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Teagasc Hosts Groundbreaking “Train the Trainer” Workshop for ClimateSmartAdvisors Project in Dublin

Dublin, Ireland – From March 19th to 22nd, 2024, Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, in partnership with European agricultural experts, successfully hosted the first "Train the Trainer" workshop for the ClimateSmartAdvisors project at the Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture in Dublin

This innovative workshop brought together 40 advisors from 27 countries across Europe, aiming to bolster the capacities of agricultural advisors in guiding farmers toward implementing effective climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

The ClimateSmartAdvisors project, centered on enhancing the proficiency of agricultural advisors, employs Communities of Practice (CoPs) as its core strategy to facilitate knowledge exchange and support among advisors. The workshop focused on providing participants with the skills necessary for leading CoPs, fostering a collaborative environment for knowledge sharing, and mastering climate-smart farming (CSF) practices.

Over the span of four days, covering various themes like Establishing the CoP, Managing the CoP, Opportunities and Challenges for Climate Smart Advisory Services, and Planning, Monitoring, and Beyond the CoP, a diverse group of facilitators delivered engaging and insightful sessions. The trainers included  Niamh Barry and Tom O’Dwyer from Teagasc, Florence Bedoin and Caroline Evrat Georgel from the Institut de l’Elevage (idele), Annelie Bernhart and Ingeborg Bauer from FüAK, Rebecca Audsley from SAC Consulting, András Vér from Széchenyi István University, Jorieke Potters from Wageningen University & Research, and Laure Triste from the Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO). Their interactive and impactful sessions contributed significantly to the TTT’s success.

The event commenced with engaging activities designed to foster camaraderie and facilitate introductions among participants, setting a positive tone for the collaborative work ahead. Key sessions included advanced facilitation training, covering strategies for establishing and managing effective Communities of Practice and fostering a shared understanding among group members to achieve common goals. Participants were exposed to a variety of creative methods, such as photo language, World Café discussions, and role-playing exercises, aimed at enhancing engagement and promoting dynamic learning experiences. The workshops delved into practical strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation in agriculture, including the identification and prioritization of relevant practices, and addressing the challenges of their implementation. Participants worked in groups, simulating CoP scenarios to explore diverse strategies, discuss challenges, and share experiences from their respective advisory roles, culminating in valuable insights for effective climate advisory services. The organization of participants into regional groups facilitated rich discussions and the exchange of insights tailored to the diverse agricultural landscapes and challenges across Europe. The workshops concluded with sessions dedicated to planning, monitoring, and evaluating the progress and effectiveness of CoPs, ensuring a sustainable impact beyond the workshop.

“Teagasc was delighted to host the 40 advisors from across Europe for this training event. It was a great opportunity for advisors to learn new skills and to meet advisors from other European countries who are all supporting farmers in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Using the skills acquired, the advisors can take a lead in developing the capacity of many more advisors across Europe.”, said Tom O’Dwyer, Head of the Signpost Programme, Teagasc.

These highlights represent just a portion of the rich content and dynamic interactions that characterized the inaugural “Train the Trainers” workshop, as part of the 1st CoP wave in the  ClimateSmartAdvisors project. It was a significant step forward in empowering agricultural advisors across Europe with the knowledge and tools needed to support farmers in the transition to more climate-resilient practices.

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