The official unveiling of RSPO’s Smallholder Trainer Academy (STA) took place at the 17th Annual Roundtable Conference (RT17) in Bangkok last month, with RSPO CEO, Datuk Darrel Webber and the Global Palm Oil Sustainability Leader of Procter and Gamble (P&G), Girish Deshpande launching the training programme. However for many eager participants, STA training actually commenced a few months ago in key areas such as Ghana, Indonesia, and Latin America.
The Academy adopts a unique ‘Train-the-Trainer’ approach, which aims to build a pool of ‘Master Trainers’ across sectors and organisations that will then grow to become a global community of trainers to reach larger numbers of small scale oil palm farmers through agricultural best practice training. In the past five months, a total of 73 Master Trainers have already been trained across these three countries.
STA in Latin America
The first training for the LATAM region took place in Santa Marta, Colombia earlier this month with 20 stakeholders attending. During the 6-day training in Colombia, they engaged with professional sustainability experts who are also well versed on RSPO to obtain a series of practical tools, training execution techniques, and guides that will benefit both smallholders and group managers alike.
RSPO’s Latin America Director, Francisco Naranjo said, “We congratulate our new Master Trainers in Latin America and we hope that through the construction of this new platform, the capacity and scope of work with smallholders in our region will be strengthened, as well as their inclusion towards a process of improving their sustainability practices and their livelihoods.”
Master Trainers in Indonesia have their say
To enhance the training approach, the STA Master Trainer sessions in Indonesia have been attended by project and field officers who have direct involvement with smallholders. Pak Junaidi, of GIZ Indonesia said, "I have been working for 16 years facilitating smallholders, it makes me wonder whether I have been using the right technique all this long. The methodology is new for me and it gives me a new perspective."
One of the participants from a training in Indonesia, Harris Silalahi of De Guru Consulting, said "I am amazed by this training. First, I thought this was only about training and training methodology but they challenged us to think beyond that and taught us powerful new methods of how to engage smallholders and other learners much more. And now you challenged us to think about the way we organise our smallholder programmes as well. To work together, to up our game for smallholders' sustainable livelihoods."