Winrock applies experience and research-based solutions to challenges in agriculture, climate change, natural resource management, and economic and human development. From strengthening community engagement and institutional effectiveness to identifying promising markets for crops, Winrock’s knowledge and technical expertise can provide important tools to help governments, foundations and corporations achieve their goals.
In the last 15 years, Indonesia’s palm oil sector has seen an enormous production increase, leading to growth in smallholder incomes and the overall national economy. However, this expansion has threatened the environment by driving high deforestation and peatland degradation rates. This project, a partnership between USAID, Winrock and Perkumpulan Sawit Lestari, aims to strengthen private sector initiatives that address the link between deforestation and the palm oil industry. It works to enhance technical research on policy and regulatory reform, define and address smallholder sustainability needs, and develop a framework for monitoring and reporting progress against deforestation.
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.
Winrock has long recognized the threat posed by climate change. The American Carbon Registry (ACR), founded in 1996 and operated by Winrock, is dedicated to the belief that markets are the most effective tools to tackle climate change. As such, ACR has developed transparent and science-based methodologies to incentivize carbon reductions in agriculture, transportation and other industries. ACR is also a partner in assuring that California’s landmark Cap-and-Trade Program can manage, verify and credit carbon offsets effectively.
The Wallace Center supports entrepreneurs and communities as they build a new, 21st century food system that is healthier for people, the environment and the economy. The demand for locally produced food is strong, growing and often outstrips the ability of small farmers to keep up. Through research, education and technical assistance, The Wallace Center at Winrock International helps groups of local producers (known as food hubs) work together to reach and serve large and sustainable markets.
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.
Smallholders produce around 40 percent of Indonesia’s palm oil, an amount that is expected to increase due to the lack of land suitable for new large-scale plantations. However, a lack of resources and technical capacity often leads to extremely low productivity and unsustainable management at small plantations. With funding from IDH, Cargill and Costco, this project will create a protocol that provides step-by-step guidance to smallholders and tengkulak (middle men) about how to identify and manage peatland areas in existing plantations and around new plantings. It will also supply instruction about management methods to restore areas not suitable for replanting. By working with farmers to apply this protocol, the result will be increased sustainability and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
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.
As part of USAID’s Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally program, Winrock is working to improve the nutrition and health of women and children in Guinea. In particular, project activities will focus on improving the diets of young children and pregnant and lactating women. By conducting research into obstacles preventing proper maternal nutrition, infant feeding and agricultural practices and by working with community members and groups, Winrock will help ensure women and children have steady access to the food they need to thrive.
Mitigating the impact of climate change requires tapping the power of markets. Winrock propels that approach by facilitating carbon offset trading and developing scientifically rigorous methodologies to measure and verify reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
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.
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.
Indonesia has become the largest palm oil producer in the world, making the industry a vital cog in the nation’s economy. Additional economic and environmental benefits are possible if the liquid waste generated during the palm oil production process is used to make renewable biogas. The USAID-funded Capacity for Indonesian Reduction of Carbon in Land Use and Energy (CIRCLE) program helps the owners of palm oil mills produce renewable energy and improve the overall sustainability of their facilities.
Economic signals and the ingenuity of farmers are a powerful combination when it comes to reducing the environmental impact of agriculture. This program seeks to slash the amount of pollutants that enter the air and water as a result of the activities of Maryland farmers. This includes conducting research into credits farmers can earn and sell for reducing the environmental impact of their operations.
Puerto Rico depends on agriculture for food security and the health of its rural economies. But farming activities are also a major source of nitrous oxide emissions and water pollution caused by agricultural run-off. This program creates a pathway for farmers to participate in environmental markets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve water quality.
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.
Winrock provides ongoing technical support to the owners of rubber plantations in Guatemala to implement greenhouse gas friendly practices and to help assess their possible participation in climate change mitigation markets.
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.
This program works to accelerate Vietnam’s transition to climate-resilient, low-emissions development by working collaboratively with policymakers, communities, and civil society. The USAID funded Vietnam Forests and Deltas program supports adoption of land use practices that slow, stop, and reverse emissions from deforestation and forest degradation through better land use and economic planning and improved funding that incentivizes sustainable practices. By helping local leaders plan for weather and climate risks, the program also increases the resilience of people, places, and livelihoods in Vietnam’s Red River and Mekong Delta regions.
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.
To reduce and reverse the loss of valuable forestland and biodiversity, Colombia is developing a national strategy for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, also known as REDD. This program aids that effort by providing technical assistance to accurately account for emissions reductions that result from conservation and by facilitating the participation of communities and the private sector.
The foundation of Ethiopia’s economy, agriculture can play a substantial role in improving livelihoods and increasing the country’s food security. This project supports the Government of Ethiopia’s efforts to establish important regulatory and policy conditions that improve local and national land governance. A particular focus of the project is allowing itinerant pastoralists to secure community land rights and manage their natural resources. Winrock provides administrative and technical support to Tetra Tech ARD, the prime implementer of USAID’s Land Administration to Nurture Development project.
Communities that most need healthy and affordable food options often have the fewest choices. The Wallace Center at Winrock International collaborates with vulnerable communities to establish value chains that make nutritious and local food available to everyone. This happens through training, mentoring, peer-to-peer learning opportunities and by fostering collaboration between organizations committed to delivering the benefits of good food to all.
Farms are businesses, which means they respond to economic signals. That basic idea is behind this program’s approach to reduce the damage to water quality caused by agricultural run-off in the West Branch Milwaukee River watershed. Winrock works with water treatment plant owners, conservation groups and others in the area to devise pay-for-performance incentives that encourage farmers to implement practices that reduce pollution.
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.
As Georgia’s economy and industries grow, so too do the country’s projected greenhouse gas emissions. This is exacerbated by Georgia’s outdated and inefficient lighting, heating and energy systems. This program works with the national government, municipalities, businesses and others to develop and implement a national low emission development strategy. Among the tools being developed are municipal-level sustainable energy action plans, policies and guidelines that promote cleaner energy use, and the promotion of energy efficiency and green buildings to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and improve its economic competitiveness.
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.
Healthy and well-managed coastal areas provide local populations with everything from tasty seafood to protection from damaging storm surges. As part of the National Science Foundation’s Coastal SEES (Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability) program, this project analyzes and measures how utilizing best land management practices impacts the water quality in three watersheds in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.
A lot of field work is necessary to truly understand the role of forests in climate change — both the benefits of preserving them and the impact of cutting them down. As part of a NASA-funded initiative, Winrock is spearheading the planning, collection and analysis of data to understand the impacts of selective logging on carbon stocks in the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo.
The hilly city of Ilam in eastern Nepal is known both for its expansive tea production and its environmental consciousness. Those two themes come together in this public-private partnership to establish a new municipal waste management system. The project will establish a partnership between Ilam Municipality and the private sector that fuels commercially driven solid waste management. Funded by the European Union’s Switch Asia program and assisted by Winrock’s technical support, the sustainable solid waste management system includes small and medium-sized businesses that utilize compost for tea and vegetable cultivation and, as a result, create green jobs. Once successfully implemented, this innovate approach will be a model for Nepal’s other municipalities.
Years of agricultural run-off have deposited large amounts of phosphorous-laden fertilizer into Ontario, Canada’s Lake Simcoe. Though fertilizer can help boost crop production, its presence in rivers and lakes harms water quality. This program aids the Ontario government’s efforts to improve Lake Simcoe’s health by creating and developing incentives that encourage farmers to reduce the amount of phosphorous that makes its way into waterways.
Consumer demand for sustainably grown local food is an unprecedented opportunity for family farmers. To take full advantage of the opportunity, small farmers are increasingly working with food hubs — enterprises that utilize cooperative aggregation, distribution and marketing strategies. The Wallace Center at Winrock International works to develop and strengthen food hubs that help small farmers gain entry into large markets they could never access on their own and build a strong culture of food safety.
Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is an effective approach to address climate change. But questions over how forests should be managed to balance economic and environmental priorities can lead to conflict. This program investigates instances of conflict in Mexico, Vietnam and Nepal with the aim of developing tools and approaches that can be used globally to promote cooperation and conflict resolution. The project is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, the UK’s Department for International Development and the Conflict and Cooperation in the Management of Climate Change Fund.
Malawi’s forestland is disappearing. To counteract that trend, this project seeks to encourage improved land management practices. As part of a collaborative effort, Winrock will provide technical assistance to the Government of Malawi’s Environmental Affairs Department to create and implement its National Greenhouse Gas Inventory System. This improved system will supply information vital to understanding the climate change impacts of improved land management practices and policies.
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.
Tibetans have long relied on the natural environment for their livelihoods. But climate change and other factors threaten the future viability of Tibet’s traditional herding and agriculture practices. The Support for Ethnic Tibetans in China Project engages Tibetan communities in the west and southwest of China and provides them with the scientific knowledge and tools they need to adapt in ways that preserve their natural resources, livelihoods and culture.
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.
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.
The demand for palm oil has provided vital economic opportunities to many Indonesians. At the same time, the conversion of forests and drainage of peatland to create palm oil plantations is a leading source of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Winrock has designed two scalable and replicable pilot projects that demonstrate the feasibility of improving the management of peatland areas currently devoted to palm oil production — an approach that would reduce emissions while increasing long-term sustainability.
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.
There is a measurable impact on greenhouse gas emissions when forests are cut down and replaced with plantations. As a contributor to the High Carbon Stock Study, a sustainability initiative launched by growers, traders and other stakeholders in the palm oil industry, Winrock reviews existing tools and equations used to measure the impact of turning forests into palm oil plantations.
Transitioning land from forest or grassland to cultivation for biofuels has implications for greenhouse gas emissions. As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Renewable Fuel Standard 2 rulemaking process, Winrock is responsible for evaluating and analyzing the emissions implications of land conversion taking place around the world as a result of increased demand for biofuels
Because forests have the capacity to store carbon, land management is a critical tool to address climate change. Fact-based decision making relies on accurate measurement of forest carbon. Winrock has conducted field training and developed a measurement methodology and manual that is being to create the biomass equations necessary to measure forest carbon stocks in Laos. These equations will be used in the country’s National Forest Inventory.
The government of Liberia has embraced Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) as a tool to improve the management of its forests and capture climate finance opportunities that reward conservation. Winrock is assisting the government in its development of a REDD Readiness Program. In particular, Winrock provides training and technical assistance to develop estimates of both historical greenhouse gas emissions resulting from deforestation and expected future emissions in the absence of improved land use management. This information will then be used to demonstrate emissions reductions that result from improved land management.
Like many other developing countries, Mozambique is exploring how it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to land use. The country is also eager to participate in global Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) efforts, which provide countries financial incentives for sustainably managing their forests. As part of that effort, Winrock is providing technical assistance to Mozambique to help identify drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and to develop strategies to address the problem.
Chile is investigating the role its forests should play in reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. With funding supplied by the World Bank, this program provides technical support to Chile’s National Forestry Commission as it formulates an emissions reduction program.
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.
Heavily forested Guyana is at the forefront of global Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) efforts. In particular, the South American nation has signed an agreement with the government of Norway that financially rewards Guyana for protecting its forests from development. This program enhances the agreement’s transparency and credibility by providing monitoring, reporting and verification services. Winrock has been working with Guyana since 2010 to design its approaches to account for past emissions from forests as well as emissions reductions achieved through REDD programs. These accounting approaches have enabled Guyana to receive performance payments from Norway.
Erosion and deteriorating water quality are just two of the negative consequences when fertilizer used to grow crops makes its way into lakes and streams. This collaboration between Winrock, Michigan State University, conservation groups and farmers establishes financial incentives to encourage farmers to improve their environmental performance in ways that simultaneously protect their livelihoods and Lake Erie.
Indonesia boasts the third-largest expanse of tropical forests in the world. Sustainably managing this unique economic and ecological resource is important to both the economic well-being of many Indonesians and a world community increasingly focused on climate change. As a partnering organization in this USAID-funded project implemented by Tetra Tech, Winrock’s role is to provide Indonesian government officials and the private sector with mapping, monitoring and other tools that clearly outline the impact of their development and conservation choices.
Despite tremendous progress, farmers in Asia continue to grapple with two major challenges: food insecurity and poverty. By accelerating the transfer and adoption of innovative agricultural technologies, this USAID-funded Feed the Future program gives smallholders in South and Southeast Asia the knowledge and resources they need to grow more crops and earn more income.
The local food movement is improving the health, economies and environment of communities around the country. But for the benefits of healthy and sustainably grown food to reach more Americans, changes throughout the food chain are required. The Wallace Center’s National Good Food Network helps build regional food hubs that allow all participants in the supply chain to share the knowledge and resources necessary to meet the burgeoning demand for local food.
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.
Rice is critical to the food security and economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s capital city of Kinshasa. This USAID-funded program aims to improve the local rice supply chain through a variety of steps; these include increasing the productivity of small farmers, improving post-harvest processing and handling of rice and strengthening farmer associations and cooperatives.
Delighting consumers isn’t the only key to the success of regional and local food hubs; farmers also have to follow the USDA’s food safety regulations. Technology offers the possibility of an effective, efficient and hassle-free way to ensure compliance. The Wallace Center at Winrock International is working with growers, USDA and technology company FoodLogiQ to pilot and test an information technology solution that will streamline regulatory compliance and solidify consumer confidence in the safety of local and regional food.
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.
REDD, or Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, is one of those rare acronyms that actually spells out exactly what it means. But calculating the greenhouse gas impacts of REDD policies and developing strategies that provide livelihoods for local populations while conserving carbon-storing forests is anything but simple. Yet accurate accounting is essential to enable payments to cover the costs of these programs. Winrock provides technical assistance to help the Ghana Forestry Commission achieve these important objectives.
Reliable access to water is critical for Tanzania’s economy, food security, environmental sustainability and public health. Over the past two decades, the country’s government has implemented important national reforms to drive improved management of this critical resource. This program helps local communities implement Multiple-Use Water Services, increasing private sector participation and raising awareness about the importance of good sanitation and hygiene practices.
Poverty and food insecurity are inextricably linked in Bangladesh. Particularly vulnerable are women, youth and those in areas of the country most likely to be impacted by climate change. The goal of this program is to improve nutrition and food security through training in entrepreneurship, improved production of high-value foods as well as reliable access to markets and important agricultural inputs.
Increasing awareness that local food is nutritious and good for both the environment and the economy has propelled the growth of regional food economies. In order to encourage more investment in regional food systems and sustainable agriculture, it’s important to showcase the benefits to local economies and communities. This program seeks to build awareness by assisting The Wallace Center at Winrock International in expanding the reach of its National Good Food Network by developing a regional food economies working group and fellows program, and by supporting a national communications strategy that underscores the economic benefits of fostering local food systems.
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