What is your background (profile/ studies), and your current job/ posting?
My name is Peter Schmidt; I’m working for HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation in Switzerland and I am mandated to facilitate this workshop. I started my work in development cooperation in Orissa, India where I worked for an extension project in the livestock sector. Then I joined what is today called “Agridea” and was involved in conceptual questions related to rural advisory services. Subsequently I managed a large Rural Advisory Services Project in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, by the way one of the projects that serves as a case study for the workshop “Reaching the millions”. Since a couple of years I am now based in Switzerland. Among many other tasks I am charged to prepare with my colleagues from SDC, GFRAS and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation the said workshop in Vietnam
What are your interests and experiences in rural advisory services?
“Rural Advisory Services” are the red thread through my professional life. I am particularly interested in conceptual questions around the design of rural advisory services systems, e.g. how different actors from the state, the private sector and the civil society need to interact and collaborate in order to reach out to the farming community and eventually to reduce poverty. Thereby the key question of truly pluralistic advisory services remain: “Who pays for advisory services?” and “Who delivers advisory services?”.
What are your expectations towards the “Reaching the Millions!” event?
I am thrilled by the wealth of experience around rural advisory services that will be united in the “Reaching the Millions” workshop. Accordingly my main expectation is a creative and stimulating exchange of experience with the aim to improve future designs of RAS systems. As facilitator of the event I feel responsible to prepare the conditions for this exchange through well prepared inputs, field exposure and sufficient time and space for joint learning.