Using local expertise – a key to SNV’s success

Using local expertise

SNV believes that having a team of local professionals is a key factor to the successful implementation of our projects. A research on project management has showed that 70% of a project’s successes are determined by the quality of its human resources. Hence, recruiting the right individual for the work on the ground is an essential step in successfully building up a great team.

When SNV started the pig feed project (funded by Australia Aid) in South Timor Tengah District in 2016, there was a need for an experienced development worker who knew their way in the area and around the local communities. That’s when we met Reomarni Magadalena Mnune, or Marni for those who know her. SNV recruited Marni as a field officer to help us with the project implementation.

As a native Timorese, she has lived most of her life on the island and knows it like the back of her hand. She attended the University of Cendana (which is located on the island) where she gained her undergraduate degree in animal husbandry. She worked with three international non-profit organisations before joining SNV. Our Sustainable Value Chains approach that utilises a market systems development methodology, was new to Marni but with training and support from the SNV team, she was quickly able to get on her feet.

“Thanks to the SNV team, I learned much valuable and useful information about the principles of the MSD approach,” said Marni about the on-the-job-training. “They really helped me get up to speed on the project.”

Now Marni is an indispensable member of our team. She has fully utilised her knowledge of the community and has taken advantage of her vast network. She worked closely with government extension officers and local organisations to scale up training programme on good rearing practice (GRP). Marni was able to attain a higher-than-average attendance rate for the training workshops she facilitated. In total, she has conducted 122 training workshops for feed retailers, reaching about 2,500 male and female farmers; in addition she has organised 50 market promotional activities that reached 15,000 male and female farmers. In Indonesia alone, SNV works in a six diverse geographical areas from Aceh to East Nusa Tenggara. These regions all have their own unique cultural, social, and economic background.

Local experts, people like Marni play an important factor in our ability to implement successful projects. Learning from our decades-long experience, SNV focuses on the recruitment of local experts. We believe that hiring local people brings many benefits, such as:

  • A proper understanding of local social and cultural customs: local knowledge connects our employees to local communities, their motivations and their customs, for example the role a particular source of food such as pork plays in local communities. This assists us in building a partnership and introduce improved farming methods or new technologies.

  • The establishment of extended social network: having a well-established social network means that SNV staff and local communities already know each other. This lowers barriers for misunderstanding, reduces risks for refusal to build a partnership and creates more efficient processes and project inception phases as relationships are based on trust, e.g. there is less need for continuous reaffirmation.

  • The ability to speak the local language: despite communications being a critical part of smoothing out the information flow of project deliverance, being able to speak local tongue with the local vernacular, reduces transaction costs and leads higher rates of acceptance.

Marni visits a pig feed factory as part of her SNV training

Marni visits a pig feed factory as part of her SNV training

Marni poses with a group of farmers after a training

Marni poses with a group of farmers after a training

Thanks to people like Marni, the pig feed development project has helped 22,0000 participating farmers in Timor to increase their income by as much as IDR 1.7 million IDR (€100) per cycle (6 months).

“Joining SNV gave me the opportunity to give back what I got from my community“ said Marni about her reason working with SNV. “At a professional level, I was able to broaden my network, and build my capacity on the market approach as well.”

SNV Indonesia Agriculture sector leader, Rizki Pandu Permana said that local experts such as Marni are invaluable members of the SNV family. “We have been using local experts and have been working with local partner organisations in our coffee, oil palm, and rubber projects throughout the country as they genuinely contribute to increasing the success, change, and sustainability that everyone in SNV aims for.”