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January 2014

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USAID, through the Winrock-implemented Supporting Forests and Biodiversity (SFB) project, is helping villagers in Cambodia acquire the rights to manage the land they’ve lived on for generations. Read more in USAID’s Frontlines. Watch this video to see how SFB is “Protecting Forests, Enriching Lives."

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University traveled last year to Burkina Faso, where Winrock is implementing Multiple-Use water Services (MUS) through the USAID-funded West African Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program. Early results from their investigation revealed "the unexpected role that women’s entrepreneurship plays in spurring demand for enhanced wells." Read more.

Visiting the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam last month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke of the cooperation of the United States and Vietnam to "strengthen Vietnam’s resilience to the effects" of climate change. In his remarks, Kerry announced "an initial commitment of $17 million for USAID’s Vietnam Forest and Deltas Program" — a program being implemented by Winrock. Read Secretary Kerry's full remarks.

In December, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy, the California Coastal Conservancy, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), Winrock’s American Carbon Registry, The Nature Conservancy, HydroFocus, and Tierra Resources announced the kick-off meetings for development of a new carbon offset methodology to scientifically quantify greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the restoration of California deltaic and coastal wetlands. Funding for methodology development was provided by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, the California Coastal Conservancy, Metropolitan Water District and DWR. Read the full announcement.

In Tajikistan, Winrock helped women farmers "gain land-use rights and secure positions in water user associations." Read more from USAID's Global Waters this month.

After completing two rounds in Fayetteville, Ark., the ARK Challenge will expand to Little Rock this year. Administered by Innovate Arkansas, the ARK Challenge is a three-month boot camp for tech-based startups.

The Healthy Food Commerce Investments program of Wholesome Wave has been studying food hubs, and the viability of several individual hubs. An upcoming National Good Food Network webinar will present a distillation of their work: What makes a solid, investable hub business? Join the Wallace Center on Feb. 20 for this free webinar: Getting Your Bucks in a Row – the Food Hub Due Diligence Toolkit.

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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Creating a network of 'gender champions' across Asia-Pacific region
LEAF workshop helps create network of 'gender champions' across Asia-Pacific regionHow can gender inequity be addressed so that it no longer seriously limits sustainable solutions in the forestry and land-use sector? This was the main topic of discussion for more than 30 women and men from six Asia-Pacific countries at a workshop last November.

The Asia-Pacific Leadership Program on Gender and Climate Change/REDD+ provided participants with the opportunity to enhance their gender leadership and analytical abilities in the context of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) and climate change. Participants from national-level government agencies, civil society organizations and women’s groups outlined a mentorship plan aimed at applying lessons from the training. To assist in these efforts, participants created an Asia-Pacific network of gender and REDD+ leaders.

"A gender champion can catalyze true and lasting change,” said Carrie Thompson, with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). “We are forming the nucleus of an important new network for gender champions across the region."

The workshop was organized by the USAID-funded and Winrock-implemented Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (LEAF) program, in collaboration with the group, Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture & Natural Resource Management. LEAF is working to strengthen the capacity of target countries to achieve meaningful and sustainable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the forestry-land use sector.

Volunteer unearths untapped potential for coffee farmers in Myanmar
Rick Peyser, in Myanmar, on a F2F volunteer assignment.As Myanmar (Burma) continues to open its doors to the world for the first time in decades, Winrock’s USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program brings part of the world to its footsteps.

In November, Winrock sent Rick Peyser to Myanmar on a F2F volunteer assignment. A coffee expert with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, he spent two weeks in Myanmar with smallholder coffee farmers and coffee estates, assessing needs and opportunities, and providing training. Before his trip, Peyser searched the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s “Coffees of the World” map, among other sources, but found almost no reference to coffee in Myanmar. With a goal to help Myanmar coffee farmers to get on the map (literally), Peyser’s steadfast dedication, along with the perseverance of the farmers, has things moving in the right direction.

Coffee produced in Myanmar is beginning to get visibility in the U.S. for, perhaps, the first time. Peyser brought organic coffee samples from five Myanmar coffee growers and convened a panel of coffee experts in the U.S., who tested and ranked the coffee. Unexpectedly, the majority of samples demonstrated strong potential, with two rating particularly well.

“This was encouraging,” Peyser said. “Here was coffee processed by smallholders using very rudimentary processing equipment. With improved equipment and training, this has the potential to be very good coffee.”

One of Peyser’s recommendations was for the farmers to organize themselves — for improved negotiations, information sharing and economies of scale. By the time he left Myanmar, farmers already had formed three new groups. Likewise, the Myanmar Fruit, Flower, and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association has since put steps into place to launch a new Myanmar Coffee Association in February.

Since returning to the U.S., Peyser has reached out to trade publications and coffee associations to spread the word about the potential for Myanmar coffee. He explains, “My hope is that the small-scale farmers in Myanmar can improve their livelihoods with coffee, without giving up the rich diversity on their farms. They are a model for other farmers around the world.”

Increasing access to clean and sustainable electricity in Liberia's urban & rural communities
LESSP staff economist, Alia Luz.Managed by Winrock International, USAID’s Liberia Energy Sector Support Program (LESSP) works to increase access to clean and sustainable electricity within the country’s urban and rural communities. Recognizing the importance of sound financial modeling and analyses, LESSP project staff worked last year to update and improve financial models and related analyses for rural power systems, including:

• a 60 kW rural electricity system at Kwendin Village, Nimba County, which will utilize rubber tree wood chips as fuel for biomass gasifiers;
• a 36 kW system in Sorlumba Village, Lofa County, which will use crude palm oil as fuel in diesel Lister engines; and
• a 53 kW photovoltaic system in Gbarnway Village, Lofa County.

All of these off-grid/mini-grids are being implemented currently and will begin operation this year.

After collecting up-to-date local costs for equipment, labor, fuel and materials, LESSP staff economist, Alia Luz, created and used the financial models to estimate a number of key parameters including: the monthly tariff for consumers in the villages to be supplied; the comparative cost of electricity by fossil diesel; and cost allocations required to create economically sustainable systems based on community ownership and 25 years of projected operation.
  
The project’s work demonstrates that a renewable energy (RE) electricity supply to consumers in rural Liberia is 40 to 50 percent less expensive than the more commonly selected fossil diesel fuelled solutions. Since the longer term objective is to encourage replication of the LESSP pilots, the work is also producing generic models that can be adapted to other locations and fuels.
       


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