RAID Network – 2020 That’s a Wrap … almost
Looking back on ‘the year that was’, quite frankly, is amazing! Like many many (!) other groups and organisations, RAID had to learn very quickly how to adapt its workspace and we think we passed with flying colours. The RAID committee and reps did some incredible work and have lined up some very exciting opportunities for 2021.
The key achievements for 2020 are highlighted below:
RAID Network formed an exciting new partnership with the Australian Volunteers Program to initiate, plan and develop short-term volunteer assignments in Vietnam with the Vietnam National University of Agriculture (VNUA). We were unable to undertake our research and leadership workshop in-person in Hanoi, Vietnam. Instead, we had to drastically adjust our method. We partnered with a team of researchers at the University of Melbourne (which included past and present RAID committee members) who led the adaptation of a workshop to a remote learning environment. This online project was a pilot for testing the remote learning environment with different Research for Development (R4D) partners. This novel partnership included the RAID Network, the Vietnam National University of Agriculture (VNUA), The Australian Volunteers Program, the Crawford Fund, ACIAR and the University of Melbourne to organise, facilitate and engage in a five-week virtual workshop. The five-week online workshop was completed on 20 November. You can read more about the workshop here.
Events and representatives
RAID committee members and reps were able to quickly adapt to social distancing with new events being held via Zoom, with four webinars being hosted:
Doing International Research in Lockdown
28 May 2020
A panel discussion with agricultural researchers Dr Di Mayberry, Dr Tarni Cooper, Humera Iqbal and Dr Bradley Cooper.
Women in Agriculture and Climate Change
4 June 2020
Presentations and discussion on how climate change is impacting women in agriculture and the role women play in agricultural adaptation and mitigation strategies. Facilitated by Anika Molesworth, the sensational line-up of speakers included: Tamara Jackson, Elizabeth Brennan and Humera Iqbal.
Selling Science: How to communicate your research
25 June 2020
A panel discussion on how to communicate science with impact. Speakers were Elizabeth Brennan, Dr Jen Martin and Dr Jenni Metcalfe.
Life for smallholders during COVID-19
27 August 2020
A panel discussion on the challenges for smallholder farmers face due to COVID-19 and how they have adapted to meet these challenges. Facilitated by Jack Hetherington, panelists included George Chapman, Nguyen Thi Duong Nga, Vyta W. Hanifah and Jonathan Newby.
RAID in Retrospect Photo Competition
RAID held an online photo competition which was an outstanding success. We received some of the most amazing images and found it quite a challenge to judge. But our expert panel of judges, including Crawford Fund’s Cathy Reade, ACIAR’s Patrick Cape and RAID’s Harry Campbell-Ross, did a fabulous job. Read more about the competition here.
With the lack of face-to-face contact this year, the Events team held 6 social hours via Zoom from May – September 2020. Hosted by Reps in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Darwin, the social hours were well attended and a fun way to keep everyone connected .
RAID hosted several networking events, supported by RAID’s amazing team of representatives.
If you missed your chance to attend any of the previous networking events, DON’T PANIC, you still have one last chance to attend our final event of the year being held on 22 December 2020 by our awesome reps in Sydney – RAID Christmas Networking Lunch.
RAID’s Tasmanian reps held an online speed networking event (via zoom) on what it’s really like being involved in international agricultural research. There were 3 guest speakers, Dr Chris Beadle, Oliver Gales and Anna Mackintosh, who spoke about their experiences in international agriculture. Members of the audience also heard of various opportunities that they could be involved in for international research.
National Rep Award Winner
ELYA STEEL – Elya is a part-time PhD Candidate at the University of Tasmania where her research investigates Primary School Programs as an Intergenerational Extension Activity in Rural Development. It’s been a challenging shift from her undergrad Agricultural Science degree but she counts it a real privilege to travel to NW Vietnam and hear people’s stories. Elya is passionate about community-based intergenerational learning and is excited to see what the future holds for school based agricultural extension. She has been a Tasmanian RAID state rep since 2017 and has enjoyed contributing to the RAID community and connecting with like-minded international Ag enthusiasts along the way. Congratulations Elya!
RAID Network’s final Agricultural Research Leadership and Management workshop was held from 6-9 March 2020 in Perth with the WA Crawford Fund State Committee providing financial support. As always, it was very well received and we felt fortunate that it was able to be held prior to state lockdowns. You can read more about the workshop from RAID’s very own Tamaya Peressini here.
In 2020, RAID took on an intern, Wade Lu, to help understand what RAID is contributing to its members. Wade completed his major research project in December and, although he just missed out on the coveted ‘Best Student Research Project Award’, he received a High Distinction and an honourable mention for the quality of his research report. Well done, Wade!
The Comms Team were kept busy with social media hitting the ether all year round. They also ran the 2020 Blog Comp which, again, was a great success. With thanks to this year’s judge, John Sampson (Communications Consultant), the top three prizes went to:
1st prize: Elizabeth Brennan “What is Ag Research for Development for me? It’s Sustainability and Breaking the ‘Grass-Ceiling’”
2nd prize: Rebekah Ash “Four Hours in”
3rd prize: Belinda Neilsen “From the Lecture Hall to Experiencing it all”
RAID Committee and Sponsors
RAID Committee Member of the Year
Shanice Van Haeften – Shanice has done tireless work all year round for RAID and has been the ‘Captain’ of our first photo competition. She has injected a great deal of energy and fun into others on the team and her enthusiasm is contagious. Congratulations Shanice!!
This year, sadly, we had to say goodbye to some of our committee members as they left us for greener pastures (no pun intended). Rohan Yargop from our Capacity Building team, Thom Williams from our Comms Team and our final ‘original’ committee member, Jenny Hanks from Partnerships. We wish them all the best in their future endeavours!
Despite the significant loss from the departed members of the committee, RAID gained some new faces in 2020, including: Mia Dunphy, Ebony Ackland, Ruby Annand-Jones, and more recently Jessica Fearnley, Kayla Lochner and Elya Steel. We’re looking forward to working with all of you in 2021!!
Of course, no small volunteer organisation runs itself so I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the committee and reps for their tireless and enthusiastic work this year. They are an outstanding group of individuals! Amongst this fabulous group, a HUGE shout-out to the wonderfully awesome Bec Cotton in her debut role as President and the equally amazing Acting President Jack Hetherington.
However, the committee would be truly lost without the wonderful and perpetually positive Sue Faulkner who is forever holding the fort together from Crawford Fund HQ in Canberra. Thanks for all your amazing work Sue 😊
Lastly, thanks to the unwavering support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Crawford Fund. On top of the financial support and administrative oversight of RAID, we benefit immensely more from the mentoring, guidance and opportunities provided by these amazing organisations. We look forward to future workings with both ACIAR and Crawford Fund’s great people.