This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program. Winrock has been a core implementer of the program since 1991; our volunteers have completed over 5,400 assignments in 56 countries, impacting more than 8.2 million people. I’m honored to have been personally involved with the program for the last 15 years, and I’m excited to be starting 2015 in my new role as the Director of Winrock’s Volunteer Technical Assistance Unit.
Reflecting back on our experience with the program, I’ve thought, of course, about the impact of the program on millions of beneficiaries, but I can also imagine other interesting, and more unquantifiable measures, like the miles traveled in planes, trains, and automobiles (plus rickshaws, bicycles, boats, and even more interesting methods!), photos taken, stories and meals shared, care and concern exchanged, relationships leveraged, and countless friendships forged. These are the things that make F2F such a unique development program. These assignments have undoubtedly addressed critical issues with agriculture productivity, agribusiness development, natural resource management, or human and institutional capacity building, but it’s the delivery mechanism, the people-to-people exchange, which has enabled the program to create such an impressive and enduring legacy.
Today, the need for meaningful people-to-people exchange is still as relevant as ever (maybe even more so!). To all of our current and former volunteers, thank you for so generously sharing your time, energy, and enthusiasm to make the world a better place.
As we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of F2F, we will be collecting and sharing stories from volunteers, hosts, and beneficiaries — old and new — throughout the year. We will also be featuring a “volunteer of the month,” drawing back from our decades of volunteer programs. You can look for these features on our blog and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Winrock-Volunteers/267409859955100).
We encourage you to join us in the celebration of this special program by participating directly as a volunteer, encouraging others to participate, and by sharing your stories with us.
To learn more about the program or view our current volunteer opportunities, visitwww.winrock.org/volunteer.