Winrock International has a long history of contributing to Nepal’s development and has been working to increase economic opportunity and sustain resources while protecting the environment of Nepal for over 30 years. Across three decades, Winrock in Nepal has periodically shifted program focus to address the current needs of the country, designing specific thematic programs and developing a coherent institutional strategy, vision and mission. Keeping to Winrock International’s global mission is essential: “Winrock International is a nonprofit organization that works with people in the United States and around the world to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity, and sustain natural resources.”
The overall goal of Winrock’s Asia Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program is to generate rapid, sustainable and broad-based food security and economic growth in agriculture sector in Nepal by increasing agricultural sector productivity and profitability, and strengthening agricultural institutions. Asia F2F program will focus on Youth Entrepreneurship and Agriculture Education Training (AET) which will build on and complement successful USAID investments to strengthen vocational training and AET institutions focused on Government of Nepal priority subsectors such as livestock, and high-value cash crops.
Let’s meet the F2F Nepal Team:
Dr. Vrigu Rishi Duwadi, Asia F2F Country Director. Dr. Duwadi is the Winrock F2F Country Director and an integrated pest management expert with a doctorate degree in entomology. Dr. Vrigu (pronounced ‘bree-goo’) provides overall program leadership for F2F in Nepal. He leads coordination with Nepali governmental agencies, USAID, partner organizations and NGOs. Additionally he supervises all F2F staff and project activities, including monitoring and evaluation. Dr. Vrigu is in charge of developing strategies for and conduct/lead capacity building and mentoring and outreach efforts to new agricultural host organizations in Nepal. He coordinates and supervises F2F volunteers’ logistics and movement in the project areas and supports volunteers and staff safety, security and health. Finally he coordinates project visits, annual and special workshops, and special studies with USAID, subcontractors, and consultants.
Mr. Chhan Bahadur Bhattachan, F2F Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Expert. He has both a bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Statistics. Chhan provides specialized M&E expertise on formative research (qualitative and quantitative) that can support the identification and prioritization of problems, as well as project design. Chhan (pronounced ‘Shaun’) develops and/or adapts practical monitoring and reporting tools for country volunteer teams. Addition ally he supports the development of M&E frameworks and research plans to guide in-country activities pertaining to each pilot project as well as gathering existing sector assessments and other relevant information to identify value chain weakness and develop plans for addressing the most significant weakness within the parameters of the Nepal F2F program. His professional goal is to continue work with and support of the native indigenous populations within Nepal.
Dr. Saluna Pokhrel, F2F Program Officer. Dr. Pokhrel has several professional degrees: a Bachelor’s in Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandy and a Master’s in Veterinary Parasitology. Dr. Saluna (pronounced ‘sah-luna’) accompanies volunteers to their host locations and she travels to host sites as needed. She serves as an in-country contact for volunteers regarding project logistics. Additionally she is a liaison between the host organizations and F2F to ensure the logistics for volunteers are in place and seamless. Dr. Saluna proactively manages problem solving regarding country travel and accommodations. Finally she assists the F2F Program Country Director in managing relationships with volunteer hosts and in-country partner organizations; works with target agricultural education training; youth training; works to provide institutions, cooperatives, associations, agribusiness, NGOs and other agricultural trade-related agencies and enterprises a platform to identify and design volunteer technical assistance assignments.
Mr. Mahendra Chaudhary, Finance and Admin Officer. Mahendra(pronounced mah-hen-drah) evaluates and analyzes financial information to prepare final F2F financial Mr. Mahendra_Admin&Financestatements including monthly and annual accounts. Importantly he ensures and is a liaison for effective procurements and imports as well as office contracts relating tasks and communications for volunteer field projects. Finally Mahendra prepares and subsequently ensures that Nepal Winrock Farmer-to-Farmer financial records are maintained in compliance with accepted policies and procedures as well as preparing F2F activity plans, budgets and reports as required by F2F Country Director for the timely implementation of the Nepali program.
Mr. Shree Krishna Mahat, Driver. Krishna (prounounced kreesh-nah) provides project-related transportation services for staff, volunteers and other visitors using the project vehicle. He meets volunteers at the airport and assists with airport check-in and check-out. Additionally Krishna transports staff and volunteers between Kathmandu and program field sites, as well as transporting project equipment as needed. Finally he performs miscellaneous errands out of the office; assisting with photocopying, filing, and other administrative tasks as needed.
On a personal note, for those of you who may be considering your first volunteer assignment in Nepal or south Asia you will be entranced and enthralled! You will clearly see the need for further technology transfer and assistance, so that developing countries like Nepal can benefit from global advancements and thereby increase their own capacity. AET activities in Nepal are essential to empowering local people to help them solve their own specific problems. Volunteers providing help in understanding technology and emerging practices and removing barriers will help self-empower our Nepali hosts. And you may enjoy a ride on an elephant!