AFoCO held a Certificate Ceremony on 24 June to celebrate the successes of our fellowship officials and congratulate them on completing the 1st batch of the 2021 AFoCO Fellowship Program. Ms. Husnul Khotimah (Forest Research and Development Center, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia), Ms. Veronica B. Afonso (National Directorate of Forestry, Coffee and Industrial Plants, Timor-Leste), and Ms. Pham Minh Thu (Viet Nam Administration of Forestry, Viet Nam) have contributed their expertise through various projects and events and formed strong bonds with the Secretariat team during their time in the Republic of Korea.
Hear from the Fellowship Officials
“At AFoCO, I learned how to strategically manage project development, particularly the development of concise and fund-worthy project proposals, as well as how to initiate and process new projects and seek funds from potential donors. My work broadened my insight and understanding of many global issues and the challenges and opportunities faced by the forestry sector. Over the course of six months, I assisted in the overall evaluation of project proposal evaluation, especially technical and budget reviews, including the regional project on NTFPs Development and the forest fire project to be co-funded by the ASEAN-Korea Cooperation Fund. I learned about new opportunities in the dryland sector under the Landscape Partnership Asia program and readiness programs funded by the Green Climate Fund. I also had the chance to work with other teams with the Secretariat on a variety of tasks including the zero draft of Indonesia’s Country Profile and Context, and the inception preparations for the AFoCO-Indonesia project on ‘Innovative Solutions for Climate Change and Biodiversity Landscape Strategy to Support SDGs in Indonesia‘.”
– Husnul Khotimah, Indonesia
“In my six-month Fellowship period, I had the chance to actively support my country in the preparation of two AFoCO projects in Timor-Leste. My experience in the Secretariat has helped me develop a better understanding of the project management cycle. In Timor-Leste, we are seeking new opportunities to implement core projects in the near future to help the government in achieving its vision of securing forest resources and utilizing them in a sustainable manner to improve welfare and livelihoods. The Fellowship Program gave me valuable opportunities to interact with the Secretariat staff and member countries in a multicultural environment and increased my knowledge and professional experiences under the guidance of experienced staff.”
– Veronica B. Afonso, Timor-Leste
“My experience managing the AFoCO Landmark Restoration Project in Viet Nam over the past five years has helped me develop my capacities in project monitoring and evaluation and the six-month Fellowship Program gave me more opportunities to hone my skills in the development of the project implementation progress matrix and cost norms for AFoCO projects. I also helped complete 70% of the zero draft of Viet Nam’s Country Profile and Context. I played a key role in bridging communication between the Secretariat and VNFOREST as well as other project stakeholders in Viet Nam to ensure that project implementation proceeds smoothly. The Fellowship experience has enhanced my understanding of AFoCO’s project implementation mechanisms and strategies and my involvement in various meetings gave me the chance to interact with diverse partner organizations and related stakeholders. Through the field visits organized by the Secretariat, I was exposed to the forest resource management systems used by the Korea Forest Service. I am particularly impressed by how the Korea Forest Services applies advanced technologies to monitor forests and suppress forest fires and I hope that these methods and systems can be adopted by Viet Nam in the near future.”
– Pham Minh Thu, Viet Nam
Field Visit Highlights
The Fellowship Officials embarked on a study visit to the Southern Regional Office of the Korea Forest Services (KFS) and the Baekdudaegan National Arboretum (BDNA) from 16 to 17 June. At the Southern Regional Office of the KFS, fellowship officials were introduced to the integrated forest disaster management systems and actual set-ups used at forest fire sites. They also visited the Chunyang Cultivation Office, which is also the first state-owned tree nursery in the Republic of Korea.
At the BDNA, fellowship officials had the chance to step inside the Baekdu-daegan Global Seed Vault, the world’s first seed storage facility dedicated to the conservation of native plant seeds, especially those on the verge of extinction. They learned about the value of storage seeds to survive ecological crises and overcome the challenges of climate change and other natural disasters.
The AFoCO Fellowship Program welcomes junior government officials of AFoCO member countries who are dispatched to the AFoCO Secretariat for a duration of 6 months to a year to experience working in an international organization. Operated on an annual basis, the AFP aims to establish an effective communication network between member countries and the Secretariat, facilitate close cooperation with member countries, and help improve better understanding of the working environment and procedural matters in order to facilitate the smooth implementation of projects and activities.