All Good Things Come in Pairs

Mesfin and Dawit in Ethiopia

©Dawit Tadesse & Mesfin Gebremikael / UN Migration Agency(IOM) 2018

©Dawit Tadesse & Mesfin Gebremikael / UN Migration Agency(IOM) 2018

Dr. Dawit Tadesse and Dr. Mesfin Gebremikael are Ethiopian but settled in The Netherlands and Belgium respectively. Both became soil science experts and obtained their PhD’s at well-respected universities. When Dawit learned about the CD4D project, he did not hesitate to contact his friend Mesfin to help their motherland with the knowledge they have gained in their country of residence. Since then, they completed three CD4D assignments together at three Agricultural research and investment institutes.

©Dawit Tadesse &Mesfin Gebremikael / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

©Dawit Tadesse &Mesfin Gebremikael / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Upon discussing how to best approach a CD4D assignment, they decided to combine their strengths and skills. On the one hand, Dawit previously worked in the private sector at international engineering firms and could use his background in soil and water engineering. On the other hand, Mesfin mainly worked at Ghent University and could use his knowledge on soil fertility, research publications and proposal writing. To advance Ethiopia’s Agricultural sector, they provided trainings to Ethiopian experts about new techniques, skills and knowledge on soil and water management.

“I enjoyed working with Mesfin because we were able to exchange experiences and ideas to optimize our efforts and develop solutions together” -Dawit

©Dawit Tadesse &Mesfin Gebremikael / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

©Dawit Tadesse &Mesfin Gebremikael / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Besides teaching new content, they also introduced more efficient teaching approaches including lectures, individual and group exercises, discussions, videos, laboratory tests and field visits when possible. Moreover, Dawit and Mesfin focused on teaching their trainees how to write proposals andpresent scientific reports. By doing so, the host institution experts are now well-equipped to apply for funding and submit scientific publications. When the host institutions distributed certificates to Dawit, Mesfin and the experts, they were especially proud and motivated to continue contributing.

“I hope that we can continue our efforts with the help of the CD4D project until we achieve our goal of improving the country’s agricultural productivity which directly affects its food security” - Dawit

©UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

©UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Their determination was rewarded swiftly; one of their trainees from the research Institute received funding for his PhD study in Belgium. Additionally, they organized a study visit with CD4D to Wageningen University in the Netherlands for 6trainees across the three Ethiopian host institutions. The aim of the visit was to gain insight into state of the art technologies and develop a professional network with professors and colleagues across Europe. Next to newly gained knowledge, the trainees have also received insights into systematic ways of technology and experiences that have surely added a new momentum in their careers.

Dawit, Mesfin and their trainees receiving certificates from the host institution. ©UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Dawit, Mesfin and their trainees receiving certificates from the host institution. ©UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Considering the number of gaps in Ethiopia’s agricultural sector that remain to be filled, Dawit and Mesfin are looking forward to their future endeavors. They often faced insufficient time and laboratory facilities to transform theory into practical knowledge. Therefore, they hope that CD4D can help them to focus more on tailor-made trainings to use time more efficiently in the future.

“I’m happy with what we have achieved so far but given the amazing motivations of the participants and the remaining gaps that need to be filled, I am looking forward to continue these collaborations.” - Mesfin

©UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

©UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018