Beneficiaries of the AGRA-IITA training course on good laboratory practices and laboratory information management systems have commended the two institutions for building their capacities, saying that the training they received was helping to make them more efficient.
During a visit by AGRA-IITA team to the Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology (NISLT), Samonda, Ibadan; one of the beneficiaries, Nkem Michael-Uwaje, who is also a staff of NISLT explained how she has been able to put into effective use the knowledge she gathered from the training and how this has positively affected the quality of her work and those of her colleagues especially with the tips on how to generate internal control samples with the aid of certified reference material.
“Before the AGRA-funded training, protocols/laboratory operations in the unit were poor, but this situation has improved,” she said while taking the team comprising Marie Rarieya, AGRA Program Officer, and Joseph Uponi, Manager, IITA Analytical Services Lab, on a tour of her laboratory.
“Also during the training, I met and networked with other professionals from different countries in Africa. Since then, our network has grown. I am now able to keep a close tab on my colleagues and compare my work with what they are doing in other African countries. This way, I have been able to monitor how well my work is going. It was really an exciting time for me,” she added.
Nkem is just one among the several persons trained this year, thanks to funds from AGRA. Also in attendance during the visit were two other beneficiaries of the training from the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IART) Ibadan, namely Ms Tayo-Aruna Abidemi and Mr Popoola Joseph.
Receiving the team, Dr Ighodalo F. Ijagbone, Director General, NISLT, said the Institute’s collaboration with IITA and AGRA in training and research had been very productive, especially as laboratory practice was concerned.
As a regulator of lab practice, Dr Ijagbone said, “We will support whatever role you want us to play. One of our core functions is capacity building and we have our members across universities, institutes, and polytechnics.”
Dr Rarieya said the aim of the visit was to strengthen partnerships across the institutions.
“AGRA strongly values partnerships and networking…And for us to create impact, we need to build capacity, from farmers to laboratory technicians. In AGRA we are constantly thinking of how we can work with partners to increase productivity,” she explained.
She pledged to strengthen the partnership already established with the institute especially as NISLT will be hosting the in-country course in soil and plant analysis in January 20–24, 2014. Similar in-country training will also take place in collaboration with Kwame Nkrumah University from January 6–11, 2014 for laboratory technicians in Ghana.
The AGRA-IITA team also made a brief stop-over at the Agronomy Department of the University of Ibadan where they met with Mr Omosuli Sunday, a beneficiary of the on-site training in soil and plant analysis which took place in March 2013 at IITA, Ibadan.