Lavender Mutenyo Simiyu - Innovations in Food and Dairy Chains (master)

"I needed a new experience, a new challenge to broaden my thinking and creativity"

The IFDC course has been engaging and practical. I have learned to be a critical thinker and question the reason why things happen. As a practitioner in the field of dairy development, I now understand why various strategies are implemented in dairy companies through the business strategy unit. Working in a multicultural environment has not only helped me understand others better, but has also boosted my confidence in talking to people.

This course entailed four courses on Dairy Innovations, Dairy Chain Governance, Business Strategy and Quality Assurance. The study units have covered the whole dairy chain from grass to glass. Through Dairy Chain Governance, I got to understand the influencers and policymakers and their roles in the dairy value chain. On dairy innovations, I have learned to think with the users of the product in mind. That is consumer behavior in meeting and creating wants and meeting consumer needs through product development, branding, and marketing. Quality Assurance exposed me to the possibility of how and why auditing is done, the effect of farming practices on milk, and how to make interventions on quality-related challenges on time at the dairy farms. As a dairy development consultant, I better understand the structure of milk and am more aware of what approach to take when dealing with farmers. I can interact with the farmers more proactively now that I understand their needs.

The program was tight, each day counted to make a difference. Individual and group assignments were made available. This made me step out of my comfort zone and change my method of working with others and independently in preparing for presentations. The period for doing the course was timely for me because I needed a new experience, a new challenge to broaden my thinking and creativity. I am going back to the professional field as a facilitator of change, with a different mindset in providing solutions not only in the dairy value chain but also in management while working with different people.