“If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.” — Kofi Annan
This quote from Kofi Annan really resonates, given everything that our world is facing these days. AND – it’s National Volunteer Week! Now, more than ever, I think we can all benefit from inspirational examples of American volunteers making an impact around the world.
In the last year, Winrock engaged 70 volunteers on assignments in nine countries, primarily through the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program. These volunteers donated a collective 1,400 days of time to 59 host organizations, lending their skills and expertise on topics ranging from agricultural production and processing to curriculum development and pedagogy, to business planning and financial management. They have empowered farmers and entrepreneurs; strengthened training institutions and schools; improved quality, diversity, and safety of food products; and directly improved the lives of thousands of individuals in rural Africa and Asia.
This week, in particular, we celebrate these noble and meaningful efforts.
Here are some of our volunteers in action in the last year:
Volunteer, Dr. Hameed, shows off the mushroom pizza the Mushroom Producers Association made together in Ghana
Volunteer Kerry Richards and a local farmer practice plant transplanting in Guinea
Volunteer Gary Wingenbach visits demonstration plots and research project on the campus of Adeyemi College of Education in Nigeria
Volunteer Olumide Mitchelle Makanjuola poses with the women of AFSM and AWLAE in Mali after her workshop on building successful business practices
Volunteer Dr. Kassama works with CLCOP women to create enriched flour to sell in Senegal
In addition to imparting valuable – and oftentimes, critical – technical knowledge to enable people to improve their livelihoods, our volunteers also contribute to increased cross-cultural understanding, building a bridge between our countries and reinforcing human connections.
Many of our volunteers stay in touch with their host organizations and field staff after the end of their assignment. It’s been heartwarming to see an increase in this outreach during the coronavirus crisis, with volunteers and field staff reaching out to each other with concern and solidarity and to deepen the bonds that they formed over the course of their assignments. Especially now, these are such important reminders that we are all in this together.
THANK YOU, volunteers, for your generosity, kindness, hard work, expertise, and perseverance. You have made a difference, in more ways than one.
And though we are currently pausing international volunteer travel due to the global coronavirus pandemic, we are anxious to continue to serve our beneficiary communities around the world. We hope to resume travel later this year – and as always, open volunteer opportunities will be posted on our website: www.winrock.org/volunteer.
Posted in AET
| Tagged cultural experiences
, international volunteer
, knowledge transfer
, National Volunteer Week
, people-to-people exchange
, Winrock Volunteers