We ran our Koko Coaching Course Pilot in late March. Our venue was Vaisala Lodge in Itu Asau on Savai’i. The goal of the Koko Coaching Course is to develop cocoa growers and farmers into Koko coaches drawn from the entire demographic spectrum in Samoa to improve the application of Good Agricultural Practice on Koko plantations on both Savai’i and Upolu.
The Koko Coaching Course is aimed at growers and farmers who already grow Koko, hold a role of responsibility within their community and are willing and able to share their newly gained knowledge with other Koko growers.
Pilot course participants provided us with valuable insights on what we needed to fine tune before we start to offer the Koko Coaching Course on a regular quarterly basis.
Lastly, a comment on the difference between a workshop and a coaching course. A workshop aims to provide farmers of all levels of experience with some additional skill sets on a set topic, for example, pruning or soil health. Workshops tend to be of a half day duration and are entirely field work based.
A coaching course is delivered over three consecutive days and consists of both ‘classroom’ and fieldwork components. The Coaching Course will cover a broad spectrum of cocoa related topics, all relevant to improving the performance of cocoa farms.
Workshop participants are likely to implement the skill they have learned in the workshop on their farm. Coaching Course participants are expected to share the knowledge gained during the course within their communities, so that more growers and farmers can benefit.
The SKIA secretariat will communicate directly with members about the planned Koko Coach Course dates for 2019, once our pilot course evaluation is complete.