FARMER TO FARMER: NICARAGUA
Since 1991, Partners of the America’s Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program has been transforming lives in over 30 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. F2F connects specialized volunteers from the United States with farmers, cooperatives, agribusinesses, extension services, government agencies and other institutions. F2F is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Ethos of Engagement has partnered on a volunteer basis with F2F on projects taking place in Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua.
Global Partner: Partners of the Americas, University of Wisconsin-Extension, Program Development and Evaluation
Local Partner: CANISLAC, CARNICARN, Peace Corps Nicaragua, Universidad Nacional Agraria (National Agrarian University), Nicaragua Livestock and Dairy Project
Background: With F2F as a backdrop, and systems thinking as a context, EoE set out to support local staff by conducting an organizational needs assessment of the new F2F hosts and field staff. By identifying the needed support, the F2F field staff and host organizations can identify the technical assistance they need in order to strengthen and increase equitable participation in the Nicaragua Livestock and Dairy Project. This, in turn, helped facilitate access to domestic and international value-added beef and dairy markets. Additionally, the F2F project in Nicaragua was interested in exploring innovative opportunities to integrate gender issues and women’s empowerment into organizational development.
Systems thinking concepts were introduced as tools with which to analyze participants’ businesses and provide an atmosphere of problem solving and dialogue. Working in partnership with F2F stakeholder groups (e.g., staff, volunteers, hosts and partners), Feminist Systems Thinking principles and Organizational Development strategies were culturally-adapted and introduced in specific regions of Nicaragua to identify areas for strengthening and improvement identified by participants.