Empowering individuals — especially women and young people — transforms lives, communities and entire societies. Winrock works to speed this transformation through education, improved livelihoods, gender equality and the equal protection of rights.
Guinea has plenty of farmable land and water, a large youth population, and three quarters of its labor force employed in agriculture. But despite these advantages, the nation is still one of the poorest in the world. One reason is the lack of opportunity that prevents women and youth from contributing significantly to the economy. Guinea’s Strengthening Market-Led Agricultural Research, Technology and Education (SMARTE) is enhancing the nation’s agricultural strengths by working with these populations, boosting education, promoting agricultural extension and introducing new technologies.
Complex problems require transcendent solutions, ones that span borders and sectors. Human trafficking is such a problem, and the Asia Counter Trafficking in Persons program (USAID Asia CTIP) is such a solution. A five-year (2016-2021) program, USAID Asia CTIP is a regional activity that focuses on transnational and regional challenges to combat human trafficking. The program aims to reduce the trafficking of persons in Asia through a coordinated and consolidated action by governments, civil society and business that will foster cross-border cooperation, develop opportunities for private-sector leadership and improve the quality of data associated with human trafficking.
CTIP Bangladesh Project Page
CTIP Cambodia Project Page
Changing hearts and minds to end gender-based violence means creating local solutions to this pervasive problem. Working with and through local people and organizations, the program will foster collaboration and support for gender equality as it mobilizes communities, improves services for survivors, and strengthens local organizations in Papua and West Papua, Indonesia. This five-year USAID program works in partnership with Resources Management and Development Consultants and in close coordination with the Government of Indonesia and local civil society organizations.
Social and economic pressures far too often lead Tanzanian children into the workforce. The Promoting Sustainable Practices to Eradicate Child Labor in Tobacco program, or PROSPER, seeks to prevent and withdraw youth of all ages from child labor, especially in the tobacco industry. PROSPER addresses the root causes that fuel child labor and offers alternatives through everything from vocational agriculture training, scholarships, entrepreneurship and business skill education for mothers to policy and advocacy initiatives. By collaborating with the government, private sector employers, communities and civil society organizations, PROSPER seeks to eliminate child labor in tobacco growing areas of Tanzania.
Small farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa are better able to achieve food security and earn a sufficient livelihood when they receive assistance from the continent’s agricultural colleges and universities. This program helps bolster the ranks of agricultural experts by introducing new opportunities for mid-career professionals to participate in extension education and degree programs at African universities.
Asia’s forests are a critical economic and environmental resource for its people. Yet logging, farming and other human activities are accelerating deforestation at an alarming rate. This USAID-funded program developed a regional approach that promotes sustainable land use and establishes financial incentives for preserving critical forestland.
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 great majority of Nigerian farmers cultivate plots of land smaller than two hectares (about five acres). The goal of this program, part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, is to boost food security and the income of small farmers by encouraging them to respond to consumer demand; instead of farmers selling what they produce, they need to produce what they can sell. This market-driven mentality is accelerated through training, access to financing, seeds and fertilizer and improved collaboration among those in the agricultural value chain.
Agriculture, particularly rubber, is an important contributor to the Liberian economy. A significant number of children are involved in the production of rubber due to household poverty, the high cost of adult labor, a lack of awareness about the hazards of work and limited access to education. Under these economic and social conditions, children perform difficult and dangerous labor that affects their health, their ability to attend school and their social development. Winrock confronts the challenges faced by child laborers and their households by raising awareness of the importance of education and the dangers of hazardous work. By forming partnerships with the government and private sector, this program provides material and social support needed to get children back into school. This includes securing income opportunities for parents so that they no longer need to rely on child labor and delivering modern agricultural-vocational training to children in order to increase their opportunities for decent and productive employment.
As an important aide to Dr. Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution, Christopher Dowswell played a critical role in helping hundreds of millions of people achieve food security. One key to the Green Revolution’s success was education. Appropriately, this scholarship fund supports the training and education of primarily female agricultural extension workers. Not only can these workers train farmers to increase their production and incomes, they also become important role models to encourage more African women to pursue leadership positions in agriculture.
The grim reality in South Sudan is that girls are more likely to die at birth than complete their primary education. Understanding that this robs the country of critical talents, the South Sudan government has made the education of girls a top priority. Winrock works with government officials at all levels to dramatically increase educational opportunities for girls through capacity building and by providing both teacher and peer-led mentoring.
Civil war and violence have devastated South Sudan’s infrastructure and kept generations of children out of school. To combat the resulting challenges, Room to Learn, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and Parent Teacher Associations, works to offer a safe and quality education to children and youth around the country. Fundamentally, Room to Learn is a community-led program aimed at providing inclusive and relevant education to the children of South Sudan.
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.
Although many parts of Arkansas have prospered thanks to increased economic development, rural areas of the state are still plagued by high levels of unemployment and poverty. Because municipalities and other locally based organizations are on the front lines of addressing these problems, it’s vital their leaders have the knowledge to develop effective strategies to build strong local economies. Winrock provides training to help leaders identify an area’s needs and develop proven approaches to train workers, attract businesses and take advantage of unique local assets.
Skills retraining is essential to sustainable employment for dislocated and long-term unemployed workers. The Job-Driven National Emergency Grant is a collaborative partnership that helps disadvantaged Arkansans gain the skills and referrals they need to land positions in high-growth industries like medical billing and coding. Winrock case managers based at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith work with prospective employees to locate training options, write resumes, apply for jobs and prepare for interviews.
Heightened awareness of the many ills caused by child labor has led to a global decrease in its incidence. Nevertheless, estimates are that 168 million children worldwide are still engaged in child labor. This program develops the capacity of interested governments to create and implement policies that result in a meaningful reduction of child labor.
Though human trafficking is a global problem, successful efforts to combat it must start at the local level. Focused on 25 highly vulnerable districts, the Bangladesh Counter Trafficking-in-Persons Program aims to mobilize and coordinate the actions of local and national governments, non-governmental organizations, and citizens and community leaders. Program activities include: supporting and empowering survivors; increasing the effectiveness of prosecution; and engaging all layers of society to end human trafficking.
No country can reach its full potential when women don’t have equal access to education and economic opportunity. The Feed the Future Bangladesh Women’s Empowerment Activity helps women develop the skills they need to improve agricultural livelihoods, make decisions in their families, and be leaders in their communities. Winrock also engages men and local leaders to support gender equality, a key to achieving food security and sustainable development.
Social and economic factors push many children in Africa and Southern Brazil out of classrooms and into tobacco fields and other forms of child labor. This robs children and entire communities of the chance to forge a better future. Building on the initial successes of the Achieving Reduction of Child Labor in Support of Education (ARISE) project, this follow-on program raises awareness about child labor and helps improve family livelihoods so that children can pursue their education. The program also works with government officials to strengthen and enforce laws preventing child labor.
Because many Cambodians make their living from farming, logging and other pursuits that can lead to deforestation, the country struggles to protect its forests while maintaining economic growth. The USAID Cambodia Supporting Forests and Biodiversity Project empowers forest communities, government officials at all levels, NGOs, business interests and communities to become champions for sustainable forest management practices that benefit people and the planet. The project has conducted extensive assessments to support wildlife and biodiversity research and has improved planning and management of nearly 900,000 hectares.
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.
Poverty motivates hundreds of thousands of Cambodians to migrate every month in search of employment opportunities. Many of those who leave are uneducated and have limited access to information, which makes them particularly vulnerable to human traffickers. Targeted at provinces with high prevalence of trafficking, this four-year program seeks to prevent trafficking through livelihood development, awareness raising, effective prosecution of traffickers, and repatriation and reintegration support for survivors of trafficking.
A recent expansion of the Southwest Steel Processing plant in Northeast Arkansas provides an opportunity to improve the area’s economy well beyond the factory walls. This program seeks to create jobs by recruiting and assisting companies that can offer essential services to Southwest Steel Processing. Establishing a robust roster of local suppliers encourages the investment and job creation needed to improve the region’s quality of life.
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.
Delivering clean electricity to regions that lack reliable access to power addresses two interconnected challenges: climate change and poverty. As part of an overall effort to provide 100 percent renewable energy to the citizens of the Indonesian island of Sumba, this program delivers the technical expertise required for schools to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Powering these schools with solar — and becoming a community charging station for solar lanterns — allows teachers and students to study without interruption and helps alleviate the poverty that arises when there’s no access to energy.
Pressured by global demand for cocoa and persistent poverty, many cocoa farmers in Ghana rely on child labor. With limited opportunities for education and livelihoods in rural cocoa communities, youth between 15 and 17 years are particularly at risk of engaging in hazardous child labor. This program works with cocoa communities to raise awareness about the dangers of child labor and offers youth promising alternatives, including skills training, job placement in age-appropriate work and educational opportunities.
Navigating workforce skills training and job opportunities isn’t always intuitive. Which is why Winrock case managers provide assistance to disadvantaged job seekers in Arkansas as they pursue much-needed training and employment. In cooperation with the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services — which received a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor — Winrock case managers provide one-on-one services to ensure that those looking for work receive training, resume writing assistance and other services they need to secure and retain a job.
Overcrowded classrooms, low pay and limited professional development makes it hard to be a teacher in Malawi. And low teacher morale makes it tough for children to get a quality education. Japan Tobacco International, which sources much of its tobacco in Malawi and funds the ARISE pilot program there, is providing training and resources to teachers in three rural areas of the country where ARISE is active. This support for teachers helps improve the quality of education and contributes to lower levels of child labor.
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