INTAD Student Spotlight: Abou Traore

Posted: November 15, 2016

Abou Traore is a PhD student Rural sociology and International Agriculture and Development. His main interest is understanding smallholder rice farmers’ access to agricultural inputs and land, their yields and their level of prosperity related to gender in Guinea.

Abou spent the last summer conducting field research with several rice farmer groups in Guinea. “It has been an extraordinary experience for me. This field research project helped me to better understand the significance of teamwork in research,” said Abou.

During the stay in Guinea, he worked with Le Centre de Reserche Agronomique de Bordo (CRAB), which is a regional research institute branch of Institut de Recherche Agronomique de Guinée (IRAG), and a NGO called Fédération des Unions de Producteurs de Riz (FUPRORIZ). At first he was worried that after 9 years of absence in the region it would be difficult to conduct research in the area. Fortunately, he got in contact with a local NGO, which willingly helped Abou with many aspects of his project making accessible regional information. Additionally, the Bordo Center provided technical assistance in terms of seeds with respect to production, multiplication, distribution and selection, which was also very important for his research project.

With the experience of working with two organizations at different levels, Abou was able to see how the organizations utilized distinctive approaches to achieve the same goals. He realized that conducting field research requires a team of people who devote their time, energy and efforts, and to align their willingness to achieve this task.

“Conducting field research is one thing and having the capacity to work with different people with different expectations and interests can be another,” said Abou. This field research was a game changer for him, which led him to understand the significance of building a strong research team, and the importance of communication skills as a powerful tool to maneuver between different actors and agencies. He thinks this is the key to achieving the completion of a successful research project.