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Winrock International

Volunteer Post

Visits with U.S. Universities through the Eyes of Asia F2F, Part 2

Jen Snow

Following last week’s blog entry (with thoughts from our Bangladesh F2F Country Director), Winrock’s Myanmar and Nepal F2F Country Directors also share their thoughts on their visits with U.S. universities:

Dr. Ai Thanda Kyaw, F2F Myanmar Country Director, notes:

“I found the University visits were very impressive for their well organized activities among different departments, advanced technologies, and full facilities for research. For me, I [now] better understand how U.S. experts can contribute with their expertise to address the needs of our people.

I shared an overview of the Myanmar Livestock Sector to help the students understand the requirements of the sector in developing country of Myanmar. I expressed my thoughts on how the U.S. students are lucky that they have access to learn the whole chain of technologies (including engineering, farming, research, extension and other agro-economy subjects) to support agriculture development. Those things are lacking in other parts of the world. I also shared how their knowledge, education, and technology sharing will be effective in third countries.

In the photo below, Dr. Terry Gipson [a three-time Winrock F2F volunteer] guided us on a goat farm tour at the E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research at Langston University, Oklahoma.”

Dr. Kyaw Gipson at Langston University
Dr. Kyaw Gipson at Langston University

Dr. Vrigu Duwadi, F2F Nepal Country Director, describes his experience with similar enthusiasm:

“I was pretty excited about my visit to share the Nepal F2F program with experts of different U.S. universities. This was an opportunity for me to learn from them and explore the potential of F2F volunteers.

My first visit was to Morocco, where F2F country representatives met to see, share, and learn about program planning. We discussed on how to get greater results to achieve F2F goals and objectives. The following visits were in the US, where I got an opportunity to be with faculties and affiliated members of New Mexico State University (NMSU), University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Highland High School, and Thunderbird University. While visiting and listening to them, I received insightful learning that broadened my knowledge.

It was nice to see NMSU Chihauhuan Desert Range land Research Center’s work in drought tolerant animal forages. This stroked in my mind that such type of expertise and research findings may be simulated or transferred to Nepalese trans-Himalayan regions of Nepal. Similarly, the visit to a local high school’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) program and touring their youth aquaculture work for tilapia production, greenhouse horticulture and floriculture production, and agri-engineering, was also a productive tour. Our meetings with the University of Arizona, Thunderbird, and ASU were also very fruitful.

After the successful completion of my visit, I am now busy preparing more scopes of work and placement of many volunteers in F2F program of my country. The interests of universities and faculty members during our meetings inspired me to work with immense energy and mobilize my country team to meet F2F’s greater objectives.”

Dr. Duwadi and an AZ high school student inspect a student-managed aquaculture tank
Dr. Duwadi and an AZ high school student inspect a student-managed aquaculture tank

With the connections and knowledge gained from the visits in the US, each of the F2F Asia country directors returned home with added determination to make the five-year Asia F2F program a success. From October 2013 through September 2018, Asia F2F will generate sustainable food security and economic growth in the agricultural sector in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Nepal by introducing new technologies and innovations, and developing local capacity for more productive, profitable, sustainable, and equitable agricultural systems. More than 300 F2F volunteers will help:

  • Strengthen agriculture education and training;
  • Promote rural development, particularly through high-value subsectors such as aquaculture, livestock, and horticulture; and
  • Improve market linkages for high-value agricultural products.

Current volunteer opportunities can be found at