This past World Food Day the global community had good news to celebrate. Recent agricultural and economic gains have pushed the number of hungry people below 1 billion. That drop is a 9.6 percent decline since last year, according to the U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization.
“While that’s encouraging, we must remain vigilant to consolidate these gains and pursue further declines in world hunger. A spike in food prices similar to what the global community experienced two years ago could quickly undo this year’s progress.” More.
Give a Gift of Coffee Excellence, Support Coffee Farmers in Bolivia
Looking for a meaningful, unique holiday gift this season? Give a gift that continues to impact families long after the holiday season has ended. ACDI/VOCA’s holiday fundraising campaign—“Gift of Coffee Excellence” —will help outfit a coffee research institute in rural Bolivia so farmers can reach premium world coffee markets and earn more money! Bolivia is one of the least-developed countries in the Western hemisphere and one of the poorest in South America. Your gift will build off ongoing USAID-funded work and help pay for equipment and training so rural coffee farmers in the Yungas region of Bolivia can produce premium-quality beans—using locally appropriate, sustainable coffee-growing practices—for high-value markets. More.
First Farmers’ Market at U.S. Embassy Results in Triple Profits for Liberians
What started as a small, one-time lettuce sale to U.S. embassy personnel is growing into the first farmers’ market in Monrovia, Liberia.
Fresh, market-quality produce is hard to come by in import-reliant Monrovia. However, a few months ago a local farmer supplied high-quality lettuce to U.S. embassy personnel. Since farm-fresh vegetables and fruit are scarce in Monrovia—and the demand is growing and consistent—ACDI/VOCA's Agriculture for Children's Empowerment (ACE) program identified it as an untapped market that could benefit local farmers and buyers alike. The initiative serves as a small part of other larger market linkages ACE has facilitated. The goal is to create incentives among farmers to be more responsive to market opportunities and adopt farming practices that increase their competitiveness.
Haiti Update: Construction Workers Trained in Seismic Safe Techniques
ACDI/VOCA recently completed a seismic safe construction training program—funded by the generosity of people like you—for local trainers and construction workers in Haiti’s Southeast Department.
Kent Allen, a volunteer from Wyoming with extensive experience in seismic safe construction, traveled to Haiti last month and trained 40 local trainers and area craftsmen in light construction, seismic and hurricane-resistant building techniques, and how to assess materials used for various types of construction.
This four-week hands-on training is part of a six-month job training program designed by APTECH (Ateliers Pilotes de Technologie), a Haitian educational association, to help train workers in new building techniques crucial to this earthquake-prone region.
Both training efforts are paid for by REACH (Rural Economy Acceleration in Haiti), the small-grants program funded through donations to the VOCA Foundation Fund in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 Haiti earthquake. More.
ACDI/VOCA Strengthens Social Stability in Paraguay
ACDI/VOCA’s USAID-funded Northern Zone Initiative, or Iniciativa Zona Norte (IZN), started in Paraguay just seven months ago, and already has brought concrete results to isolated and vulnerable communities.
Recently, ACDI/VOCA Chief of Party Sergio Rivas welcomed U.S Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission William Duncan and top officials from two of the most conflict-prone areas in Paraguay to inaugurate IZN’s three new microenterprise and two new infrastructure projects.
Such speedy success demonstrates to rural citizens that the Paraguayan government can deliver results. The challenge now is to keep that momentum going toward social stability. More.
Sierra Leone Farmers Gain from U.S. Agricultural Investments
Farmers’ organizations in Sierra Leone like the Sinava Producer's Organization, which are working with ACDI/VOCA and its partners to boost agricultural productivity, will contribute this year to the World Food Program’s Purchase for Progress initiative.
Sinava and other farmer groups recently entered into long-term lease agreements with land owners to cultivate a minimum of 10 acres of inland valley swamps. Several farmers plan to try new, improved rice varieties. And Sinava purchased a rice milling machine.
Together, these changes have made local farmers groups' participation in the food program possible.
And that participation is just one of several recent agricultural advances in Sierra Leone that stem from the comprehensive USAID-funded program Promoting Agriculture, Governance and Environment (PAGE), which the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador Michael Owen visited this week as part of his first country tour. More.
Cage Culture Fish Farming Offers Promise in Sri Lanka
Things are looking up in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province. The region is recovering from the civil war that ended in 2009; the economy is expanding, and many industries are rebuilding. Fresh fish, in particular, is an area of opportunity because of high market demand as is evident from a recent ACDI/VOCA volunteer's visit to Sri Lanka that helped a local aquaculture company to improve its seasbass-raising practices and business.
ACDI/VOCA volunteer Roger Palm traveled to Sri Lanka in August to help Aqua Hatcheries Lanka Ltd. (AHL), a medium-sized aquaculture company, implement a seabass cage culture project in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province, which should help some 3,000 local fisher families boost their incomes by about $3 million over the life of the project. Area residents who were involved in the fishing industry—especially younger people—expressed interest in this type of fish farming because of its modern approach and high income potential. More.
ACDI/VOCA recruits volunteers on an ongoing basis for short-term (typically two- to three-week) assignments. Volunteers are typically mid-career professional with significant expertise in their given field, including the following:
tropical horticulture (bananas, mangos, pineapple, cassava and palm oil)