|Vocational training program boosts skills, access to services, livelihoods and confidence
On the Tibetan Plateau, the motorcycle is a ubiquitous mode of transportation – allowing travelers to negotiate the many winding, narrow and unpaved roads with ease and speed. However, few mechanics in the region have the skills to fix all the problems that a motorcycle presents. Namgyal, a 28-year old Tibetan man from Rinpo Village, Sichuan Province, in southwest China, repairs motorcycles, but lacked the comprehensive skills needed to expand his clientele and increase his income.
To improve his skills, Namgyal participated in a vocational training program supported by the Winrock-implemented Tibetan Sustainable Environmental Resources for Increased Economic Growth (TSERING) project, funded by USAID. Training consisted of extensive classroom teaching, as well as intensive hands-on activities. Namgyal and his colleagues practiced many real-world scenarios to troubleshoot motorcycle problems – in particular those that involved the engine’s electrical system. After completing the program, Namgyal outfitted a truck with solar power to set up a mobile motorcycle repair shop.
“In town, there are some motorcycle repair shops. But my competitors can’t travel as far as I can to get business. I own the market up in the mountains,” he said with a smile.
Armed with his new skills and professional acumen, Namgyal can take his business to his customers, whether they are in remote summer pastures or mountainsides, and they happily welcome his services. Since finishing the vocational training program, Namgyal is on course to surpass the income he earned for all of last year, which will help his family of six.
The goal of the TSERING project is to improve livelihoods in Tibetan communities in the western and southwestern regions of China.
Winrock helps Arkansas’ Farm2Work provide healthy, locally grown food options
Providing fresh produce options to office workers in central Arkansas is the mission of Farm2Work, an online farmer’s market that uses technology to provide broader community access to locally grown and organic goods by connecting Arkansas farmers with Arkansas workers.
Farm2Work owner Diane Rose, received assistance from Winrock International’s Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) and the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME). The AWBC and PRIME staff helped Rose develop a business plan, create a new pricing structure, connect to new local suppliers, and revise the company’s web presence to increase the likelihood of success. Staff worked together to leverage the resources available through their respective U.S. Small Business Administration programs to provide comprehensive training and technical assistance support to the microenterprise.
“I cannot thank [Winrock] enough for all that you and your staff have done to help us grow this business,” Rose said. “The [staff’s] ability to bring our vision into focus when the day-to-day operations overwhelm our efforts is truly amazing and we thank them so very much.”
Watch a short video with Rose talking about the support she received. Winrock addresses development challenges that affect communities across the United States. Through the implementation of coordinated and comprehensive community building strategies, projects in community, economic, workforce and small-business development help stabilize local economies and generate new sources of income.
Solar lanterns light rural villages in Philippines, provide entrepreneurship opportunities to women
In the mountainous areas of Marilog district in Davao City in the Philippines, approximately 17 percent of the region’s predominantly indigenous population live without any access to modern energy services.
With the goal of promoting local entrepreneurship for solar PV lighting products, Winrock International’s Alliance for Mindanao and Multi-Regional Renewable/Rural Energy Development Program (AMORE 3), funded by USAID, is implementing a Business Development Assistance (BDA) project in 40 rural villages in Mindanao. Assisted by the Well of Life Foundation (WOLF), 42 women formed the Marilog Solar Women’s Association (MSWA) and will rent out solar lanterns provided to them under the BDA project.
For its part, AMORE provided the association with two solar lantern PV charging stations, each with 20 units of re-chargeable 3W LED solar lanterns. In all, 40 fully-charged solar lanterns are being rented out to qualified households at PHP10 (23 U.S. cents) for two days. To qualify as a renter, MSWA requires clients to sign up as member of the association and pay PHP100 ($2.40) as a membership fee and PHP5.00 (12 U.S. cents) in monthly membership dues. The association estimates half of the 2,600 households in the village alone will rent the lanterns.
Alma Apang, chairperson of the MSWA, says their community feels grateful to AMORE for introducing this kind of business. “For the first time, our homes are brighter at night, we feel safer, and we all believe life is improving. They also trust us women to make the business grow.”
Around 2,500 households, or about 14,000 individuals, in Winrock-assisted communities in Mindanao benefit from the BDA project which aims to jumpstart community-led initiatives in expanding rural electrification using PV technology. At the helm of these initiatives are 40 people’s organizations which are continually being trained by AMORE in business management, entrepreneurship and organizational development.