Building Capacity and Unity: Key Takeaways from the Preliminary Meeting on NTFP Project Mentoring Services

On January 26, 2024, the AFoCO Secretariat proactively initiated the preliminary meeting for mentoring services associated with the NTFP Project, titled “Improved local community livelihoods through increased income from non-timber forest products (NTFP): Modeling scalable community-based enterprises in Asia”, in collaboration with NTFP-EP Asia. The meeting is expected to make a significant contribution to the success of NTFP Projects in each participating country. Mentors from NTFP-EP and representatives from the participating countries, namely Cambodia, Vietnam, Bhutan, Mongolia, Lao PDR, Philippines, Timor Leste, and Indonesia, actively participated in the meeting.

Dr. Junghwan Park, Senior Project Manager, warmly welcomed all attendees and underscored the significance of the meeting, emphasizing its role in strengthening the capacity of the teams from participating countries. He expressed the hope that participants would not only enhance their skills and knowledge but also foster a sense of companionships among the mentors, leveraging their wealth of experience and expertise. Dr. Park extended gratitude to NTFP-EP Asia for their valuable contribution and support. Following his remarks, Ms. Femy Pinto of NTFP-EP Asia delivered the opening remarks. She expressed her delight at the opportunity to expand networks and partnerships, further supporting various capacity building programs.

Following that, NTFP-EP Asia offered detailed insights into the mentoring program, encompassing the project overview, mentoring objectives, scope of services, duration, locations, and responsibilities. The comprehensive presentation included a thorough overview of the workplan for 2024 and 2025, outlining the milestones and activities for the upcoming years. Building on this foundation, country mentors and their respective project teams took the stage to introduce themselves. This exchange not only facilitated a better understanding of individual roles and expertise but also fostered a deeper sense of connection and collaboration among the participants. The diverse backgrounds and experiences brought to the forefront during these introductions added richness to the collaborative spirit of the meeting.

Before reaching a conclusion, a comprehensive discussion took place involving mentors and the country project team. Active participation was observed as they shared comments and posed questions related to the mentoring program. This session significantly deepened the understanding of the program, empowering the country project team to effectively manage their schedules.

The robust dialogue and exchange of insights between mentors and country project teams during the preliminary meeting have greatly enriched the understanding of the mentoring program. Through active participation, valuable comments, and thoughtful inquiries, the meeting not only strengthens the foundation for the successful execution of the NTFP Project but also cultivates a sense of unity and shared purpose among all stakeholders involved.

Submitted by Ms. Minyoung Jeong, Assistant Program Officer

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