On April 16, the American Carbon Registry
(ACR), a nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International, hosted its annual awards event. ACR Director John Kadyszewski presented ACR’s Climate Leadership award to Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and ACR also recognized outstanding environmental achievements of trailblazing organizations with awards based on the organization’s guiding principles of innovation, quality and excellence. Read the full press release here
USAID Bangladesh has officially kicked off its commitment to conservation through the Winrock International-implemented Climate-Resilient Ecosystems and Livelihoods (CREL) project in Bangladesh. On March 27, Donald Steinberg, USAID’s deputy administrator, and Dr. Hasan Mahmud, Bangladesh’s minister of Environment and Forests, announced the launch of the new project. CREL, led by Winrock and a consortium of experts, will deliver successful solutions for climate adaptation, ecosystem conservation, rural livelihoods and economic growth, among other program goals. The U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, Dan Mozena, and USAID Bangladesh Mission Director, Richard Greene, also attended the launch. USAID Bangladesh posted photos and information about the launch event here.
Earlier this month, The Wallace Center’s National Good Food Network presented the webinar, Local Meats Processing: Successes and Innovations. In the webinar Lauren Gwin and Arion Thiboumery, co-founders and co-coordinators of the national Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network, share the results of their research on the topic of local meat processing, featuring innovations and lessons learned from successful processors around the country. If you missed the webinar, you can still watch the archived version.
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|With EIG's Help, Women and Families in Nepal See Improvement in Livelihoods
“On the same piece of land, with new technology, I have been able to produce three times more than I was [able to produce] with anything else in the past. I have sent my children to a boarding school and provided employment for my husband. When we work together, it gives us strength.”
Those words spoken by Ballika Bhandari are illustrative of lives transformed. It’s just one example of the thousands of disadvantaged and conflict-affected youth in Nepal who increased their incomes through assistance from the USAID/Nepal Education for Income Generation (EIG) project, implemented by Winrock International from 2008 through 2012.
According to an impact study as part of EIG’s close-out earlier this year, 74,917 marginalized youth — women, low caste and ethnic minorities between the ages of 16 and 35 — saw their incomes increased through the help of entrepreneurial literacy training, vocational education, agriculture production linked to markets, and scholarships for intermediate level professional degrees. For example, by providing training on raising off-season vegetables, and developing the input supply chain along with local market collection centers for farmers to sell their products, EIG, on average, increased annual incomes by $412 (those involved in agricultural productivity, specifically, earned a 254-percent increase in income). These increased incomes and improved food security have had a profound effect: families reported sending their children to school and re-investing in land to grow more food.
Also, graduates of vocational training opened their own shops, hiring and training neighbors to work in their newly formed enterprise. Skilled graduates in masonry, woodworking, tailoring, cellphone repair and motorcycle repair provided much-needed services for remote communities, and entrepreneurial literacy courses brought basic health and nutrition knowledge.
Perhaps EIG’s impact is best realized in the words of another beneficiary of the project, Padma Devi Khatri, who spoke of children: “The literacy class opened our eyes and we started to send our daughters to school. … Further, we have been thinking of what we need to do to encourage girls to study and advance as the boys do. Everyone is now sending their daughters to schools."
Benefits of Winrock Volunteer Support Continue Years Later in Bangladesh
The cheese industry in Bangladesh was still in its infancy when Northern Agricultural Co. Ltd. (NAICOL) began producing cheese in 2004, struggling to maintain a high quality product and maximize production. With the assistance of three Winrock International volunteers, production quickly improved and the volunteer impact continues nearly 10 years later.
As part of the USAID-funded John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program, Winrock sent volunteers Sally and Roger Jackson as the first cheese experts to train 18 NAICOL staff (all women) on cheese processing and sanitation standards in 2005 and in 2007. A third volunteer, Richard Janita, followed to conduct trainings on the production of different types of processed cheese and other dairy products.
“From F2F volunteers’ training, we learned how to make diversified products,” says Estiaque Ahmed, NAICOL managing director. “Their suggestions helped us a lot in improving our overall situation and increasing production with better use of our existing capacity.”
After the volunteer assignments, NAICOL’s cheese production more than doubled from 450-500 kg/month that first year to 1,000-1,200 kg/month in 2007. The company has continued to follow the volunteer recommendations, and as a result, it now produces 3,000 kg/month of cheese which they can sell to hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and prominent food processing companies — with a 30-percent profit margin. With a domestic market demand of 40,000 kg of cheese per month, there are even greater opportunities for continued growth, which also means increased sales and incomes for the 80 to 85 farmers who supply the milk.
Over the years, NAICOL has maintained a strong connection with the F2F volunteers. In 2009, Ahmed traveled to the U.S. to visit Janita in Wisconsin, where he toured a dairy plant and observed different processing equipment and techniques. These ongoing connections encourage NAICOL to continue to make strides in their own production. “The best thing about the F2F volunteer experts is that they taught us simple techniques which are very convenient to implement,” Ahmed says.
Winrock and Cargill Seek to Help Improve Incomes for Indonesian Coconut Farmers
Winrock International has partnered with PT Cargill Indonesia to help coconut farmers in Indonesia earn higher incomes through the use of improved inputs and agronomic practices.
In February, local officials and smallholder farmers joined Cargill and Winrock at a ceremony in Amurang, North Sulawesi, to hand over improved seedlings and organic fertilizer to farmers participating in the Smallholder Coconut Farmer Development Program. Winrock and Cargill are working with government agencies in the region including the local government of South Minahasa, the local plantation office, the relevant government agencies, and the Indonesian Palm Research Center (Balitpalma).
The program increases productivity by providing farmers with drought tolerant, fungi resistant coconut seedlings; training on good agricultural practices, integrated pest management, and postharvest management; and providing farmers with organic fertilizer. Winrock is training representatives of the local government in these approaches so they can continue to provide farmers with the services and training needed to increase their productivity. Farmers are increasing their knowledge of improved agricultural practices, which will result in improved yields, higher incomes and sustainable livelihoods.
The program expands and builds upon Cargill’s ongoing efforts to support agricultural development in the region. Coconut is an important cash crop for the North Sulawesi economy and copra, the dried kernel of the coconut, is used in the production of coconut oil. The North Sulawesi region has the largest coconut plantation acreage in Indonesia, with 70 percent of the area owned by smallholders. However, coconut production in North Sulawesi has decreased by 60 percent in the last five years because trees are reaching the end of their productive cycle.