The Dutch Roots congress welcomed a large and especially diverse group of participants from the African continent. Thanks to the efforts of several agricultural representatives at Dutch Embassies, also 19 participants from ten different countries were able to join Dutch Roots 2018.
Right from the start the Dutch Roots organization had the ambition to enable as many participants as possible to join the congress in the Netherlands, also those who are less likely to come for budgetary reasons. Budget is a personal challenge for each participant, but also a major cause of headaches for the congress organization. Therefore, realising the diversity ambition within the congress budget, would be a dead end street.
Hence, the congress organisation explored different angles to make it happen. The Dutch Roots congress organization contacted all embassies with an agricultural representative explaining about the intention and aim of Dutch Roots. Reaching out, enabling foreign journalist to get acquainted with Dutch agriculture and in the slip stream of that enlarging the professional network in agriculture and journalism, in the Netherlands and through IFAJ also worldwide.
A lot of embassies all over the world made an effort to spread the news of the Dutch Roots congress and made sure their contacts that may be interested in participating knew about Dutch Roots. However, the embassies of several African countries saw an opportunity to offer some journalist the possibility to see for themselves what agriculture in the Netherlands is and how it related to best practises that can be taken home for knowledge transfer to farmers. The embassies of Rwanda (Burundi), Ghana (Nigeria/Ivory Coast), South-Africa (Angola), Tanzania and Kenya joint forces and found funding to facilitate the participation of two journalists per country. This resulted in the (extra) participation of journalists from Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and South-Africa.
The Dutch Roots organization committee is extremely grateful to the Dutch representatives at the embassies in these countries as they enabled so many African colleagues to attend an IFAJ congress. All participants who where part of this group in turn were grateful for the opportunity they were offered and most of them already reported back with stories on what they took home with them from the Netherlands.
The Dutch Roots organization is convinced that after the physical connection made in the Netherlands, long lasting contacts will remain. This will offer opportunities to all within IFAJ.