Volunteer Stella Salvo traveled from Wisconsin to Mali to work with local seed producers, farmers, and researchers to provide training on the development of hybrid seeds which can significantly increase crop yields. This kind of activity is so important in a country that suffers from high incidence of malnutrition, poverty, and drought. Stella’s assignment was so successful, she caught the ear of a local newspaper in Bamako, L’Essor Quotidien, which featured a story on her assignment, recognizing that her efforts can enable thousands of Malian families to access seeds that sprout more food, more income, and a better future.
As is the case with most volunteer assignments, the assignment benefitted Stella as much as it benefitted those who attended her training. At the end of her assignment, Stella stated,
“I have been dedicating my academic and professional career in plant improvement to help feed a growing population. This is my first volunteer assignment in a developing country and also my first time in Africa. This assignment has opened my eyes to the practical issues that face Mali in terms of agricultural productivity. I am extremely grateful to have participated in such a well networked teaching and learning workshop with such a broad audience all who are passionate on improving their lives and the lives of the people in Mali.”