10 May 2022 | Story Anthony Mthembu | Photo Supplied
Alina Ntsiapane
Alina Ntsiapane obtained second place in the partners division of the ILRI CapDev Grand Challenge research pitching contest.

Alina Ntsiapane, a PhD student at the University of the Free State, obtained second place in the partners category of the International Livestock Research Institute’s (ILRI) CapDev Grand Challenge research pitching contest, which took place on 13 April 2022. The pitching contest is the first part of the CapDev Grand Challenge, which is a 10-month process aimed at equipping scientists with the necessary skills to contribute to new research. 

Presenting Research to a Tough Panel of Judges 

Ntsiapane was one of 30 contestants who presented their research virtually to a panel of esteemed judges. “It was not easy, it was very challenging for me because it was my first time presenting my PhD study and I had to do it live on an international platform,” expressed Ntsiapane. Although each contestant is thoroughly prepared for their respective presentations, Ntsiapane argues that some of the questions asked by the judges can be quite daunting. “Some of their questions were very challenging and I did not know how to respond to them, but they made me aware of ways in which I needed to improve my research,” she stated. However, regardless of the intensity of the pitching contest, Ntsiapane’s research allowed her to progress to the next stage of the CapDev Grand Challenge. She will be part of the rigorous 10-month training process that will begin in June 2022.

Ntsiapane’s Research Project

Ntsiapane’s PhD research focuses on the production of smallholder wool as a means to improve livelihoods in both Thaba ’Nchu and Botshabelo in the Free State. In fact, in the research Ntsiapane highlights that there has been a significant decline in the production of wool within the last three decades. As such, Ntsiapane believes it is imperative to create spaces that allow for the training of small-scale farmers, so that the production of wool can still be a possibility.
Consequently, Ntsiapane hopes that the 10-month training she will receive from the CapDev Grand Challenge will not only allow her to grow but will assist in opening doors for her. “I’m hoping to get exposure and to make connections with policy makers and the donors as well. This will assist me in achieving my goals,” she explained. 

Future Endeavours After the Training Course

Subsequent to the training course, Ntsiapane would like to utilise that knowledge by continuing to make her most recent project a reality. Ntsiapane is currently working on developing a television show aimed at providing adequate training to small-scale farmers, so that they are equipped with the necessary knowledge and understanding of the industry in which they find themselves. As such, being part of the CapDev Grand Challenge will allow her to learn some of the necessary ways in which this dream could become a reality. 

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.