Until 2009, Assoumane Maiga was an English professor in his native Mali. His experiences as a translator for field researchers led to active participation in research activities on child trafficking in agriculture. This, in turn, led to his career transition and interest in agricultural communications strategies. After receiving a Fulbright Scholarship, Mr. Maiga left his English teaching job and attended Oklahoma State University (OSU), earning a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Communications. He then pursued a PhD at OSU in Agricultural Education with a focus on Communications. His research was focused on evaluating communication strategies and the role of mass media in disseminating agriculture-related information to farmers in the post-conflict nations of Mali and Cote d’Ivoire. He hopes the results of his research can help governments develop policies and sustainable communication strategies for rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa.
During his fellowship he worked closely with Dr. Craig Edwards, Professor of Agricultural Education at Oklahoma State University (OSU) and Dr. Ousmane Coulibaly, Senior Agricultural Economist at IITA in Benin. Once he has completed his doctoral degree, Mr. Maiga intends to support the establishment of departments of agricultural education, extension, and communications in universities in Mali and elsewhere in West Africa. He has seen firsthand how important communications and communicators are to rural farmers in a time of crisis and the role communication can play in mitigating the effects of conflict. He completed his PhD in 2015 and is currently back in Mali as a professor advisor for the National Head Office of Pedagogy at the Ministry of Education. His most recent research focused on the capacity building needs of community-based organizations, agricultural value chains in the context of Mali, strategic agricultural communications in a post-conflict context, and food security.