January/February 2008
Global Connections: ACDI/VOCA's E-newsletter
H.J. Heinz Company Partners with USAID, Government of Egypt & ACDI/VOCA

President Carl Leonard
Following the GDA signing, ACDI/VOCA President Carl Leonard visited with smallholders in Upper Egypt where ACDI/VOCA provides modern veterinary technologies.
The H.J. Heinz Company signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with USAID, ACDI/VOCA and the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation on December 13. The MOU formalizes a new public-private alliance to develop Egypt's process tomato and other value-added horticulture supply chains. The five-year program, to be implemented by ACDI/VOCA, will invest in the vast but largely unrealized potential of thousands of Upper Egypt's small farmers to meet modern market demands for product quality and quantity.

The MOU establishes a Global Development Alliance (GDA), a partnership that brings together the public sector, private sector and nongovernmental organizations in support of shared objectives. The initiative has been dubbed the "Four Thousand Tons per Day" program, in reference to smallholder production targets and the expanded daily processing capacity of local plants owned by Heinz and its affiliates. The program's primary objective is to contribute to sustainable rural development by enhancing the capacity of smallholder farmers to profitably produce and deliver quality process tomatoes, and then extending this capacity to other high-value crops. More.

Don't Miss Overseas Opportunities
ACDI/VOCA has created two e-tools to keep you better connected to our international career and volunteer opportunities: the Job Alert and the e-Profile. While we may already have your résumé on file, you will still need to create an e-Profile to actively pursue future assignments. Job Alert: By signing up for the Job Alert and tailoring it to your preferences, you will be notified the instant we have an opportunity that matches your criteria. When you receive an alert, you can inform us of your interest, forward it to your colleagues or await the next opportunity. e-Profile: Quickly identifying and deploying development professionals such as yourself is critical to the success of our programs. In order to do so, we must have current résumé and contact information. You can ensure this by establishing an e-Profile on our website. Update your e-Profile at any time and use it to respond to opportunities of interest with the click of a button. More.

MFIs on MIX Global 100 & Forbes' Top 100
KLFThe Microfinance Information Exchange's 2007 Rankings of Microfinance Institutions, a ranking of the top-performing MFIs throughout the developing world released on Jan. 2, 2008, identifies a number of institutions affiliated with ACDI/VOCA. In analyzing 2006 data, MIX ranked 1,126 reporting microfinance institutions in 6 categories. A number of institutions affiliated with ACDI/VOCA made the top 100, including at number 49, Mongolia's XAC Bank. KLF ranked 37 on another prestigious list in 2007: The World's Top 50 Microfinance Institutions. The list was developed by based on 2006 data from the Microfinance Information Exchange, Micro-Credit Ratings International Limited and MicroRate. More.

ACDI/VOCA Conducts USAID Value Chain Workshop in Egypt
Value chain trainingACDI/VOCA, in collaboration with USAID and QED Group, organized and conducted a value chain workshop in Cairo, Egypt, December 3-6. The workshop was the third in a series of regional workshops that brought together USAID mission staff and implementing partners to share their experiences and refine approaches to value chain projects. Unique to this workshop, facilitators addressed specific issues that arise from operating in conflict-affected environments and the challenges of reaching the very poor. The workshop was part of ACDI/VOCA's $10 million Accelerated Microenterprise Advancement Project Business Development Services Knowledge and Practice II Task Order. Forty-five participants from 13 countries attended. More.

Nandani Cooperative Signs MOU with Radhakrishna Foodland
GMED signing ceremonyACDI/VOCA's Growth-oriented Microenterprise Development Program helped broker the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in India between Radhakrishna Foodland, a major food exporter and retailer, and the Nandani Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Cooperative Society on January 23. The MOU is a landmark agreement that will connect the large Indian food retailer—India's equivalent of Wal-Mart—with smallholder farmers. Under the partnership, the Nandani Cooperative's 5,400 smallholder farmer co-op members will sell fresh fruits and vegetables to Foodland. This market supply chain linkage will increase the members' profits and ensure a reliable supply of high-quality fresh produce to Foodland. The supply chain will be managed with the help of Infosys, an information technology services provider that developed software to manage the flow of goods between the retailer and the co-op. More.

ACDI/VOCA Celebrates 35 Years in Bolivia
Bolivia ICDFOn December 10, ACDI/VOCA celebrated its 35th anniversary in Bolivia with a reception. Numerous beneficiaries, representatives from ACDI/VOCA's hundreds of institutional partnerships throughout the country, officials from the government of Bolivia and members of the donor community attended the event. In his welcoming remarks, 10-year veteran Country Representative Glenn Blumhorst highlighted ACDI/VOCA’s emergence during the last decade from a volunteer-based technical assistance provider to a flagship USAID implementing partner for integrated alternative development programs. USAID Mission Director Michael Yates congratulated ACDI/VOCA, "For USAID, experience, capacity, sensitivity and commitment are basic institutional qualities that we seek in our implementing partners. Without a doubt, ACDI/VOCA possesses these qualities and demonstrates them every day through the sound implementation of some of our most significant development initiatives. USAID is strongly supporting the government of Bolivia, and within this framework ACDI/VOCA is a highly efficient and effective implementer." More.

NASFAM Celebrates 10th Anniversary
The National Smallholder Farmers' Association of Malawi (NASFAM) celebrated its 10th anniversary on December 20th at the Natural Resources College in Lilongwe, Malawi. ACDI/VOCA was integral to the formation of NASFAM in 1997 and has provided important support to the association, which today represents over 100,000 farmer families. NASFAM Chief Executive Officer Dyborn Chibonga complimented the members for their commitment to making NASFAM a model of success for the rest of Malawi. The impressive work of NASFAM in developing smallholders' skills and linkages to markets has resulted in members selling their crops to local supermarkets and exporting them to other African countries and Europe, thus creating new sources of income and earning higher profits from high-value crops. More.

6,000 Attend Food Festival in Beirut
Lebanese productsOver 6,000 people attended a 3 day Lebanese National Food Festival in Beirut that ended on December 9. The festival was conducted under the patronage of the Ministry of Tourism and with USAID’s financial support. "One of Lebanon's many attractions is its food," said Noubia Gribi of ACDI/VOCA, which, along with SRI International and Hospitality Services, organized the event, "and this first-ever celebration of food and culture will help achieve even greater appreciation of the country's products and its hospitality." More than 140 exhibitors ranging from food producers, agribusinesses and restaurants to handicraft producers and cultural organizations were featured. USAID/Lebanon Mission Director Raouf Youssef commended ACDI/VOCA's work on the food festival, saying it had drawn the attention of the country during times of trouble and had provided a welcome bit of good news. More.

Linking Palestinians to Export Markets
Man in fieldIn 2007 representatives from ACDI/VOCA's West Bank Food Security Program met with several Palestinian and Israeli export marketing companies to promote linkages with agricultural cooperatives. After reviewing the profiles of five cooperatives, two of the companies agreed to enter into small pilot projects involving the cultivation and export of new cash crops. Contracts have already been signed between Agro Star and the Thinnaba and Baqa Al-Sharqeyeh Agricultural cooperatives to cultivate cluster cherry tomatoes for export, and between Agrexco and Qabatya cooperatives to cultivate snow peas for export and the local market. More.

Record Number in Congress Call for Foreign Assistance Increase
In late December, 186 members of Congress—61 senators and 125 representatives—from both sides of the aisle urged President Bush to make greater investments in the U.S. International Affairs Budget as the administration prepares its FY 2009 Federal Budget request. In letters to the president, members of the Senate and the House called for increased funding for America's diplomatic, development and humanitarian assistance programs, a fundamental pillar of our national security and foreign relations. In light of recent calls by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates for "a dramatic increase in spending on the civilian instruments of national security—diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action and economic reconstruction and development," the letters may signify a growing recognition on the part of the administration and Congress for increased investments in the International Affairs Budget. According to the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign, of which ACDI/VOCA is a member, greater funding is necessary to improve America’s civilian capabilities and to achieve America's commitment to building global stability. In its final days, Congress approved $34.3 billion for the FY08 International Affairs Budget, representing a 5 percent increase over present spending. Despite this increase, the International Affairs Budget is a mere 1.2 percent of the entire federal budget, and 15 percent less in real terms than it was at the height of the Cold War. More.

Omnibus Appropriations Bill Funds USAID's CDP at $12 million
The Fiscal Year 2008 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations omnibus bill allocates $12 million for USAID's Cooperative Development Program (CDP). This would more than double the resources available for CDP. On November 2, ACDI/VOCA and other members of the Overseas Cooperative Development Council met with USAID Administrator Henrietta Fore to discuss the advantages of cooperatives for long-term sustainable development, and ACDI/VOCA President Carl Leonard and Land O'Lakes Vice President of the International and Dairy Proteins Division Tom Verdoorn briefed the administrator on the report Cooperatives: Pathways to Economic, Democratic, and Social Development in the Global Economy.

Ecuador: $5.6 million, USAID-funded Local Business Development program to accelerate growth in Ecuador's border regions.
Global: contract with the Global Fund and World Health Organization (WHO) to develop a contracting manual based on current Global Fund and WHO policies and procedures.
Egypt: five-year, Global Development Alliance project funded by H.J. Heinz Company and USAID to develop Egypt's process tomato and other value-added horticulture supply chains.

Long-term Overseas and Consultant Positions: Current positions we're looking to fill include the following:

El Salvador: Chief of Party

Francophone West Africa: Chief of Party

Mali: On-Farm Water Management Specialist

Short-Term Experts: Oil Industry

In addition, we're looking for applicants with expertise in

  • conflict-affected regions
  • infrastructure development
  • horticulture (fruit and vegetables)
  • specialty crops (cocoa, coffee, spices)
  • cereals
  • value chain or subsector analysis and value chain development

Please visit our website for more career opportunities.

Volunteer Positions: We need volunteers on an ongoing basis for short-term (typically 2 to 3 weeks) assignments who have the following expertise:

  • horticulture, specifically relating to tomatoes and fruit trees
  • dairy production and processing
  • veterinary medicine and reproductive health
  • strategic planning for ag associations and cooperatives

Current volunteer opportunities include the following:

Bolivia: International Furniture Manufacturing Standards—technical assistance for certified wood products. Fluency in Spanish preferred. Two weeks, March 2008.

Ethiopia: Horticulture Packhouse Workers Training—technical assistance for a traceability system for produce and HACCP compliance. Three weeks, April/May 2008.

Ethiopia: Financial Management Information Systems—expert experience in finance and information technology, specifically with LAN/WAN. Three weeks, February 2008.

Lebanon: Frozen and Regular Pastry Specialist—food science specialist with experience in plastic packaging. Three weeks, February 2008.

Lebanon: Sugar Plant Processing and Refining Technical Assistance—technical assistance in sugar processing/refining sector. Two weeks, February 2008.

Georgia: Hard Cheese Production—technical assistance on hard cheese production. Two weeks, February 2008.

Please visit our website for more volunteer opportunities and information.

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