the World

Posted by Stephanie Rogers on June 25, 2019 in News, International News
Madalyn Nielsen and Sam Dykeman
Madalyn Nielsen and Sam Dykeman

The Agricultural Transformation Through Stronger Vocational Education (ATTSVE) International Development project continues to provide opportunities for Faculty of Agriculture students. 

Two undergraduate students recently spent time in Ethiopia conducting research on a variety of topics as part of their ongoing course work.

Funded by Global Affairs Canada, Agricultural Transformation Through Stronger Vocational Education (ATTSVE) is an $18 million project designed to enhance the capacity of the Ethiopian technical and vocational training system to prepare skilled, competent, technical graduates.  Dalhousie is the lead of four partner institutions implementing this project.

Samuel Dykeman, a third year Agricultural Business student from Truro was presented with the unique opportunity to do research abroad in his field of study, agriculture business, during his undergraduate degree.

Sam is focused on assessing the barriers to market entry for new agribusiness in Ethiopia as part of his undergraduate thesis and aspires to work in food security in some capacity.

“It was very exciting to experience Ethiopian culture, make new friends and network with those doing work in the international agricultural sector,” said Sam. “Through this internship I have gained experience living outside of Canada, working with agribusiness and learned to adapt to working in a new cultural setting. As working in food security would most likely take me abroad, all of these skills are invaluable.”

While talking to the men and woman involved in agribusiness in Ethiopia regarding the barriers to market entry for new agribusiness Sam’s eyes were opened to the many challenges they face that differ from those in Canada. Specifically, those which are out of their control, such as the lack of electricity which impedes everything form the irrigation of crops, processing animal feed, to running the headlamps used for brooding chicks. 

Sam will soon be travelling again, this time to Uganda where he will spend six weeks at the Bukalasa Agricultural Campus. During his time there he will be working to strengthen the ties between Ugandan agricultural businesses and the college. He will also be working on marketing the Uganda Skills Development Project and leading focus groups among the students to help support an entrepreneurship club on the Bukalasa campus.   

Madalyn Nielsen, a third-year student in Bio-veterinary Science from Stellarton has always been interested in agriculture and international development so the ATTSVE internship was a wonderful opportunity for her to witness these things in the Global South.

Madalyn is interested in how healthy livestock can influence food security and the well-being of small farmers.  She hopes to one day have a career that allows her to pursue her interests regarding animal health in relation to international development.

"This internship was an incredible opportunity to learn about agriculture on a global scale and allowed me to develop as an agricultural student and as a global citizen," she explained.  "I have gained valuable first-hand knowledge concerning livestock production that will equip me with the tools I will need in my future career.”

Madalyn had the opportunity to interview recent graduates of Ethiopian agricultural colleges who now have livestock operations through small and medium-sized enterprise funding from the ATTSVE Project.

"I was able to visit poultry, sheep and beef operations where I learned about how their businesses operate, what benefits livestock provide to producers and what challenges they face in rural Ethiopia,” added Madalyn.

Madalyn will be using her research for a Special Topics in International Development course that will contribute to her Certificate in International Rural Development.   

Her favourite part of the trip was the people.  A sentiment echoed by Sam. 

“The Ethiopians that I met while away were so welcoming and I was able to make valuable connections with our project staff and farmers who I interviewed,” said Madalyn.  “Our project staff made this an authentic experience by taking us to the best local spots and teaching us about their country’s culture and heritage. Ethiopia is incredibly diverse and vibrant, so travelling to three regions of the country allowed me to learn about several cultures and languages.”

Both highly recommend the experience to their fellow students.

“I would definitely recommend other students take the opportunity to travel abroad during their studies. Traveling opens your eye to so many things and opens the door to experiencing things you never would at home. Also, if you’re a foodie the different flavours you’ll have the opportunity to taste will blow your mind,” added Sam.