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November 2011

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The Rural Enterprise for Alleviating Poverty (REAP) project – managed by Winrock and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – was featured in a recent post on the USDA Blog. REAP’s goal was to help farmers boost incomes by adding prawns and vegetables to their existing farming efforts.

Winrock’s Dan Gudahl will make a presentation at USAID as part of an Agriculture Sector Council Seminar on Nov. 30 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. Gudahl will talk about the success of the REAP project and discuss future approaches for sustainable agricultural development in Bangladesh.

Forest Day 5 will feature Winrock International’s Sandra Brown as a keynote speaker and will be held in Durban, South Africa, on Dec. 4. Brown’s keynote, “Building Capacity to Address Reference Levels, Interim Steps, and Links to Measurement System Design,” will be part of the discussion forum titled: “Exploring reference levels and monitoring for REDD+: Early country pilot activities.”

Winrock International is moving toward redesigning its web presence and is currently conducting research as part of the process. If you would like to provide your input, please take 5-10 minutes to answer a short series of questions that will help us recognize the type of web content and information that is important to our audience and key stakeholders. Please respond to the survey by Nov. 30. Your participation is greatly appreciated.

The Pinchot Institute and Winrock’s American Carbon Registry (ACR) announced last month a partnership to pilot the Forest Health-Human Health Initiative, the world’s first demonstration of linking forest carbon projects with affordable health care services for forest landowners. Read the press release.

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 Assists Grape Producers in Baluchistan Increase Income and Knowledge
Winrock Assists Grape Producers in Baluchistan Increase Income and KnowledgeThe happiness on Mr. Mohammad’s face is evident. This growing season he earned an additional 15-percent profit on the sale of his grapes with the help of Winrock.

Mohammad is one of several small-scale grape producers in Baluchistan, Pakistan, and as a member of the Baluchistan Horticultural Cooperative Society (BHCS), he participated in the Pakistan Agriculture Cold Chain Development (PACCD) project designed and implemented by Winrock. The project aims to raise farmers’ incomes by promoting high-value horticulture through training and agricultural inputs, and developing links between farmers and viable markets.

The USDA-funded project helped reactivate the cooperative society through the institution of an effective governance structure; through a provisional grant providing for the purchase of office equipment; and through in-kind contributions such as high-quality cardboard boxes, plastic field crates, clippers and other inputs for proper packaging of produce. BHCS members were able to access these provisions at a fraction of their market-rate costs. Additionally, PACCD experts delivered training and technical assistance. Cooperative members learned proper post-harvest handling, as well as clipping and packaging techniques. The new practices also meshed with traditional farming techniques practiced in Baluchistan, allowing local farmers to make substantial gains without making drastic changes.

Finally, depending on the quality of the grapes at harvest, the boxes are either transported straight to market for sale or to a nearby cold store where they will be retained for sale during the off-season for a higher price. Mohammad has seen a significant increase in his income from sale of grapes during the most recent season. More importantly, he now possesses the knowledge of good agricultural practices – resulting in sustainable change.

Development of Tibetan Traditional Handicrafts Helps with Poverty Reduction
Development of Tibetan Traditional Handicrafts Helps with Poverty ReductionIn 2006 the members of Shamalong Yala Mountain Association registered as a locally owned organization in Sichuan Province, Southwest China. This enabled the group of artisans to generate income by selling their traditional Tibetan handicrafts in local markets. After five years of confronting shifting policy environments and an unstable tourist market on the Tibetan grasslands around Shamalong, the association converted to a locally organized artisan cooperative. Their goals were to increase the value of their products, compete more effectively in the local market and expand to larger urban sales centers.

In the past, Shamalong’s difficulties in marketing its products were largely related to product design. Lack of relevant technology and skills resulted in low product quality and a lack of innovation. Market access was also a challenge, with a lack of reliable market links and subsequently low revenues complicated by policies which have increasingly restricted the flow of international funds for organizational development.

With the support of Winrock International’s USAID-funded Tibetan Sustainable Environmental Resources for Increased Economic Growth (TSERING) project, the Shamalong Artisan Cooperative reset its management system with a focus on new designs and capacity building. The TSERING team also introduced the cooperative to the Nian Xin Trading Corp., which has strong capabilities in market linkage development. Nian Xin was able to provide crucial marketing support for Shamalong to improve the quality of its products and meet the needs of its customers. ... Continue reading.

Illinois Man Makes Volunteering an Opportunity to Make a Difference One on One
Illinois Man Makes Volunteering an Opportunity to Make a Difference One on OneCliff Wener is a food service, food processing and hospitality expert from Winnetka, Ill. Over the last 12 years, he has lent his time and expertise to Winrock International and other organizations on more than 20 different volunteer assignments around the world. Most recently, Cliff volunteered with Winrock for USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer program in Bangladesh, where he worked with a local food processor to improve food handling and safety practices, introduce new products and recipes, and increase overall productivity and profit. By strengthening food processors, volunteers help create better markets and income for farmers and new jobs for the unemployed.

Winrock staff recently talked with Cliff about his past experiences and passion for volunteering. Some of his thoughts are included in the following interview.

What keeps you going back to volunteer?

It’s an opportunity to make a difference on a very personal level. Despite what you read in the newspapers about hostilities between one country and another, the everyday person just needs to get up and go about daily living of providing for family and raising children – just like me in the U.S. It’s really a good opportunity for people to show one-on-one that whatever you read in media, Americans are good people. And for me, I can come back and say, “Okay, the average people from [X country] are good people trying to get through life and make things happen.” ... Continue reading.

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