Virtual Volunteer Opportunities With Winrock International

— Written By
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Winrock International

As international travel pauses due to COVID-19, Winrock’s USAID Farmer-to-Farmer program supports hosts in West Africa through virtual volunteer assignments. Read on to find out more and learn how to get involved.

In March 2020 global travel restrictions halted Winrock Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) volunteer trips to Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, and Liberia. The USAID funded program provides volunteer technical assistance to farmers, agribusinesses, and education and extension providers in developing countries to promote sustainable improvements in the agricultural sector. Winrock’s program in West Africa supports the following focus areas:

  • Improved agriculture education and training
  • Rural livelihood development
  • Postharvest quality

Zoom call

Zoom with clients

The need for a pivot to virtual assistance became clear as travel continued to stall in April and May. This summer, Winrock is virtually mobilizing volunteer experts in agribusiness planning and finance, postharvest grain storage, fruit and vegetable processing, soap making, cooperative development, integrated pest management, academic program evaluation, marketing, and more. These volunteers connect with host organizations through platforms like Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp, and Skype. To serve more rural areas where internet and phone connectivity are lacking, volunteers produce videos which are transferred to flash drives and shared locally with beneficiaries. Other volunteers are conducting desk research and planning projects which will allow for even richer curriculum in-country when travel can resume.

Training video for "virtual" demonstration

Training video for “virtual” demonstration

Traditionally, F2F assignments require a volunteer to travel from the US for a 2-4 week stay in one of these West African countries, where they spend time working one-on-one with host groups. Virtual volunteer assignments don’t (and can’t!) require such a time commitment. Volunteers have initial meetings with Winrock’s field offices and host organizations to plan goals, activities, timelines, and platforms that work well for both volunteer and host. From there, the assignment begins, and volunteers work with hosts to meet their goals.

Winrock is rapidly developing virtual assignments as needs are reported from our hosts. Some are listed on our website but many are in draft. Please contact our recruitment team at volunteer@winrock.org if you are interested in learning more about Winrock’s short-term, virtual volunteer assignments.

Jennifer Robinson
Senior Recruiter, Agriculture & Volunteer Programs
Winrock International

Written By

Mike Frinsko, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionMike FrinskoArea Specialized Agent, Agriculture - Aquaculture Serves 18 CountiesBased out of JonesCall Mike E-mail Mike N.C. Cooperative Extension, Jones County Center
Updated on Aug 19, 2020
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