Participants' feedback

Participants' feedback from the FAR 2021 e-learning and in-person training (English and French edition)

Chantal Uwamariya_2.png Chantal Uwamariya
Managing Director
Cooperative of progress & financing INEZA, Rwanda

What was the most interesting and useful aspect of the FAR training? 
The content of the modules, the methodologies and the participatory approach allowed learning 
from each other’s experience in different countries. I like the practice-oriented lessons using many case studies. The agricultural and rural finance modules are very useful as they are needed by most financial institutions and society in general.

What was the attraction of a hybrid programme (online and then in-person)?Chantal Uwamariya_1 bis.png
The online session convinced me to attend the following modules on agricultural rural finance. Participants' and facilitators' discussions helped to learn from each other due to different cultures, opinions and knowledge, especially on how to tackle issues in the agricultural sector and how to mitigate them to increase access to financial services.

What aspects of the training have you used in practice since the training? 
Learning does not start and stop with the training session. Even before the training, I thought about what I wanted to learn. And then during the training, I aligned the content with the reality of our institution and competitors, job roles and responsibilities. I then planned to provide refresher courses for staff in my institution.


Yifredew Adamu_2.png Yifredew Adamu
Senior Loan Officer
Development Bank of Ethiopia
Yifredew Adamu_1.png

The online and face-to-face training courses gave me an in-depth understanding of the financing mechanisms in agricultural value chains, agricultural insurance for smallholder farmers, risk management in agricultural finance and in digital financial services for agricultural finance! It is really imperative to see agriculture finance grow and come up front to feed and serve our Africa and the world more globally. Because I am now walking into my corporate life, the tips and trainers' experience shared are going to be very useful for me and the organisation that I work for.


O. Cedrick Montetcho_1.pngO. Cedrick Montetcho
Investment Director
Financial Institutions - West Africa, Senegal

What was the most interesting and useful aspect of the FAR training? 
The real-life setting is really interesting. In small groups, we had to put ourselves in the shoes of managers of agricultural financing institutions and create a product according to the type of risk, define risk management policies according to the value chain method or integrate agricultural insurance products into the evaluation of an agricultural financing file.
The fact that the presentations are given by experts such as insurance company directors, representatives of public and multilateral organisations, or private players in the agricultural sector gives a comprehensive view of the subject.

What was the attracton of a hybrid programme (online and then in-person)?O. Cedrick Montetcho_2.png
The online programme allows you to acquire the theoretical basis and prepare for the practical phase. It also allows great flexibility: I was present at my post, reachable by my clients and I had time slots reserved for the FAR courses. This meant that the sales momentum was not lost at the beginning of the year. 
The advantage of the face-to-face programme is that it is more condensed, as it is preceded by an online theory phase. In one week, I was able to see the relevance of the thematic theory through practical cases. My employer at Oikocredit was more sensitive to this way of learning because we were in a period of Covid-19 and our farmer partners had few international purchase contracts. The face-to-face part allowed me to consider new financing techniques.

What aspects of the training have you applied since the training? 
In 2022, with our insurance brokers, I plan to explore the possibility of developing a risk cover product similar to the ones I saw in the training that have performed well.


Ongolo Maximin_1.pngOngolo Maximin 
In charge of the "National Strategy for Inclusive Finance" programme
Ministry of Finance, Cameroon

What was the most interesting and useful aspect of the FAR training? 
I could see the importance of agricultural and digital financial services. The speakers all have a proven track record in skills transfer. The combination of theory and practice with case studies, simple and effective exercises, webinars and quizzes encouraged active participation.

What was the advantage of a hybrid programme (online and then in-person)?Ongolo Maximin_2.png
I gained knowledge in agricultural and rural finance, as well as in digital finance, as I learned to use a virtual job placement platform.
The online training was useful during the Covid-19 period. As for the face-to-face format, it facilitates interaction between participants. I expected the FAR programme to provide me with quality training that would enable me to face the challenges we will face in the future in promoting rural financial services. This has been achieved.

What aspects of the training have you applied since the training? 
As a programme officer in a structure that works to promote financial inclusion, I immediately put into practice what I had learned during the training. In particular, I participated in the revision of the national strategy for inclusive finance in Cameroon by contributing to the definition of the strategic axes relating to digital finance and access to agricultural financial services. And since November 2021, I have been participating in a project with UNDP to digitise six agricultural value chains in Cameroon (onions, rice, cotton, milk, cattle and cocoa).

Participant's feedback from FAR 2021 e-learning training (English edition)

Olivier KwizeraOlivier Kwizera
Agri-Project Manager, AB Bank Rwanda PLC (Rwanda)

What was the most interesting, surprising, and useful aspect of the FAR training?
FAR online training provides comprehensive learning opportunity for agricultural finance, with summary reading materials and further readings to deepen the understanding of agricultural finance; the training is conducted at each participant’s own pace but extra period was added to facilitate all participants complete the program (flexibility).

How are you going to apply what you learned from this training in your organisation?
The acquired knowledge from FAR training, I will apply it to improve the loan product designed by my Financial Institution in terms of blending it with crop and livestock insurance, as well as designing more products for various interesting value chains.

If you had to summarise your experience in one sentence, what would you say? 
FAR training improved my knowledge and understanding in agricultural finance in general through direct learning from courses as well as through others’ experiences.


Asano Mah Brenda AchangohAsano Mah Brenda Achangoh
Branch Manager, Rural Investment Credit S.A (Cameroon)

What was the most interesting, surprising, and useful aspect of the FAR training?
The interactive platform for questions and answers with the opinion of participants and facilitators was so interesting. What was surprising to me was the automatic update of points on the platform each time an exercise was accomplished and the deduction of points for delay in accomplishment of task. A useful aspect I noted was the webinar seminars which could bring participants to the classroom as though it was face to face.

How are you going to apply what you learned from this training in your organisation?
I will apply what I learnt in my organisation, with the assistance of top management, as follows:
- Training seminars and workshops could be organised to build the capacity of other staff;
- I will do writeups so staff could read even at free time;
- Meetings could be held with top management so as to present positive proposals.

If you had to summarise your experience in one sentence, what would you say? 
I had a great time with the E-learning interactions, exchange of ideas and experiences, work combined with studies, assignments and  meeting was great!


Brian NyabadzaBrian Nyabadza 
Managing Director, Qupa Microfinance (Zimbabwe)

What was the most interesting, surprising, and useful aspect of the FAR training?
The most interesting aspect of the training were the insights on how to understand and cater for the various value chain players in a manner that ringfences the whole financing mechanism. While I had previously been exposed to this approach, the in-depth discussions as presented in the reading material really drove the point home, making me realise the genuine opportunity therein. A very useful thing about the course was the introduction to FAOSTAT and FINDEV databases. What was surprising was the manner in which agricultural insurance was dismantled for the comprehension of even a layman.   

How are you going to apply what you learned from this training in your organisation?
I have already begun using the product design concepts to review and update my institution's product offering. A key insight I have already used so-far is the fact that products are difficult to develop against limited customer knowledge. Our approach has as such evolved to include the customer feedback quite a lot and then iterating on the prototype. As a result, we have recently upgraded our horticultural loan product making it a bullet repayment as harvest as opposed to monthly installments that assumed other non farm income. We are struggling a bit with the core banking system and I think in the medium term it will need a replacement.

If you had to summarise your experience in one sentence, what would you say? 
The training was very insightful, the content was relevant and largely implementable.

Participants' feedback from the FAR 2020 e-learning training (French edition)

Bouthainata ABDILLAHI"The FAR training was very interesting and useful. All the topics covered were of major concern for the microfinance sector in general and for our institution in particular. The design of agricultural financing products, the way the sector can innovate through digital financial services and the identification and management of agricultural risks have been very important subjects for our institution. Following this training, we plan to set up a committee to reflect on the actions that can be implemented in order to improve our services in the agricultural sector and the rural world."
Bouthainata Abdillahi, Research Manager, Meck Moroni, Comoros

Adama Ouattara"Following the FAR training, our institution, which does not have an agricultural product, is going to carry out a feasibility study in the field. Having received this training, we will formulate recommendations to facilitate the effective implementation of such a product within a reasonable period of time."
Adama Ouattara, Portfolio Manager, BAOBAB, Burkina Faso

"The most surprising aspect of the FAR training is the interaction with the platform and the perfect management of both the material and didactic resources we were given. I saw myself as in a real classroom. The flexibility of the platform allowed for fruitful, rich and varied exchanges between participants and trainers. Personally, I would summarize this experience as a real springboard for our institution's capacity building in the field."
Abou Coulibaly, Country Operations Manager, First Micro Finance-West Africa Agency, Côte d'Ivoire


Pacifique Ngadano.jpg Pacifique Ndagano
Managing Director of SMICO

What was the most interesting, surprising and useful aspect of the FAR training?
I was very interested in the online organisation of the platform that facilitates the training in such a way that you don't feel like being at a distance. The follow-up of each participant is an impressive aspect of your e-learning approach and the pragmatic part of the case studies and individual exercises remain very useful parts of the training. For the first time I was able to use and exploit the different data from global findex and Faostat to better understand the market.

How did you find the interaction with the other participants?
The forum is a very interesting space that allowed me to benefit from each other's experiences (participants and facilitators). The part of the presentation of the participants also gave me an idea of the quality of the participants. This is an aspect that motivated my participation more because I benefit from the exchanges and experiences of others.

If you had to sum up your experience in one sentence?
It is a pragmatic training course rich in experience.


Badomba OuattaraBadomba Ouattara
Master's degree expert in microfinance and inclusive finance (Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Germany)

What was the most interesting, surprising and useful aspect of the FAR training?
Let me take my hat off to you and congratulate you all for holding this training. Indeed, despite the context made difficult by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, you have made this second edition (FAR) a reality and even a great success after the first edition held in 2019 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
I note that the most interesting and surprising aspect of this first introductory phase remains the continuity of the training activities despite the context of the pandemic. This shows that ADA is still developing and applying a business continuity plan, which is a very important aspect to consider. Another element to take into account is the adaptability of the organisers to the new context by implementing a collaborative learning platform that includes all the conveniences, flexibilities, flexibilities and containing aspects of learner performance monitoring that works in real time with reports from the participant.
Another element to be taken into account is the interactivity of the platform which includes all the material and didactic resources, as if the learner were actually in a classroom. This flexibility of the platform has encouraged fluctuating, rich and varied exchanges between the learners and 'speaker' trainers on the one hand, and between the participants themselves on the other.

How did you find the interaction with the other participants?
Personally, I found the interaction with the other participants very rich and enriching in many ways. As the name of the platform indicates, it really is an interactive and collaborative platform between participants. This session placed particular emphasis on collaboration between participants to share experiences from MFIs everywhere. I noticed that most of the participants were either managing directors, heads of department, heads of service or operational managers who have a lot of practical experience and are motivated to share their experience with the other participants. This made a big impression on me because I read with interest all the interventions of the participants and the responses of the trainers.
In view of the relevance of certain experiences shared by some participants and to make the most of this first session, I personally enjoyed documenting all the relevant and rich experiences shared by the participants in order to consult them later and implement certain practices in our institution.

If you had to sum up your experience in one sentence?
The FAR2020 online training is a real learning platform, collaborative, flexible and convenient, easy to use with all the material and pedagogical resources.

Participants' feedback in the FAR training in 2019 (French edition)

"The FAR programme set up thanks to ADA makes it possible to approach agricultural and rural finance in a holistic manner and to propose solutions that can guide the actors involved or interested in serving the populations concerned. The course developed by CGAP on digital financial services for smallholder farmers, which I am pleased to deliver, provides an insight into how new technologies can realistically contribute to accelerating financial inclusion in a cost-effective manner for financial service providers and under what conditions. The richness of the programme is a great opportunity!"
Corinne Riquet-Bamba, Financial inclusion and digital finance expert, independent consultant

"This is definitely one of the best training courses available today for any MFI, regardless of its size, that wants to make its agricultural financial services offering more professional and profitable. The training allowed us to review our range of agricultural financial services, to better understand the importance of specialising the staff who manage the agricultural portfolio, to reshape our current digital collection strategy and to allow the Network's recently established Risk Management Committee to integrate the most appropriate agricultural risk management tools into its work plan."
Ousmane Thiongane, Director General U IMCEC / Senegal

"This training allowed me to consolidate my knowledge in agricultural and rural finance on the mechanisms of financing value chains that must combine technical support before and after financing. I learned that "instead of financing only the activity, it is better to finance the farmer's project in its entirety, integrating all his needs for the whole year". Because apart from the activity, the farmer has other needs, such as food, health, etc."

"I recommend the Agricultural and Rural Finance (ARF) programme by ADA to all decentralised financial services that would like to develop, strengthen or improve their financial services offer in agricultural and rural areas. This training not only prepares participants to manage the current challenges of the sector but also anticipates future challenges such as climate change, value chain finance, savings in the rural sector, agricultural intensification and portfolio performance in agricultural finance. These two weeks of training structured in two tracks allowed me to better structure my approach to all the topics covered. After the training, I drew up a programme for sharing and applying the new knowledge in collaboration with the other agents in my structure."
Adama Camara, President of APSFD Mali

The word from the programme's pedagogical advisors

Massimo PeroMassimo Pera
Value Chain and Rural Finance Project Coordinator, FAO (also FAR Programme)

« I think this new online version of the training program is a perfect fit for the needs of the participants who will be taking the course, whether they are MFIs, banks, credit unions, technical support agencies/granters, etc.". The course essentially aims to provide elements of an answer to the following question: "How to respond to the needs of actors in agricultural value chains (farmers, smallholders and agro-SMEs), which have a great potential for growth, but which do not have access to adapted financial services". By merging an online and a face-to-face course, participants will have the opportunity to identify key issues and solutions that can help increase access to financial services for agriculture. »

Soulemane DjoboSoulemane Djobo
Head of Technical Support to Microfinance Institutions at ADA (also pedagogical referent of the FAR programme)

« The e-learning format chosen this year for the agricultural and rural finance (FAR) training because of Covid-19, aims at maintaining contact with stakeholders in the financing of agricultural sectors and value chains. The selected modules are essential because they constitute the backbone of the fundamentals in agricultural financing. While waiting for the face-to-face format, the e-learning format is intended to be a continuous stream to draw the attention of financial intermediaries to the constant need to know the market and to manage the risks by using the digital channels which are increasing in power. »