In 2004, a former teacher at Iowa State University, Dr. George Beran, first recruited me for a Partners project. The project consisted of consulting farmers associated with an agroecological school and what may have been Mexico’s first consumer-supported agriculture (CSA) effort. I have actually been visiting the Yucatán Peninsula since 1994, when my wife began research in Quintana Roo State. We fell in love with the food, the music, and the great people – you know how it goes.
2014 has been a productive year for Partners' Agriculture and Food Security (AFS) Unit! Under the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program, 78 volunteers traveled to eight countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to work with close to 40 producer groups, NGOs, universities, and other hosts. They provided training in areas as diverse as business plan development, honey harvesting, animal nutrition, marketing of organic products, and much more, and directly assisted over 6,000 people.
“I believe in the power of sport, and great facilitators, to change lives.”
One of my favorite parts of my job is meeting with our amazing A Ganar Phase 1 facilitators. These are the people who work day and night leading field and classroom sessions with youth in some of the toughest neighborhoods in our hemisphere. These facilitators make sport come to life and use it to literally save lives. They open their hearts to youth. They risk their own lives traveling to and from sessions and working in environments that can explode in violence at any time. Some of the youth we work with are dangerously close to gangs, often only one or two steps away from being full-fledged members. For these reasons and more, I always say that our facilitators are the most important members of our A Ganar staff.
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I’m a big admirer of the work that Partners of the Americas does, and I've had a long connection to the organization through my service in the Peace Corps in Paraguay. I’d like to tell you a story about an amazing youth from my community in Paraguay that has accomplished much with the help of Partners.
Last month, for the first time ever, the small town of Montevideo, Minnesota was introduced to the 200-year-old Afro-Uruguayan “candombe” music their sister city, Montevideo, Uruguay, is so well known for. Candombe is a cultural heritage, music and dance native to Uruguay, with African roots. With a travel grant from Partners, Uruguayan drummer Álvaro Salas traveled to Montevideo, MN in June to present workshops on candombe drumming, history and culture in Minneapolis and Montevideo, as well as attend and perform at the town's annual Fiesta Days, a celebration to commemorate the town's asso
In the town of Grand Boulage in the mountains of Haiti, Madame Andremene Solomon is the primary caregiver for her entire family. Her husband has a physical disability, and she earns the bulk of the income that supports their family of six. A few years ago, food security was a faraway goal for Andremene. She struggled to feed her family and could not afford to send her children to school. She is one of thousands of Haitians faced with food insecurity.
A unique partnership among North Carolina State University, the University of Costa Rica and Chiquita Brands has come together and won a grant during the recently completed Santander Round of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund.
I spent Aug. 11 to 19 in Guyana working with interface representatives of government, non-governmental agencies, local communities, academic community, and the private sector and to identify key issues to promote sustainable forestry and land use. Both the Partners of the Americas and the U.S. Embassy in Guyana helped to sponsor this trip.
On Friday July 5, 2013, Partners launched our EducaFuturo program in Panama. The launch was a big success, and we are excited to begin working on the ground.
Steve Vetter, Partners’ President & CEO, traveled to Panama to participate in the inaugural launch of the EducaFuturo program. In his keynote remarks, he addressed the positive social and economic impact the program plans to have in both Ecuador and Panama by eliminating child labor in each country.