Friday Photo: IRD and Peace Corps Partnering to Increase Food Security in The Gambia
This Friday's Photo pictures Peace Corps volunteers with IRD staff in The Gambia.
Since 2009, IRD has partnered with the Peace Corps on the Gambia River Basin Cashew Value Chain Enhancement Project. This project aims to improve the cashew value chain and increase the income of the rural population. IRD developed the business training program that enables cashew farmers to learn from each other’s experiences and improve their skills in production, post-collection handling, and marketing. Peace Corps volunteers then adapted those training materials into a participatory learning experience that targets semiliterate rural entrepreneurs. Peace Corps volunteers are also involved in cashew nut and apple processing and support farmers in day-to-day operations, including linking them with tree nurseries and other farming resources. As a result of this collaboration, more farmers are receiving training and tools, and this is measurably improving the yield and quality of the cashew harvest, ensuring household food security, and improving livelihoods. The $4 million project was initially scheduled to be completed by December 2011 but has been extended through 2014 with an additional $8 million of funding.
In May of 2011, IRD announced an IRD-Peace Corps Fellowship Program for third-year Peace Corps volunteers. The IRD-Peace Corps Fellowship offers former Peace Corps volunteers the opportunity to continue their service by teaming up with IRD practitioners and subject-matter experts. Fellows apply their knowledge through practical, hands on experiences, further their understanding of sustainable, community-based development programs, and expand their network within the development community. Through this program, IRD is fostering the professional growth of our next generation of development experts.
This partnership model has caught on with donors, governments, implementers, and the private sector, because the overwhelming evidence shows that it works. It results in sustainable development at the lowest possible cost. By working together, we increase the number of people we reach and the effectiveness of our programs.