From left to right: Karen Killenger, Rita Abi Ghanem, Cathy Perillo, Lynne Carpenter-Boggs.
 
A seminar about the women’s session portion of the Iraqi Agricultural Extension Revitalization Project was put on by faculty from the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and the Department of Food Science on Monday.
 
Rita Abi Ghanem, a research assistant with the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences; Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, a coordinator for the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources; Karen Killenger, a consumer food safety specialist; and Cathy Perillo, a clinical assistant professor, went to Jordan over the summer to lead weekly training sessions with 26 professional women from Iraq.
 
WSU is one of five U.S. Universities working together to strengthen Iraq’s extension programs and training at Iraqi Universities to rebuild the country’s Agricultural sector. WSU’s training sessions began July 2007.
 
“Women’s participation in the agricultural sector is about 5-10%, which is why we felt it necessary to have a separate women’s session,” Ghanem said. The sessions began June 2008 in Amman, Jordan.
 
The sessions cover topics ranging from food sanitation and organic waste management to communication and direct marketing.
 
“It wasn’t just training for the women,” Carpenter-Boggs said. “They were all extension agents of some sort. If was for them to take what they learned and bring it back to their country to show others.”
 
Texas A&M headed the Iraqi Agricultural Extension Revitalization Project. Their focus was livestock, WSU’s focus was dryland cropping systems, UC Davis’ focus was horticulture, Utah State University’s focus was irrigation, and New Mexico State University’s focus was agricultural extension.
 
But training was not the only thing taking place during the weekly meetings.
 
“We really established a strong sisterhood with the women who participated in this session,” Killenger said.