The most densely populated country in Africa, Rwanda is a rural nation and its people rely heavily on subsistence agriculture. While the nation has made significant economic strides, energy shortages, regional instability, and inadequate food production has hampered growth. Nearly 40 percent of Rwandans still live below the poverty line. To address the root causes of hunger and poverty, Winrock projects have worked to build the capacity of African leaders, communities and institutions to develop and manage the structures needed for transformation. Other project work has focused on sustainable energy, water services, and reducing child labor by providing educational alternatives.
Cooking food is one of life’s most essential tasks. Yet, it can also be deadly. Pollutants from cooking with solid fuels in open fires or rudimentary stoves are estimated to cause 4 million premature deaths a year, while also contributing to global climate change. Inefficient traditional cooking also threatens natural resources. To address these problems, Winrock works with cookstove manufactures to help them design and build higher-quality, better-performing cookstoves that meet consumer’s needs. This EPA-funded project provides this support through trainings, webinars and study tours all over the world — and through support to international voluntary standards.
This project takes a comprehensive approach to help the government of Rwanda and its tea producers eliminate child labor in this key sector of the country’s economy. Besides improving access to formal and vocational education and strengthening the enforcement of existing labor laws, REACH-T raises awareness of child labor’s long-term effects. Building on Rwanda’s policy framework, the project will expand the national response to ensure that tea producers employ good labor practices and the sector is poised for growth with sustainably produced tea.
To meet Sub-Saharan Africa’s food security and economic challenges, the entire agriculture sector must learn new skills and embrace innovative technologies. Effective agriculture education and training providers — ranging from institutions providing formal certificates and diplomas to NGOs, agribusinesses, and cooperatives that directly train farmers — are absolutely essential in this task. Volunteer experts from the U.S. are supporting entities to better prepare students for productive careers and to transfer knowledge and innovations directly to farmers and others in the agriculture sector.
To be effective and long-lasting, solutions to Sub-Saharan Africa’s food security challenges must be homegrown. That belief drives this USAID-funded Feed the Future initiative to develop the capacity of African agriculture professionals, institutions and stakeholders to reduce hunger and poverty. The program seeks agricultural transformation by engaging stakeholders at the continental, regional, country, and local levels to improve the effectiveness of institutions, strengthen the capacity to manage policy change, and promote effective participation of non-state actors.
By Rodney Ferguson, President and CEO, Winrock International Mercy Dahn was 9 years old when she began working on her…