Lack of capital too often prevents people from launching a business or planting a crop. Winrock helps increase access to credit, investment, insurance and other financial services that can create new opportunities for vulnerable populations to expand incomes and improve lives.
Climate change and a growing population are putting increasing levels of stress on Bangladesh’s forests, wetlands and other ecosystems. The USAID-funded Climate Resilient Ecosystems and Livelihoods program is helping to disseminate management methods that help communities better collaborate with local and national governments to balance biodiversity protection with sustainable economic development.
Increasing the productivity and profitability of smallholders in Burma has the potential to substantially improve food security and livelihoods in poor, rural communities. The USAID-funded Value Chains for Rural Development program provides technical assistance to producers, farmer groups, agribusinesses and community organizations in the coffee, soybean and horticulture value chains. The project leverages the expertise of volunteers to improve farmer productivity and market access. By introducing new technologies and techniques, improving access to extension services, stimulating private sector investment and promoting market-based approaches, this program aims to boost production and incomes of 80,000 households.
Though the bulk of Winrock’s programs are outside the United States, we are committed to improving lives in our home state of Arkansas by boosting the state’s competitiveness in the increasingly important high-tech economy. To do that, we work with technology inventors and entrepreneurs to smooth the often difficult journey from raw idea or insight to viable commercial enterprise. Innovate Arkansas helps scale Arkansas ventures through three key focuses: Acceleration, Capital, and Talent. Innovate Arkansas has helped more than 140 clients add 600+ jobs to the Arkansas economy while raising $265 million in investments, and generating $226 million in revenue.
Even though Nigeria is Africa’s largest exporter of crude oil and has some of the world’s largest natural gas reserves, over half of the country’s population lives in the dark. Access to energy and the many health and economic benefits it brings is particularly elusive in rural areas. This project aims to make clean energy more readily available through increased access to private sector finance. The project supports technical assistance for bank and project developers, and promotes policy changes that improve business conditions.
Human health and the environment suffer when people burn wood and other solid fuels in rudimentary stoves and fires to meet their cooking and heating needs. The goal of this USAID-funded program is to create a market for clean, energy-efficient stoves. In Kenya, Winrock is helping to eliminate distribution bottlenecks by expanding cookstove distribution networks and increasing the availability of both consumer and distributor financing, which makes cleaner cookstoves more affordable and accessible to Kenyan consumers.
Inefficient and outdated technology have made Macedonia one of the most energy-intensive economies in Europe. This program helps the country establish the necessary legal and investment frameworks to encourage implementation of renewable energy technologies and adoption of low emissions development strategies.
Budding entrepreneurs in the Mississippi River Delta region often lack resources crucial to business success — a deficit that discourages job creation, stunts economic growth and perpetuates persistent poverty. To address these issues, the Delta I-Fund program, in partnership with the Delta Regional Authority, trains cohorts of entrepreneurs in successful startup practices, connects them with local business mentors and provides them with capital sourced from private investors. Bolstered by knowledge and funding, these businesspeople are better prepared to bring their innovative ideas to life.
Milk quality and valuable income are lost because over 800,000 smallholder Kenyan dairy farmers have no refrigeration to store their milk. As a result, over 60 percent of milk in Kenya is not processed and much of it spoils because farmers have no access to grid electricity or cannot afford expensive to operate diesel-powered generators. The PV-SMART project is sponsored under the innovative USAID Power Agriculture Energy Grand Challenge program, which is assisted by in collaboration with our technology partner SunDanzer. PV-SMART is changing the energy dynamic by pioneering affordable on-farm battery-free solar milk chillers in a first-ever pilot project with project paybacks under 1 year and zero maintenance issues after 2 years. The project also works with local savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs) to establish financing for the solar milk chillers.
America’s small businesses have always been an engine for innovation and job creation. In Winrock’s home state of Arkansas, women-owned small businesses have been growing at a rate 1.5 times faster than the national average. Through the Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC), Winrock is helping fuel that trend by providing thousands of hours of training and the sort of access to markets and capital that entrepreneurs need to grow their companies.
Millions of people in Nepal have no access to electricity and rely on firewood, kerosene and cow dung for their lighting and cooking needs. The resulting conditions harm human health, are damaging to the environment and make economic development more challenging. To address this, Winrock is working with Ace Development Bank and local financial institutions, renewable technology suppliers, and others to make financing for the installation of renewable energy technologies more readily available. Financial support from the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) has led to nearly 11,000 households receiving sustainable forms of electricity from small solar systems and cleaner cooking solutions from improved cook stoves and biogas facilities.
In rural Kenya, solar water pumps (SWPs) can help smallholder farmers save on fuel costs, increase acreage, and grow more than one crop a year. However, many farmers don’t know about these benefits or lack credit options to purchase their own SWPs. The USAID-funded Kenya Smallholder Solar Irrigation project (KSSI) works to accelerate commercial sales of SWPs to small farmers through demonstrations, product assessments, and technical assistance to SWP retailers and financial institutions.
Success in the global economy starts at the local level. Only when communities have access to capital, business knowledge, trained employees and other resources can companies launch and grow. This program establishes business development incubators across Arkansas that provides rural entrepreneurs the information and training they need to succeed.
Encouraging private enterprise in Liberia’s agriculture sector is critical if the country is to lower its high rates of unemployment and poverty. Progress will require extensive changes — everything from bolstering the country’s road infrastructure and weak institutions to promoting the importance of women and youth in agriculture. As a partner on this USAID-funded program, Winrock provides technical assistance to help increase farmer productivity and profitability.
The vast majority of Nepalese living in rural areas lack access to electricity, a key ingredient for improving food security and economic opportunity. This program eliminates financial and technical barriers that stand in the way of rural communities reaping the benefits of renewable energy. Supported by the Dutch development bank and NMB bank, Winrock bridges the gap between end users and local financial institutions as well as the divide between local financial institutions and commercial banks. This is accomplished through a series of awareness campaigns, orientation programs and capacity building initiatives. So far, the effort has resulted in nearly 14,000 households receiving electricity from small solar, micro hydro and clean and efficient cooking solutions.
The problem of deforestation in Brazil, particularly in the Amazon, is well-known. Nike is working with Winrock’s American Carbon Registry (ACR) on a unique way to raise funds to support reforestation. Through this initiative, Nike sells the carbon offsets issued to the company from ACR and donates the proceeds to protect and replant Brazilian forests.
Technology and innovation will create the 21st century’s best and highest-paying jobs. To help its home state reap the benefits of technology-driven economic development, Winrock’s Innovate Arkansas program is a critical resource for the state’s entrepreneurs. Through one-on-one client assistance specific to a company’s needs, we work to transform promising ideas and inventions into sustainable businesses.
By Jenn Holthaus Solar water pumps can greatly boost incomes by improving yields and allowing farmers to grow high-value horticulture…
NAIROBI, KENYA – FEB. 8, 2017 – Winrock International, the U.S.-based national and international economic development organization, Fintrac, and the…
Feed the Future week is September 12-16. Here’s one way Winrock is helping #EndHunger now. By Tim May The humble…
Winrock’s work in Bangladesh on the USAID-funded CREL project is helping balance biodiversity protection with sustainable economic development. One of…
“Empowerment is more than skills and knowledge — it’s realizing one’s own self-worth and ability to perform more than what…