Today we celebrate the thousands of Winrock volunteers who have dedicated their expertise, time, and hearts to helping people in need around the world.
Volunteers Leanne Wiley and Allyn Lamb, both of whom volunteered with the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program in Nigeria, share what international volunteering has meant to them:
“Volunteering in Nigeria with extension agents was an experience unlike any other international trip I have been on. It was a quick trip, however the experience made an impact of a lifetime. I am involved in agriculture here in the United States, and I could not help but make comparisons while abroad. I worked in a partnership with USAID and Nigeria’s Ministry of Agriculture extension agents, along with actual farmers.
I feel that my work with the agents would have a greater impact because they can directly relate to the farmers on their level and rely the information from the lessons of my visit. The extension agents were an essential component in the partnership for conveying information about improving agriculture productivity.
This type of volunteer experience is unlike any other in respect to being directly related to promoting agriculture production and trade, my passion. These involvements are great for Americans to experience at least once. It is a reality check for how our efficient agriculture system provides for us and our trade markets.” —Leanne Wiley
“International volunteering with Winrock is a unique opportunity to directly help others lead better lives. It is a way for those of us who have been lucky in life, who have had the privilege of getting a good education and enjoying satisfying and rewarding work experiences, to share some of what we learned with people who can truly benefit from our experiences.
Personally, I see it as both a privilege and an obligation to serve and give back. The reward is the realization and satisfaction of seeing people actually use what I have shared with them to make positive differences in the way they conduct their enterprises. Even though I may have touched only a few people directly, the ripple effect can be far-reaching, with many other people benefiting from my efforts.
This was a life-changing experience. I am still in contact with and assisting some of the people I met and worked with. I hope I enhanced the quality of their lives. I know it made a huge difference for me.” —Allyn Lamb
The USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program promotes sustainable economic growth, food security, and agricultural development worldwide. F2F volunteers work with farmers, producer groups, rural businesses, entrepreneurs, universities, and service providers to develop local capacity necessary to increase food production and rural incomes, expand economic growth, and address environmental and natural resource management challenges. This people-to-people exchange promotes international goodwill, understanding of U.S. foreign assistance programs, and private involvement in development activities.
Winrock’s current F2F programs operate in Bangladesh, Burma/Myanmar, Guinea, Nepal, Nigeria, and Senegal –in addition to limited activities in El Salvador, Liberia, and Mali. Check out www.winrock.org/volunteer for more info!