For the past two months, Jessica Spence ’18 has lived a daily experience few Aggies can claim. She has been roused every morning to the crow of roosters and the sounds of palm brooms sweeping outside her little blue house in Koforidua, Ghana.
Spence is a two-time graduate from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications. She now serves as the program coordinator in Ghana for the International Agricultural Education Fellows Program, IAEFP. IAEFP is a partnership between AgriCorps and the Texas A&M Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service, USDA FAS.
The Borlaug Institute, a unit of Texas A&M AgriLife, focuses on designing and implementing science-based agricultural development and training programs to benefit small-holder farmers in the developing world. And the IAEFP program plays a key role in sharing agricultural knowledge and resources across the globe to increase agricultural literacy and develop healthy, sustainable communities.
Using her training in agricultural communication and international agricultural development received as a student in the College, Spence leads the nine 2021-22 IAEFP agricultural education fellows and oversees the IAEFP program, in coordination with 4-H Ghana, their in-country partner.
As the coordinator, she evaluates the program and provides training and support to fellows and Ghanaian teachers who use agricultural education to build capacity in their community. This knowledge is shared with local farmers to help them produce crops and raise livestock more sustainably, which in turn helps meet the food insecurity needs locally and across the country.