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September 2013

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From Aug. 5-16, the USAID-funded Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (LEAF) program, implemented by Winrock International, held a two-week regional Climate Change Curriculum Development Training Workshop in Bangkok in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service. Professors from 12 Southeast Asian universities and three U.S. universities tested collaboratively-developed climate change modules and teaching materials for basic climate change, land-use planning, forest carbon measurement and monitoring, and social and environmental soundness. Learn more.

The Winrock-implemented Achieving Reduction of Child Labor in Support of Education (ARISE) project trained 50 Community Child Labor Committees last month in Lilongwe and Ntcheu. The groups were trained in methods that will allow them to effectively monitor, report and make referrals in support of those prevented and withdrawn from child labor. Read more from the Malawi Voice.

Farm-to-school programs have been successful at getting good, healthy, local, whole foods to our nation's students. Food hubs hold great promise for filling a gap some programs have found. Join the Wallace Center’s National Good Food Network for examples of successful food hub-assisted farm to school programs on Oct. 17, during a free webinar, “Food Hubs and Farm to School.” Register for the webinar today. If you missed the Sept. 19 webinar, “State of the Food Hub — National Survey Results,” you can access the archived version here.

Scaling up good food requires increasing the capacity of growers, but there must be buyers lined up to get the food to the customers. Large buyers Chipotle and Sysco are committed to increasing their local and regional purchasing, and in this free National Good Food Network webinar, they present their local and regional food buying policies, practices and goals.

In October, GlobalGiving is offering multiple regional Bonus Days. A match of 30 percent for donations and two $1,000 bonus awards will be given when the gift is made through the GlobalGiving.org website. Oct. 9 is the Bonus Day for projects in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, while Oct. 23 is designated for projects in North and South America and the Caribbean. If you are interested in supporting any of Winrock’s projects on GlobalGiving, you can read more about them here.

Winrock International’s Nonprofit Improvement Program (WINIP), funded by USDA’s Rural Community Development Initiative, has worked with more than 50 rural municipalities and rural nonprofits to support capacity-building activities. Through workshops and mentoring assistance, Winrock strives to strengthen recipients’ ability to design innovative, sustainable development projects. The program also hosts a capacity-building tour to a previous recipient location and this year was focused on regional collaboration, the importance of partnerships, and how to prepare for a natural disaster. The city of Mena, Ark., as a past WINIP recipient location, provided a great example of all three.

Are you interested in working at Winrock? Search current openings and post your resume. Would you like to volunteer with Winrock? Learn more about new opportunities for volunteers.

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Winrock Proud to Play Role in Continuation of Indonesia’s Economic, Social Progress
By Rodney FergusonLast month I had the opportunity to visit Indonesia to meet our colleagues and visit one of Winrock’s project sites. I chose to visit Indonesia as my first trip as president and CEO in part because of Indonesia’s importance in Winrock’s history. One of Winrock’s predecessor organizations, the Agricultural Development Council, has been assisting Indonesian scholars and scientists since the early 1950s, and we’ve had a continuous presence there ever since. Another reason I chose to visit Indonesia is that the country is, and will remain for many years to come, a strategically important country for the United States. Through Winrock’s current work in clean energy development and agricultural modernization, we are playing an important role in ensuring that Indonesia’s remarkable economic and social progress continues in the years ahead.

Rodney Ferguson meets with Indonesian Minister of Agriculture Suswono.My trip mate, John Kadyszewski, and I met with Bernard Castermans and the rest of our terrific colleagues in Jakarta, and enjoyed a wonderful group dinner together. John and I also participated in a Winrock-sponsored seminar that presented the latest on research findings from the JDR 3rd team in Indonesia about the effect of changing rainfall patterns on agricultural production. To our surprise, the Indonesian Minister of Agriculture Suswono attended, and spoke warmly of Winrock’s work. We also had an opportunity to meet with the leadership of AUSAID in Indonesia with our colleague Mary Renwick to talk about potential water projects, and met with the executives from the Millennium Challenge Alliance-Indonesia (MCA-I) to talk about our interest in putting together project teams for upcoming MCA-I projects. We ended our time in the capital by hosting a dinner for friends and partners.

We then headed north to the island of Sulawesi to visit the site of our work with Cargill, helping local coconut farmers improve production quality and market value for their products. We visited the Cargill plant in Amurang along with our indefatigable colleague Eva Sulistiawaty, and talked with local farmers and agricultural extension agents about the challenges they face in increasing prices in a very tough copra (dried sections of the meat of the coconut) market.

This was the first in what will be regular trips for me to our project sites. I thank our colleagues in Indonesia for their warmth and enthusiasm and look forward to the next chance to meet our far-flung Winrock family.

‘Lister’ Engine Successfully Generates Electricity on Locally Available Crude Palm Oil
Bono joins U.S. congressional delegation for a Lister engine demonstration.The USAID-funded Liberia Energy Sector Support Project (LESSP), implemented by Winrock International, received a 5 kW (8 kVA) test engine/generator in June to modify and test the value of using locally available and slightly treated crude palm oil (CPO) as a biofuel — the first such test carried out in Liberia. The extremely successful series of test runs bodes well for electricity being available to  many remote Liberian villages in the future, particularly in the northeast where two types of oil palms are now grown — one for food and the other for industrial uses, such as soap making, which is the source of CPO used as biofuel.

The test was carried out in Monrovia with CPO brought from Sorlumba village. LESSP has a pilot renewable energy subproject scheduled to begin in Sorlumba later this year based on three such “Lister” engines (total capacity of 36 kW) that will be powered by CPO. Citizens from the Sorlumba Electricity Cooperative brought the CPO to Monrovia, while Winrock/LESSP staff contracted with Elmer’s Liberia, a mechanics shop, to modify the engine and conduct the tests. During the initial experiment, the modified engine was first started on diesel and was operated for an hour to bring the temperature up. The CPO feed valve was partially open after that, and the engine was operated on a mixture of diesel and filtered, pre-heated CPO fuel for approximately three minutes. Finally, it was operated on CPO alone for 45 minutes. The noise level, temperature of the engine and temperature of the cooling water were all found to be normal when running on 100 percent CPO. Additionally, the cost of electricity from the CPO will be nearly half the cost of power generated from diesel.

Last month, the modified Lister engine was part of a demonstration of biomass renewable energy technologies at the Booker Washington Institute in Liberia, attended by a large congressional delegation which included seven U.S. senators, as well as ONE/RED co-founder and U2 lead singer, Bono.

Food Hub Provides Fresh, Local, Healthy Food in Millions of School Meals Across South
Holmes County Food Hub employees.The Wallace Center at Winrock International was pleased to participate in the grand opening of the Holmes County Food Hub last month in the rural community of Sand Hills, Miss.

The launch event served as an opportunity to celebrate what the Holmes County Food Hub has accomplished in less than one year. Even though the hub officially launched Aug. 1, it has been aggregating from its network of 25 small- to medium-scale farmers serving farm-to-school programs in the Deep South for the past year.

The hub’s primary market is the growing number of schools interested in local, fresh and healthy food for school lunches and other meals. Children across Mississippi, in Memphis, and throughout other southern states, are being served sweet potato sticks, collard greens, butternut squash, leafy greens and turnips. The food hub has supplied farm-to-school programs in 152 school districts with 1,097 schools and 336,113 students. That means fresh, local and healthy food in more than 60 million meals over the course of the coming school year. Sweet potato sticks are listed on the Mississippi public school statewide vendor list, and the Holmes County Food Hub is providing them to schools. Under the Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, the hub will also sell to the state of Mississippi more than 10,000 pounds of freshly frozen collard greens.

The Holmes County Food Hub was developed through a partnership between the Wallace Center and the New North Florida Cooperative that is assisting limited resource and historically disadvantaged farmers in accessing local fresh fruit and vegetable markets via the Increasing Farmer Success in the Deep South project, made possible with funding from the Walmart Foundation.

       


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