International Visitors

International Visitors

Lieketseng “Keke” Phooko

Keke Phooko, visiting speaker from Lesotho, is a farmer who has trained other farmers in conservation agriculture.

From: Lesotho
Dates: October 20 – November 9 (Alberta, Manitoba)
Language: English

Keke Phooko is a young woman from the mountain kingdom of Lesotho where she and her family are small scale farmers, owning 1.4 hectares of land for vegetable production. She holds a diploma in Forestry and Natural Resource Management from Lesotho Agricultural College and has trained in conservation agriculture, a farming system that improves food production and food security for smallholder farmers who regularly experience hunger. She is experienced in training and facilitating farmer groups. Keke is currently serving as co-facilitator of Mennonite Central Committee’s Southern Africa Seed program which consists of young people, mostly from southern Africa, who are committed to improving food security based on sustainability and care of creation.

In 2011-2012, Keke lived in Winnipeg where she worked as an intern for Canadian Foodgrains Bank. In this role, she spoke to over 6000 people in K-12 schools and community groups across Canada about farming in the African context! Keke is passionate about agriculture and loves to share this passion! Foodgrains Bank has invited her to return to Canada for three weeks this fall to continue sharing her passion for farming, land issues and Southern Africa with Canadians.

For more information, or to book Jean as a speaker, contact Roberta Gramlich (204) 926-4245 or email

Jean Twilingiyumukisa (aka “John”)

Jean Twilingiyumukisa
From: Rwanda
Dates available: October 16 (World Food Day); daytime or evening
Languages: French and English

Jean is an agronomist, working as a Conservation Agriculture Technical Officer for Mennonite Central Committee/Canadian Foodgrains Bank. He is based in Rwanda, but oversees programs in Burundi, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Congo. He has expertise in the planning and development of rural and agriculture innovations. Before joining MCC/CFGB, Jean was Director General with IBAKWE Rural Innovation and Development Centre of Rwanda.

For more information, or to book Jean as a speaker, contact Roberta Gramlich (204) 926-4245 or email

Putso Nyathi, while visiting a Foodgrains Bank growing project in Ontario in Fall 2016.

Putso Nyathi
From: South Africa/Zimbabwe
Dates: November 18 – 24, 2017 (Manitoba)
Language: English

Putso is a Conservation Agriculture Technical Officer for Southern Africa with Mennonite Central Committee/Canadian Foodgrains Bank projects. She is a holder of a Master of Science in Agriculture and Development (University of Reading, UK), a Post Graduate Diploma in Project Planning and Management (University of Zimbabwe) and a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Agriculture (University of Zimbabwe). She has 15 years of experience working with smallholder farmers in various capacities in both research and development organizations.

For more information, contact James Kornelsen at (204) 926-4226 or by email

John Mbae, during a Foodgrains Bank learning tour to Kenya June 2017.

John Mbae
From: Kenya
Dates: November 6 – 21, 2017 (Alberta, Saskatchewan)
Language: English

John is the Conservation Agriculture (CA) Technical Specialist for Canadian Foodgrains Bank. He is based in Kenya and is involved with the scaling up of CA in the region since November 2015. He has over 11 years’ experience on socio-economic and agricultural research, advocacy and policy and project management especially agricultural based projects. He holds BSc in Animal Production from Egerton University in Kenya and a MA in Planning from the University of Nairobi. He previously worked as a researcher scientist and departmental head of policy and outreach with the Centre for Training and Integrated Research in ASAL Development (CETRAD). He successfully coordinated three conservation agriculture projects in three sub-counties in Kenya where he worked closely with smallholder farmers, government agencies and private partners such as the Syngenta Stewardship, Syngenta Global and Syngenta Foundation.

For more information, or to find out where John is speaking, contact James Kornelsen at (204) 926-4226 or email

Our international People-to-People program connects overseas partners with supporters.

People-to-people is about learning. Visitors learn more about Canadian culture and urban, and rural life. They learn about growing projects and meet farmers, donors, and volunteers. Members of the Canadian public learn about causes of and responses to global hunger. Visitors are available to speak in local churches and schools. Foodgrains Bank supporters host visitors and hear first hand about the impact of their contributions.

The goals of the program are 1) To provide learning and appreciation for Foodgrains Bank member programming from knowledgeable partner staff, 2) To foster a sense of community and mutual support around the goal of ending hunger, and 3) To provide learning opportunities for Canadians about hunger and food security, as well as for the international visitors, increasing their understanding of the Canadian context of support.

People-to-People visitors spend anywhere from one to four weeks in Canada. Upon returning to their home country, they have a better understanding of Canadian culture and the Foodgrains Bank’s support network across the country.

Are you interested in hosting a visitor? Contact Foodgrains Bank at 1.800.665.0377 or email us at