Programs Respond During COVID-19

March 2021

Economic Development and Health Unit 

  • The Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program continues to provide remote technical assistance to the Latin America and Caribbean region and its F2F core countries.
  • This month, local Dominican volunteer, Jose Mercedes, and remote U.S. volunteer, Ram Ray, supported the host, Banelino, with a carbon soil sequestration assignment. In this collaborative model, Jose and Ram were able to use data to create a five-year projection of carbon levels in the region, which will lead Banelino toward their goal of becoming carbon neutral.

Child Protection Unit 

  • The CPU is excited to share that, as a sub-awardee to Winrock International, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL)-funded ATLAS project (Attaining Lasting Change for Better Enforcement of Labor and Criminal Law to Address Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking), was expanded this past month to Bolivia.
  • ATLAS will be implemented in Bolivia until September 2022, and it will focus on closing gaps in enforcement and legislative frameworks so that Bolivia may meet the standards for the elimination of trafficking under international law.
Membership Unit
  • In March, the Membership Unit welcomed Ana Gonzalez as the team's Associate Director.
  • This year, Partners celebrates seven Chapters that are achieving milestone years within the network.
  • The PartnersCampus Student Chapters welcomed 43 new students to the program who will engage in community leadership, civic engagement and volunteerism, and professional development opportunities. 
  • The Membership Unit hosted a webinar to provide members with the knowledge and resources to effectively use PartnersConnect.
Education and Global Citizenship Unit
  • The Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund project for U.S. exchange alumni sponsored the We Represent 2021 Virtual Conference.
  • The Education and Culture (E&C) program's call for small project assistance grants ends on March 31, 2021. The E&C program is also looking for innovative solutions for in-person travel and creative ideas using art and education as tools for building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.
  • Partners and the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State (USDOS) announced the launch of a new regional 100,000 Strong in the Americas (100K) Innovation Fund grant competition.

February 2021

Economic Development and Health Unit 

  • Currently, the F2F team is overseeing over 20 remote and 20 paired (remote and local) technical assistance assignments throughout the region.
  • Over the past month, the F2F team has supported a variety of remote assignments including web development in Colombia with a local non-profit, dendrology in the Dominican Republic with a university, aquaculture in Jamaica with a private company, crowdfunding in Guatemala with a social enterprise, and plant pathology in Guyana with a government agency.

Child Protection Unit 

  • This month, the CPU’s U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL)-funded project Paraguay Okakuaa continued to adapt its project activities to the challenges of COVID-19 to advance its efforts to prevent child labor and forced labor in Paraguay.
  • The program is implementing livelihood services in the Department of Boquerón, to train local community members in working technical skills through a bread-making course and a motorcycle repair training.

Membership Unit 

  • With its goal of increasing connections and engagement, the Membership Unit has launched Communities of Practice on PartnersConnect (the Partners of the Americas member portal) for members to connect, engage, share knowledge and experiences, and grow personally and professionally. The Communities of Practice provide an additional avenue to connect in a virtual environment.

Education and Global Citizenship Unit

  • In February 2021, the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund (CDAF) awarded 38 teams of U.S. exchange citizen alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs to carry out public service projects using the skills and knowledge they gained during their exchange experiences.
  • The Career Connections Global+ virtual series continues to convene alumni online to discuss professional development opportunities. On February 12, 2021, alumni heard from Foreign Service Officers about the benefits of Pickering and Rangel fellowships as pathways to careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State.
  • The Education and Culture (E&C) program announced a new round of small grants with a deadline of March 31, 2021. As a part of the E&C's Teacher-in-Residence Grants, the Association of Binational Centers of Latin America (ABLA) is seeking Partners’ volunteers to lead virtual conversation classes for its students.
  • The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund (100K) is currently accepting proposals and reviewers for the U.S.-Colombia Grant Competition for 21st Century Higher Education.

January 2021

Economic Development and Health Unit 

  • On December 8, 2020, EDH’s AVOP team hosted Farmer-to-Farmer’s (F2F) virtual 35th Anniversary Celebration, which honored the past and present work of volunteers, host organizations, and staff. In January, F2F published a Success Story Book to celebrate the anniversary with 20 unique F2F stories from around the world.
  • This year, the F2F program looks forward to hosting more remote technical assistance opportunities to link LAC farmers and agribusinesses to expert volunteers in the U.S. and their home communities. 

Child Protection Unit 

  • Partners begins 2021 with the implementation of a new technical cooperation agreement in Colombia. The project aims to improve compliance with internationally recognized labor rights in the Colombian port sector in Buenaventura and Cartagena.  
  • This month, the CPU began the start-up process of a second project: the USDOL-funded Mexico Awareness Raising Project. In Mexico, the CPU will work with multiple partners, including Mexican government institutions and civil society organizations, to strengthen the awareness of Mexico’s labor justice reform among workers, union leaders, and employers. 

Membership Unit 

  • Throughout January, the Membership Unit trained and provided orientations for newly selected and elected volunteer member leaders to assist in advancing new programs and initiatives, such as our upcoming Communities of Practice on PartnersConnect as well as the new PartnersCampus Advisory Council.
  • To facilitate reports and understanding of the incredible work of our Chapters, we asked Chapters to submit Annual Updates that illustrate the diversity of the Network, show their engagement with members and local communities, and support the work of the Partners' mission.
  • This month, the team hosted an Induction Ceremony for PartnersCampus students to learn about Partners, the PartnersCampus program, why it is important for them to be involved, and forthcoming opportunities. 

Education and Global Citizenship Unit

  • On January 27, 2021, the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund (100K) hosted "Best Practices for Colombian and U.S. Higher Education Institutional Partnerships," a virtual workshop where Innovation Fund staff and previous grant-winners shared their tips and strategies for developing competitive 100K grant proposals.
  • The deadline for the next cycle of Education & Culture Small Grants is March 31, 2021. There is currently a hold on Travel Grants. 
  • The Education & Culture program is also looking for proposals that use technology for people-to-people exchanges and to host a virtual What Works Conference sometime during the months of April-June, 2021. 
December 2020

Economic Development and Health Unit 

  • The Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program continues to provide remote technical assistance to the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region and its F2F core countries. To date, the F2F team has facilitated over 100 remote technical assistance opportunities with remote and local volunteers, providing technical support to 30 hosts throughout the region.  
  • Remote F2F volunteers in collaboration with local support have served almost 800 project beneficiaries. The F2F community celebrated their successes, best practices, and shared challenges this month at the Implementers Planning Meeting (IPM) as well as the 35th-anniversary event.  

Child Protection Unit 

  • In December, the CPU began the start-up process for a newly awarded project titled Mexico United 2026. This project, funded by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) Office of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), aims to strengthen Mexico’s capacity to identify, prevent, and mitigate the impacts of the 2026 FIFA World Cup on the realization of labor rights and human rights guarantees.  
  • Over the 2.5 years of the project, the CPU will work to significantly reduce the risk of labor abuses and human rights violations that may arise as a result of the World Cup by increasing workers’ knowledge of labor law and international labor standards relevant to the event. 

Membership Unit 

  • In conjunction with the Board Development Committee of the International Board of Directors, the Membership Unit hosted its first Meet the Candidates forum for voting delegates to meet and hear the testimonies of the candidates running to be elected to the International Board of Directors in November.  
  • Over this past month, Partners' International Board of Directors officially approved and granted a Charter to our newest PartnersCampus Student Chapter at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP). 
  • The PartnersCampus team launched a new governing body initiative, the PartnersCampus Advisory Council (PCAC). The PCAC will provide a leadership opportunity for students and give a greater voice to youth involved in Partners. 

Education and Global Citizenship Unit

  • On December 18, 2020, the Partners team kicked off its ninth Career Connections Global+ session on Careers in the Foreign Service. 
  • In December, the Education & Culture program hosted a series of discussions on social issues that transcend borders and cultures for the MOSTRA Brazilian Film Festival. 
  • As a part of the Education & Culture program, in collaboration with iEARN US, 19 teachers in five countries completed a 10-week course to co-design projects and connect their students virtually in the first of ongoing cross-cultural activities to improve their English. 
  • On December 9, 2020, the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund (100K) held a virtual event to announce the 11 new grant-winning teams of higher education institutions in the U.S. and Mexico. The Innovation Fund currently has open competitions for partnerships between the U.S. and Mexico (deadline February 15, 2021) and the U.S. and Colombia (deadline March 15, 2021). 
  • In December, Partners received the CONAHEC Award of Distinction for Outstanding Contributions to North American Higher Education Collaboration. The award is given to those organizations that have exhibited exemplary leadership in building a bridge of understanding across Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. and beyond. 

November 2020

Economic Development and Health Unit 

  • The EDH Unit is pleased to welcome Pablo Ramirez, the Chief of Party for Partners’ new USDA Food for Progress project in Colombia. Pablo brings more than 25 years of experience advancing agricultural value chains.  
  • To date, the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) team has facilitated over 100 remote technical assistance opportunities to offer expert technical support to our communities across Latin America and the Caribbean. 
  •  The F2F Dominican Republic office is gearing up for its second cycle of webinar support to the Instituto del Ambiente. As a part of this, U.S. volunteer, Hugh Thomforde, and local Jamaican volunteer, Garth Scott, will provide support to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries Division in alternatives for fish feed. 

Child Protection Unit 

  • On November 10, the Ministry of Public Defense of Paraguay, represented by Minister Lorena Segovia, and Partners of the Americas, represented by the ATLAS Project Director in Paraguay, Macarena Jimenez, signed a cooperation agreement through the project.  
  • This agreement established collaboration guidelines between the two institutions, aimed at creating lasting change in the application of labor and criminal legislation in Paraguay for the reduction of child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking.  

Membership Unit 

  • The Wisconsin-Nicaragua Chapter is forming a disaster relief fund to help vulnerable communities in Nicaragua that had everything swept away by Hurricane Iota.  
  • The Honduras Chapter also took immediate action to help their local communities in need and delivered clothing and shoes for distribution to Honduran shelters affected by both hurricanes.  
  • Partners of the Americas will soon launch online communities of practice on PartnersConnect where members can go and join, connect, share, and discuss topics of similar interest. The Unit is looking for volunteer leaders to be Community Moderators for these communities of practice. 

Education and Global Citizenship Unit 

  • The Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund closed its fall competition on November 13, 2020. Small grants up to $10,000 will be awarded to teams of at least one U.S. citizen alumnus/a and one U.S. or international citizen alumnus/a of government-sponsored exchange programs to carry out domestic and international public service projects that utilize the skills, knowledge, and networks gained through their exchange experiences.  
  • On November 17 and 18, 2020, the 100,000 Strong in the Americas (100K) Innovation Fund hosted webinars about how to develop institutional partnerships and become familiar with the unique eligibility requirements for the U.S.-Colombia Grant Competition for 21st Century Higher Education Partnerships. 

October 2020

Economic Development and Health Unit

  • In October, the EDH Unit signed and submitted an agreement for a five-year $18M program with USAID for working with Venezuela as part of our Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program.
  • During this month, the F2F program continued to provide remote technical assistance to the LAC region and its F2F core countries (Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, and Myanmar).  

Child Protection Unit

  • On October 9, the Supreme Court of Paraguay and Partners signed an inter-institutional cooperation agreement in the framework of our ATLAS project, for which Partners is a sub-grantee to Winrock International. The signing of this agreement was a major step in assuring that the ATLAS project is implemented into the inter-institutional framework of Paraguay.
  • The CPU’s Ñande Ko’ē project also celebrated a milestone, with the Paraguayan Minister of Exterior Relations Juan Ignacio Livieres formally approving the National Plan to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Persons in Paraguay, which has an accompanying national program and fund designated to help combat TIP. 

Membership Unit

  • To increase connections, collaborations, and engagement among the Partners network, Partners has updated the functionality of the My Feed feature in PartnersConnect. When you post announcements and photos in your feed, all members of PartnersConnect will now see these posts.  
  • One of the most anticipated Chapter events is coming up – and this year it is going virtual! Join the São Paulo and Illinois Chapters for their 11th MOSTRA Brazilian Film Festival, taking place in November in Chicago (4-14) and Brazil (23-29) for a lineup of films “with social conscience.”  

Education and Global Citizenship Unit

  • On October 21 and 22, 2020, the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund hosted webinars with tips and strategies for potential 100K applicants for the 2020 Mexico-U.S. Innovation Fund Competition.  
  • The Innovation Fund is also excited to announce upcoming competitions for U.S.-Colombia in October 2020, the U.S., Central America, and the Dominican Republic in November, and a U.S.-Brazil competition in Winter 2020/Spring 2021. 
  • The Education & Culture project has many opportunities for continuing engagement in cross-cultural activities, including the English Everywhere Grant with ABLA (Association of Binational Centers of Latin America) students. You can also show off your creativity and share your community and culture with public school teachers and their students in Brazil through this grant with our Goiás, Brazil Chapter.  
  • The U.S. Exchange Alumni Program is recruiting volunteers to join the review committee for the 2020 Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund for U.S. Alumni. 

September 2020

Economic Development and Health Unit

  • The Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program continues to provide remote technical assistance to the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region and its F2F core countries.
  • The program has recently expanded to include local volunteers in each of these core countries, including university students, faculty, and technical experts who wish to support their local communities in collaboration with remote U.S. volunteers.
  • Current collaborations between remote and local volunteers include insect rearing for pest management, risk-assessment for a micro-finance network, soil carbon storage, agricultural strategic planning, digital communications for container gardening, and small ruminant nutrition trainings.

Child Protection Unit

  • This past month, in Paraguay, the U.S. Department of State-funded Ñande Ko’ē project facilitated a virtual workshop with the Inter-Agency Roundtable to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Persons, during which the members unanimously approved the National Plan to Prevent and Combat Trafficking in Persons in Paraguay.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor-funded Paraguay Okakuaa project is excited to announce the launch of its virtual library, hosted on the Partners website. This platform hosts information on the project’s activities, reports, campaigns, success stories, legal definitions, and more.

Membership Unit

  • On September 10, the Membership Unit moderated Partners' International Board of Directors’ Board Development Committee (BDC)’s first virtual Town Hall event, “Why You Should Run for the Board.”
  • Beth Outterson, Chair of the BDC, provided prospective candidates with an overview of what Partners is and does, what it means to be a member of the International Board of Directors, and the eligibility requirements to hold a position as a member of the International Board.

Education and Global Citizenship Unit

  • The Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund launched its fall competition on September 28, 2020. Small grants up to $10,000 will be awarded to teams of at least one U.S. citizen alumnus/a and one U.S. or international citizen alumnus/a of government-sponsored exchange programs to carry out domestic and international public service projects that utilize the skills, knowledge, and networks gained through their exchange experiences.
  • In September, the Education and Culture Program announced the launch of its 2020-2021 program. The deadline for small grants is October 31, 2020.
  • On September 17, 2020, the 100,000 Strong in the Americas (100K) Innovation Fund launched the 2020 Mexico-U.S. Innovation Fund Competition via its first-ever virtual event. This 100K Innovation Fund competition is generously supported by the Mary Street Jenkins Foundation, Coca-Cola Mexico Foundation, and Sempra Energy to support new higher education partnerships and academic training programs for students between Mexico and the U.S.

August 2020

Economic Development and Health Unit

  • The Farmer-to-Farmer program (F2F) continues to provide remote technical assistance to the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region and its F2F core countries.
  • The program has recently expanded to include local volunteers in each of these core countries, an innovation that will provide robust and sustainable support to farmers, agribusinesses, and cooperatives throughout and beyond the pandemic. Current collaborations between remote and local volunteers include curriculum development for fisheries, webinars in small ruminant nutrition, and agricultural strategic planning.

Child Protection Unit

  • This month, the CPU continued to combat child labor, forced labor, and trafficking in persons through virtual platforms and campaigns to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • The CPU’s U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL)-funded Palma Futuro project worked with their partners at the National Federation of Palm Oil Growers (Fedepalma) to expand their existing outreach campaign to spread awareness information about COVID-19 to Colombian palm oil growers. The expanded campaign featured infographic flyers used to disseminate COVID-19 information, including one titled “In These Difficult Times You Have a Right to Secure and Dignified Employment."
  • This month the CPU’s USDOL-funded Colombia Avanza and Palma Futuro project director, Eduardo Bejarano, met with the governor of Colombia’s Tomila department, Ricardo Orozco Valero. Through this meeting, Partners and the department of Tomila were able to strengthen their relationship and move forward with activities to continue supporting its coffee-growing civil society during the pandemic.

Membership Unit

  • The Texas Chapter, in conjunction with the Bolivia Diaspora in Texas, the Missouri Chapter, and the three Bolivian Chapters (Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, and La Paz y el Altiplano), is raising resources to purchase and ship equipment and medicine to Bolivia.
  • Other Chapters have established hotlines for those coping with social isolation or those in need of telemedicine advice.
  • In August, the Membership Unit finished hosting virtual meetings to connect the Chapter Network by region, first with U.S. Chapters and then with Spanish-speaking Latin American and Caribbean Chapters. Approximately 70 leaders from over 40 Chapters came together to demonstrate the strength of the Network.

Education and Global Citizenship Unit

  • On July 28, 2020, the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund (CDAF) Rapid Response round closed, awarding 34 grants of up to $10,000 to individuals and teams of U.S. exchange citizen alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs to respond to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Grant projects are now taking place across 20 countries, the U.S., and virtually, ranging from building resilience through the arts, media literacy, gender equality, COVID-19 prevention, and more. The U.S. Department of State and Partners are now preparing for the fall 2020 CDAF round with intent to launch in September 2020.
  • In August, the 100,000 Strong in the Americas (100K) Innovation Fund participated in two virtual events hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Colombia. The first event, "Desarraigo," focused on partnering for prosocial digital campaigns with a focus on coffee and climate change in Colombia. The second event featured "Women4Peace," a project led by Universidad de La Salle and implemented in partnership with 10 higher education institutions (HEIs) in the U.S. and Colombia. The project aimed to build knowledge and leadership skills of women in technology, engineering, agricultural, social, economic, and administrative sciences.

July 2020

Economic Development and Health Unit 

  • The Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program has facilitated remote technical assistance between 50 remote volunteers and hosts in each of the F2F core countries (Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, and Myanmar). This assistance has helped local hosts and communities build resilience and create innovative solutions to the pandemic’s challenges. 
  • The F2F program is currently building out a strategy for local volunteers to provide expert assistance and support to hosts and communities in their country. The program will link local volunteers in each core country with a remote volunteer in the U.S. to collaborate and provide robust and sustainable guidance to farmers, agribusinesses, small and medium enterprises, and communities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.  
  • The F2F program continues to engage Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who were evacuated from their communities in F2F program activities. 

Child Protection Unit 

  • This month, the CPU continued its work to combat child labor, forced labor, and trafficking in persons by moving in-person activities to virtual platforms to adapt to the context of COVID-19. 
  • The Ñande Ko’ê project, funded by the U.S. Department of State (USDOS), participated in a series of webinars in honor of Paraguay’s Month to Combat Trafficking in Persons.  
  • These webinars included “TIP and the Protection System in Education,” aimed at educating public and private educational community members and “TIP Prevention During Times of COVID-19,” targeting officials of public institutions.  
  • The Unit’s U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) funded project Colombia Avanza distributed a new video across social media platforms to provide coffee farmers with essential information on preventing the spread of COVID-19 as a part of their "#LaSaludDeTodosEsAsuntoDeTodos" ("Our Community’s Health is Everyone’s Responsibility") campaign.  
  • The project also hosted a webinar with the National Federation of Coffee Growers (Fedecafé) and the Colombian Ministry of Labor on July 2, 2020, titled “Minors in Times of COVID-19."  
  • In July, the Colombia Avanza project developed a COVID-19 Response Kit to share how they are combatting child labor in the Colombian coffee sector.

Membership Unit 

  • In July, the Membership Unit created a “Find a Chapter” web page on Partners.net that does not require logging into PartnersConnect to view the Chapters throughout the United States and Latin America and the Caribbean.  
  • On this page, Chapters are categorized and listed alphabetically by country. Connect with the Chapters and PartnersCampus Student Chapters by following their social media channels and visiting their websites listed on the page.  

Education and Global Citizenship Unit 

  • U.S. Exchange Alumni are now connecting on Whova to access a virtual mainstage with an exclusive look at navigating their way to a career in public service, programming on professional development and the state of international careers, live Q&As with career coaches and mentors, virtual discussions, panels, and exchange alumni community gatherings online.  
  • As of early July 2020, about 200 groups of U.S. citizen alumni applied and 32 were awarded grants for the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund (CDAF) Rapid Response round. Winning projects include activities in the U.S. and in 12 countries ranging from building resilience through the arts, media literacy, gender equality, COVID-19 prevention, and more.  
  • The Rapid Response round closed in late July to prepare for the third CDAF round beginning in September 2020, which will promote a call for proposals addressing media literacy, community resilience, and building the U.S. exchange alumni community.  
  • On July 18, 2020, the EGC Unit promoted the importance of education for global citizenship for the International Day of Education for Global Citizenship with a message from Partners President and CEO John McPhail. 

June 2020

Economic Development and Health Unit
  • The Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) and AVOP teams continue to provide support to farmers, small and medium enterprises, and entrepreneurs throughout Latin America and the Caribbean through remote technical assistance. 
  • The F2F program is currently working with 31 volunteers that are providing support and guidance to hosts in each of the F2F core countries through zoom webinars, interactive presentations, document sharing, brainstorming sessions and more. 
  • A few assignments of note:
  • Melissa Delzio, Rob Alan, and Peter Buechler are supporting Marco Yogi Super Foods (YSF) in Guatemala to build out their online presence by updating their website and designs for their products to make them marketable in an online space. 
  • Michael Lowery is supporting Black Genesis Bees with strategic planning for his apiary and honey processing plant in Jamaica. 
  • Robert Spencer and Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak are supporting CEPROR in the Dominican Republic to provide value-added processing for rabbit-based products. 

Child Protection Unit

  • On June 17, Colombia Avanza talked with the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros about preventing child labor in the Panorama Cafetero program.
  • On Friday, June 12, the CPU commemorated World Day Against Child Labor 2020: Protect children from child labor, now more than ever.
  • In commemoration of the World Day Against Child Labor (WDACL), the Ministry of Labor of Colombia held a virtual event on June 12 focused on the impact of COVID-19 on child labor. Projects funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Colombia Avanza, and Palma Futuro participated in the event.
  • Throughout the week, the USDOL-funded project Paraguay Okakuaa shared messages to promote WDACL and its focus on COVID-19 and provided relevant resources for its network.
  • Through extensive communications campaigns regarding COVID-19 prevention and reporting, the CPU continues to mitigate the crisis’ effects in rural communities and agricultural sectors of Paraguay and Colombia. 

Membership Unit

  • The Membership Unit congratulated 18 Chapters for achieving milestone anniversaries in 2020. These include nine Chapters celebrating 55 years, two Chapters celebrating 35 years, and seven PartnersCampus Student Chapters celebrating five years within the network. 

Education and Global Citizenship Unit

  • On June 24, 2020, the U.S. Alumni Network and Capacity Program launched its first virtual event, “How to Sell Your International Experience” as part of Career Connections Global+, which is a series of virtual professional development sessions bringing together U.S. alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs with expert career coaches, professionals from diverse fields, and international leaders.
  • On June 25, the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund hosted "Tools and Tips for Virtual Education Programs: An Introduction to Collaborative Online International Education (COIL) and 100K Partnerships," a webinar to learn about cutting edge practices in virtual/online program development and delivery. It was hosted by the Innovation Fund team and the State University of New York (SUNY) Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) Center.
  • In June, the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund gave a grant as a part of their Rapid Response round to poets, who developed the poem, “Poetry Is Like Bread Ghazal #1,” a collaborative poem created to nourish people through the pandemic and to envision the world that will come after. 
  • In June, the EGC Unit announced that it will promote the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 for quality education for the International Day for Education for Global Citizenship on July 18.

May 2020

Economic Development and Health Unit
  • The Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) and AVOP programs held a mid-year Latin America & the Caribbean Regional Meeting with co-implementer, NCBA-CLUSA. 
  • The regional meeting covered a diverse array of topics pertaining to COVID-19 and its implications on F2F programming. 
  • Representatives from USAID, AVOP, and the F2F core country offices discussed strategies to continue to support local hosts, engage volunteers, spread information, and support each other during the pandemic. 
  • The F2F team has launched remote assistance for hosts in each of the six core countries with a total of 18 confirmed volunteers. 
  • The F2F Guatemala office launched a series of five virtual trainings on small ruminant management with the support of volunteer, Dr. Abner Rodriguez and the Agrocadena Caprina Nacional. 
  • The first webinar had the maximum number of participants for a zoom meeting, providing support for 100 farmers.

Child Protection Unit

  • Partners of the Americas was admitted as a member of the Colombian Network Against Child Labor and the Business Network for a Child Labor Free Ecuador in May. With these alliances, the CPU and Partners in general can join efforts to prevent child labor in Colombia and Ecuador, both nationally and regionally.
  • In May, the CPU’s USDOL- and USDOS-funded projects implemented in Paraguay, Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica continued to monitor and adapt to the situation of COVID-19. 
  • The USDOL-funded project Palma Futuro held a webinar with private sector partners and public sector stakeholders on labor conditions and social compliance systems in Colombia’s palm oil sector.
  • On May 20, the Colombia Avanza Project Director and the Director of the Departmental Committee of Tolima of the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia participated in an interview on the station Ecos del Combeima 790 AM - the main station of the Department of Tolima, Colombia - to share the efforts of the project to prevent COVID-19 within the Colombian coffee sector.
  • The Colombia Avanza project participated in the Sustainable Coffee Challenge webinar – a monthly event to discuss different topics facing the coffee sector. In the webinar, Colombia Avanza’s Project Director shared the interventions/activities carried out by the project to address child labor in the Colombian coffee sector, and how the strategies chosen are most effective in solving this problematic.
  • The Colombia Avanza project published a video titled, “Quédate en casa y tómate un café” (“Stay inside and have coffee” in English) with la Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia (Fedecafe). The video is part of the project’s campaign to raise awareness of COVID19, have a coffee, and protect our workers. It reminds people that everyone's health is everyone’s issue. 
  • In May, the USDOL-funded Colombia Avanza, Paraguay Okakuaa, and Palma Futuro projects were highlighted in the newsletter for the Alliance 8.7, an inclusive global partnership committed to achieving target 8.7 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate child labor. The newsletter detailed that the projects in Colombia and Paraguay have launched awareness-raising campaigns on the risk of COVID-19 to those vulnerable of exploitation.

Membership Unit

  • In May, the Membership Unit welcomed intern, Vander Finotti, to the team. 
  • Vander is working with the team to support member engagement and provide assistance to Traditional Chapters and PartnersCampus Student Chapters throughout the network.
  • The Membership Unit also promoted utilizing PartnersConnect, our member portal, for our Network to engage with Partners of the Americas while working from home. 
  • They can receive announcements of upcoming events, engage with local Chapters, and connect with members throughout the Americas.

Education and Global Citizenship Unit

  • The U.S. Alumni Network and Capacity Building Program is continuing its Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund Rapid Response round in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). 
  • The team has received 58 completed applications and at least another 85 applications are being drafted. 
  • In May, the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund announced the "Tools to Develop Virtual Education Programs" webinar hosted by Partners of the Americas, the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, and program leaders from the State University of New York (SUNY) Center for Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) that will happen in June.

#GivingTuesdayNow — May 5, 2020 (Membership Unit updates on the Chapters Respond Page)

Economic Development and Health Unit
  • Dominican Republic Field Officer Gabriela Rosa helped Farmer-to-Farmer develop remote assignments to provide technical support to thousands of smallholder farmers, agribusinesses, and their communities after volunteer assignments were canceled due to COVID-19.
  • Farmer-to-Farmer Guatemala Field Officer Selvin Carrillo is engaging volunteers and hosts through remote assignments during COVID-19 after F2F volunteer assignments were canceled. Selvin has been helping F2F since 2017 with over 25 assignments. 
  • Farmer-to-Farmer Myanmar Field Officer Aung Myo Thant has shown creativity and commitment within his role and is an experienced agriculturalist. During COVID-19, Aung has helped establish remote assignments so that farmers & agribusinesses can persevere.

Child Protection Unit

  • Journalist Faustino Diaz has been voluntarily translating Paraguay Okakuaa's COVID-19 communications campaign to the language of his community, Nivaclé, and sharing it on the community radio station and social media. This will expand the reach of valuable health and safety messages to indigenous populations that may not otherwise have access to this information.
  • In response to #COVID19, the Colombia Avanza project has developed awareness-raising materials to promote not only health, but safety and solidarity. These messages have reached residents of Chaparral, a municipality in Colombia. This community decided to help by distributing a part of their agricultural production to families in their three most vulnerable neighborhoods. They also equipped the local hospital with biosecurity supplies, such as masks.
  • La Red de Voluntariado de Itapúa (the "Volunteer Network of Itapúa" in English), a strategic ally in the implementation of the Ñande Ko’ê project to combat human trafficking in Paraguay, has developed its own initiatives to assist its community during the #COVID19 quarantine. In Itapúa "solidarity pots" were organized to provide a plate of food to over 10,000 vulnerable people during the quarantine period in Paraguay.
  • The University of Ibague, a strategic partner of Colombia Avanza, began their own initiative to study and predict the effects of the pandemic in the Tolima department. This included assessments of the surveillance system for infected people and monitoring infection alerts. The University also lent laptops and donated computers to first-year students so they could access remote classes. The University’s research and educational contributions are supporting the community in these difficult times.

Education and Global Citizenship Unit

  • The Antioquia, Colombia Chapter, a recipient of the Education and Culture program, has helped their community during #COVID19. The Chapter started the campaign “Y sí todos ayudamos toma o dona” (“What if everyone helps, take or donate” in English). They set up food stands and with the help of donations, the Chapter purchased food for 300 apartments housing elderly and low-income families.
  • Since the beginning of COVID-19, the Wisconsin-Nicaragua Chapter’s Learning Centers have been hard at work producing masks for a medical center in Nicaragua. Chapter members and partners donated their thread, sewing machines, fabric, and sewing supplies with the Learning Centers. The Chapter is a recipient of the Education and Culture program.
  • Shelley Tinkham served as a volunteer reviewer for the 2019 U.S.-Mexico 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund Competition in March and April, during the COVID-19 pandemic. In early March, Shelley was evacuated from Mexico, where she was serving as a Peace Corps Response volunteer. Despite this hardship, Shelley completed all of her reviews to help students participate in training and exchange opportunities once international travel is open.

April 2020

Economic Development and Health Unit
  • The EDH Unit has been leveraging its relationships throughout the F2F network to spread information and best practices regarding COVID-19. 
  • On April 15, EDH Program Officer Kelly McNally hosted a virtual training through AVOP for all F2F implementors and their staff regarding cross-cultural communication.
  • The F2F team and field staff continue to share Partners’ daily updates on social media to extend the guidance to in-country networks. 
  • The F2F team is coordinating with the Peace Corps to plan a “rapid response” team of returned Peace Corps volunteers to continue their projects in-country and reconnect with their communities through long-term F2F assignments.
  • The F2F team is also exploring avenues for remote assignments with volunteers and hosts in each of the core countries.
  • Projects range from improving marketing strategy, business development, and crop management to helping farmers, cooperatives, and enterprises cope with the effects of COVID-19. 
  • The Unit continues to follow all guidance and recommendations from the CDC, Department of State, and USAID regarding travel and other program activities impacted by COVID-19.

Child Protection Unit

  • Paraguay Okakuaa, Colombia Avanza, and Palma Futuro are carrying out communications campaigns to spread information on self-care, identifying symptoms, and proper protocol to follow if workers present symptoms. 
  • The Colombia Avanza program is using radio messages, a jingle, and an animated video to spread information on Occupational Safety and Health in the coffee sector to rural communities in the agricultural sectors. 
  • The Paraguay Okakuaa project is raising awareness of government assistance programs available to employers and workers impacted by the crisis. 
  • The USDOL’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) has praised the CPU’s successful response to COVID-19 in Latin America through a post on the ILAB website.

Membership Unit

  • The Membership Unit has focused its efforts on promoting and facilitating virtual communication as a valuable community resource during self-isolation. 
  • The Membership Unit has provided all the Traditional and PartnersCampus Student Chapters with unique partners.net email addresses to facilitate the organization of virtual meetings and activities. 
  • The Membership Unit conducted training sessions in English, Spanish, and Portuguese to demonstrate the features of PartnersConnect as a management and communications tool. 
  • The Membership Unit reached out to members and Chapters to promote their events and contributions during the pandemic.
  • In May, the Membership Unit plans to launch a virtual platform for engagement across the hemisphere.

Education and Global Citizenship Unit

  • Due to COVID-19, the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund decided that it was necessary to postpone the launch of the 2020 U.S.-Mexico Competition, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State.
  • The launch was scheduled to open on April 1, 2020. 
  • The Innovation Fund team recognizes that HEIs need to focus on completing the 2019-2020 academic year under new and challenging circumstances.
  • The Innovation Fund is hopeful for what is to come and looking forward to opening the 2020 U.S.-MX Competition when the time comes.
  • Students and faculty from the 100K “Leaders United for Positive Energy (LUPE)” 2019 program virtually reunited in April from Tucumán and Ushuaia, Argentina, Hermosillo, Mexico, and Flagstaff, Arizona. 
  • They shared how they are coping with COVID-19 and how they spread positive energy by discussing ways to form partnerships.
  • The U.S. Alumni Network and Capacity Building Program launched a Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund Rapid Response round in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). 
  • U.S. citizen alumni of all U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs are eligible to apply to address issues related to the COVID-19 crisis with grants ranging from $500 to $10,000.
  • The Education and Culture program anticipates announcing a call for proposals for small grant support. 
  • Priority is given for creative projects that foster entrepreneurship, innovation, and corporate social responsibility, promote diversity and social inclusion in a strong civil society, and that can improve the lives of at-risk youth, women, or marginalized communities during or after COVID-19. 
  • The deadline for submission is June 30. 
  • The program also plans to create a professional development workshop for teachers of English as a second language in June, July, and September.

March 2020

Economic Development and Health Unit

  • All upcoming Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) volunteer assignments have been canceled.
  • F2F field staff in Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Guyana, Jamaica, and Myanmar are now all teleworking
  • They informed farmers and other stakeholders of the canceled assignments and provided them with information on critical preventive measures to combat COVID-19.
  • Staff has directly or indirectly reached thousands of farmers and their families throughout the Western Hemisphere. 
  • Some agribusinesses like Yogi Super Foods in Guatemala have leveraged the skills and knowledge they learned from F2F volunteers to adapt in response to the COVID-19 crisis and now sell the organization’s products on Amazon.

Child Protection Unit

  • The CPU is directing efforts to raise awareness about COVID-19 throughout Latin America.
  • They are working to continue the implementation of project activities addressing child labor, forced labor, and trafficking in persons, with a focus on the amplified risk that COVID-19 poses to already vulnerable rural populations. 
  • Colombia Avanza is collaborating with the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (FEDECAFE) to provide high-risk rural populations with information about COVID-19 through nation-wide radio broadcasts relating to Occupational Safety and Health and child labor in the coffee sector. 

Membership Unit

  • The Membership Unit is actively monitoring how the current COVID-19 Pandemic affects Chapters and members throughout the Americas and is offering support to those in need of additional assistance. 
  • Chapters across the hemisphere are also acting and taking steps in their own communities to support those in need. 

Education and Global Citizenship Unit

  • The EGC Unit is working closely with our network throughout the Americas and is adapting programs as necessary in response to COVID-19.
  • The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund has addressed both active grant recipients and the Innovation Network regarding the impact of COVID-19 on international higher education exchanges. 
  • Programs implemented by the U.S. Alumni Network and Capacity Building Program were temporarily paused by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) on 3/12/2020.
  • The EGC Unit and ECA met to discuss immediate contingency plans for the Career Connections Seattle seminar from July 8-10, 2020. 
  • COVID-19 has significantly disrupted the implementation of the activities of the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund, necessitating a longer grant period. 
  • As of March 20, 2020, all CDAF teams have returned to the U.S. for the Education and Culture program and all but one of the participants received by host families have safely returned home.
  • All travel plans for mid-March through April for the Education and Culture Program have been canceled, potentially to be rescheduled later in 2020.
  • Contingency plans are underway for the launch of the next Education and Culture grant. 
  • EGC plans to partner with organizations to offer online opportunities to enhance the professional skills of English teachers.
  • Venezuelan Journalist Giovanni Daboin traveled to Tennessee to help Tennessee Chapter President James Gary Linn and Venezuela Chapter President Yraima Méndez document their Chapters' more than 40 years of history, as a part of our Education and Culture program. Daboin was supposed to return home to Venezuela in late March, but due to COVID-19, he can't until the country's borders open again. The journalist continues to collect testimonies virtually.