News and Events

Bill Nichols

Name: Bill Nichols

Current title/profession: Principal at Nichols Consulting

Current hometown: Boston, Massachusetts

Areas of expertise: Marketing, strategic planning


ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW

Name of project: Farmer-to-Farmer in the Dominican Republic

Location of the project: Dominican Republic

Organization that sent the volunteer: Partners of the Americas


VOLUNTEER IMPACT

Bill Nichols is a Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) veteran. A graduate of West Point and Harvard Business School, Mr. Nichols has over 30 years of both domestic and international management and marketing experience. He has used his expertise on multiple F2F assignments for Partners of the Americas, most recently in the Dominican Republic (DR) Yaque del Norte working in the watershed with Plan Yaque, a non-profit environmental organization that is dedicated to guaranteeing access to water for all individuals who depend on the watershed.

Partners of the Americas’ F2F program in the DR seeks to increase the resilience of vulnerable populations to the unpredictable impacts of global climate change. The program has a particular emphasis on water management in the Yaque del Norte watershed, which directly and indirectly affects two million people. However, Plan Yaque’s six-person staff was overwhelmed by the number and magnitude of environmental issues that needed to be addressed. In June 2014, F2F Volunteer Bill Nichols traveled to the DR to assist the organization in developing a strategic plan to prioritize the greatest needs for climate change adaptation in communities most affected.

As a result of the assignment, Plan Yaque is focusing activities on three critical issues: water contamination and quality, micro-watershed degradation, and deforestation. Mr. Nichols also worked with Plan Yaque on strategies to increase impact, such as focusing activities primarily on the upper watershed so that a greater number of farmers and inhabitants downstream can benefit. By March 2015, Plan Yaque had a clearer and more focused set of key areas of work. Their new vision prioritizes partnering with the right organizations to strategically address the many environmental issues that impact the Yaque del Norte water resources.

Download this story in PDF format below. This article was originally written by Partners of the Americas.

 

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Dr. David Addae

This article was originally written and published by ACDI/VOCA.

Name: Dr. David Addae

Current title/profession: Professor of Advanced Technologies, Alcorn State University

Current hometown: Natchez, Mississippi

Areas of expertise: Post-harvest food losses, strategic technologies, community building


ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW

Name of project: Farmer-to-Farmer West Africa

Location of the project: Ghana

Organization that sent the volunteer: ACDI/VOCA


VOLUNTEER IMPACT

In Twapease, Ghana, the Dekaworwor Rice Growers’ Association has seen a dramatic increase in rice yields and nearly doubling of income. Profits have been plowed right back into the community. They are used to extend credit to association members and expand educational opportunities for local children. All primary school-aged children now attend school because their fees are covered by the association. The farmers are also paying for promising teenagers to attend junior high and trade school.

How was this group able to achieve such a transformation? The answer is hard work and support from the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) West Africa program implemented by ACDI/VOCA.

F2F is a USAID-funded program that sends U.S. agricultural experts to developing and transitional countries where they voluntarily share

The 64-member Dekaworwor association received assistance from Dr. David Addae of Natchez, Mississippi. Before the F2F volunteer came, the association's agronomic practices were lacking: farmers planted low-quality seeds by broadcasting, i.e., scattering by hand.

Through demonstrations, Dr. Addae taught the farmers how they could yield more rice by using higher-quality seeds and planting manually in lines, which helps to evenly distribute the seeds and places them at the correct depth. He said that this technique also cuts down on time spent on crop maintenance, since rows allow the farmers to quickly weed or apply inputs.

Dr. Addae also demonstrated techniques on how to prepare the rice to avoid significant post-harvest losses. He was well qualified to do so since his dissertation was "Post-Harvest Food Losses in Ghana."

The results from Dr. Addae's visit are impressive. Members’ rice harvests have increased from 0.85 tons per acre to 1.98 tons per acre, resulting in an average increase of $446 per acre—meaning the farmers have effectively doubled their rice sales. Credit goes to the farmers’ hard work and diligent adoption of farming and post-harvest handling techniques recommended by Dr. Addae.

Improved prospects have resulted in a stronger commitment to working together. “We are so much more unified now than we were before the training. We care for each other now,” said one member.

Another member agreed and said, “Now there is love, unity and respect in our group.”

A brighter future for these farmers means a brighter future for this community and its future generations.

Following this assignment, Dr. Addae returned to Ghana to assist the Abotre Ye Farmer's Association (AYFA). During his two-week assignment, Dr. Addae focused trained members and leaders of AYFA on effective communication, team work and records keeping.

Dr. Addae is a professor in the department of Advanced Technologies at Alcorn State University. He received his Masters in Agricultural Economics and Rural Development from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Ryan Ringuette

This article was originally written by Ryan Ringuette and published by CRS here

Name: Ryan Ringuette

Current title/profession: Peace Corps Volunteer

Current hometown: Kampala, Uganda

Areas of expertise: Biosystems engineering, food engineering


ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW

Name of project: Farmer-to-Farmer in East Africa

Location of the project: Uganda

Organization that sent the volunteer: Catholic Relief Services (CRS)


VOLUNTEER IMPACT

Volunteering has (accidentally) become my family’s tradition. Both my father and mother are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (Morocco and Nepal), and both my sister and I are current Peace Corps Volunteers (Paraguay and Uganda). Additionally, my recently retired father volunteers with the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer program (F2F). F2F leverages the expertise of US volunteers to respond to the needs of farmers and farmer organizations around the world. And as a third year Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) with Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) F2F Uganda program, I ensure he and others like him can do just that.

I say ‘accidentally’ because I never dreamed about becoming a PCV. When I was growing up, academics were the driving force, farming the family tradition, and volunteering an occasional undertaking. I wanted to help people, be helpful to them, and thought academics were the best way to learn how to do this. However, being the son of RPCV and teacher parents, every summer we would travel. Sometimes domestically, usually internationally, but always as budget traveler’s places with different geographies, cultures, and histories than Hawai’i. At some point I realized I was learning more from these experiences than I was at school, which led me to apply for Peace Corps in my Senior year of college.

I arrived in Uganda as an Agribusiness Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in June 2015. After training with 46 other PCV’s-to-be, I paired with NilePro Trust, a local NGO and F2F host organization in Arua, Uganda. With NilePro, I was a field supervisor for their Vegetable Oil Development Project, promoting oilseed crops (sunflower, soybean, sesame) to farmers and developing farmer groups capacity to link to markets. During my time with them, NilePro received three volunteers; two helping to develop farmer groups into cooperatives and one assessing the feasibility of a sesame processing plant with NilePro. The volunteer’s different practices, perspectives, and experiences with their assignment and in development work enhanced my own understanding of how people try to help other people.

During my first two years, my Dad and I met twice on or after a F2F assignment. The first was after his assignment in Tanzania; we trekked to the gorillas in Bwindi forest and watched lions laze in the trees of Queen Elizabeth National Park. The second was during the last week of his soil conservation assignment in Mbale, Uganda. This is the only time I have seen him in action and how much he enjoys working with farmers from a different part of the world. Making compost piles was something we were taught in Peace Corps, but conveying that message to a farmer so they understand and potentially use it is something I learned from watching him.

Near the end of my first two years, third year positions were developed by the Peace Corps country program with the goal of providing interested PCV’s the opportunity to work in international development. One of those positions was as a program officer with CRS’s F2F Uganda program. My previous, positive experiences with the program and the opportunity for professional, international development made my decision very easy. And allows me to continue the new family tradition.

Read David Ringuette's article here

Bruce Gregory

This article was originally written and published by ACDI/VOCA here.

Name: Bruce Gregory

Current title/profession: Resource Planner, District Management

Current hometown: San Juan Islands

Areas of expertise: Agriculture, natural resource management


ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW

Name of project: Farmer-to-Farmer Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (ECCA)

Location of the project: Tajikistan 

Organization that sent the volunteer: ACDI/VOCA


VOLUNTEER IMPACT

Alisher Dehkan Farm in Tajikistan’s Khatlon Province has been producing apples, plums, bing cherry, pears, peaches, apricots, and almonds since 2009. Its owner, Firdavs Safarov, however, lacks solid orchard management skills. For example, each year he had to hire local pruning specialists to maintain his farm. But the associated costs limited profits. There was a time when Safarov considered selling the farm because it generated so little income.

Then Safarov learned that a volunteer consultant from the United States would be training local producers on key orchard management skills. During a one-day session in November 2014, ACDI/VOCA Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer Bruce Gregory of Washington State instructed Safarov and others on orchard management best practices. And later, working together on his farm, Bruce taught Safarov important pruning techniques for different trees.

With the assignment completed, Bruce gave his host the pruning shears they used in gratitude for his hospitality. Safarov immediately applied the techniques Bruce taught him. Indeed, the farm went on to nearly double its production in 2015, with yearly sales climbing 25 percent to total 27,390 TJS ($4,150).

The simple exchange of knowledge between peers is a key contributor to Farmer-to-Farmer's success. 

Stephen Peterson

Several days after visiting the apiary he had the opportunity to see an ancient Egyptian depiction of beekeeping these bees at the Tomb of Pabasa. “You may have to be a bee-geek to appreciate my feelings upon seeing this classic scene just days after seeing it in action in Fayoum [Egypt]…" - Stephen

                                                                                               


Profession: Master Beekeeper

Home State: Alaska, U.S.

Area of Expertise: Beekeeping

Language Spoken: English


ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW

Name of project: Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Middle East and North Africa (MENA) 

Program Country: Egypt

Core Implementer: Land O'Lakes International Development

Objective: To increase technical knowledge on low hive productivity and poor honey quality.

Volunteer Assignment and Impact: While in Egypt, Stephen offered guidance to several apiaries on the importance of optimum spacing of bee colonies for improved pollination and increased honey yields. Stephen discovered that one of the apiaries he visited during his assignment works with an indigenous Egyptian bee, Apis mellifera lamarckii. This type of bee is rarely used today and Stephen referred to them as, “a national treasure.” Several days after visiting the apiary, he had the opportunity to see an ancient Egyptian depiction of beekeeping of these rare bees at the Tomb of Pabasa. “You may have to be a bee-geek to appreciate my feelings upon seeing this classic scene just days after seeing it in action in Fayoum…” he said.

Stephen also spoke at the Seventh Annual Arab Beekeepers Union Conference in Egypt. His presentation on good beekeeping practices generated much attention from the conference’s 300 attendees from over 12 countries. Finally, he completed a follow-up assignment where he offered seminars on best practices in bee colony management, nutrition, reproduction and harvesting at apiary schools in Upper Egypt. Stephen is confident that Egyptian beekeepers’ honey quality and yields will improve as the apiaries apply the advice he offered. 

Makeba Clay

 

Name: Makeba Clay

Current title/profession: Leadership and Organizational Strategist

Current hometown: Washington, DC

ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW

Name of project: West Africa Farmer-to-Farmer Program

Location of the project: Ghana

Organization that sent the volunteer: ACDI/VOCA

By Makeba Clay, the ACDI/VOCA-SHRM Foundation International Volunteer Partnership’s first volunteer

It’s so hard to believe that I have only been working with the farmers of the Techiman Maize Traders Association (TEMTA) for almost two weeks now. In such a short time, I have had time to get better acquainted with the farmers, aggregators, and many of those who sell maize in the Techiman market
through informal encounters in the market, focus group sessions, and formal training.

From the beginning, it was clear to me that the farmers were very eager to learn effective methods for strengthening their business operations based on their participation in the focus groups and discussions that I had with them in the market. They were thoroughly engaged throughout the trainings and were also very active in the role playing activities. One of the most notable themes present throughout my discussions with the farmers is the role that culture plays in business. 

As I mentioned in my previous post, Ghanaians are known for their hospitality and also for their deep value of relationships. Based on this, there tends to be a level of informality and a lot of trust that goes into their business practices. These factors, along with a reluctance to disappoint or upset members of the community, has created challenges with adherence to firm contract management practices.

An unexpected aspect of the trainings (and any group meetings with the farmers) has been the importance of integrating faith in everything that they do. For example, all meetings start and end with a prayer. Because approximately half of the TEMTA members are Christian, while the other half are Muslim, they alternate prayers between the two faiths. There is also deep respect and acknowledgement for coordinating meetings around times that do not conflict with Muslim prayer times. Being a part of this type of inclusive interfaith workplace environment has been a really unique and special experience for me.

Additionally, I have been very impressed by the dedication of the training participants. For example, each day that I arrived at the TEMTA Headquarters there were already several farmers there to make sure everything would be set up perfectly for the training session. They also spent their free time reminding other farmers about the training and encouraging participation. As a result of their efforts, nearly 100 participants joined yesterday’s training.

At one training, a number of women in attendance were quite vocal in their desire to become more engaged in leadership roles within the organization and hoped that the training would help build their confidence toward that end. Although there was a moment of dissension among the men regarding some of their statements, due to cultural traditions, there was still respect for the opinions of the women.

As the last week of training approaches, I am looking forward to working with the farmers to implement some of the practical business solutions (ex. record keeping, contract management and negotiation) that we have been discussing. I am also eager to learn about how they plan to support one another during this period of personal development, growth and leadership.

About the ACDI/VOCA-SHRM Foundation International Volunteer Partnership

This partnership was designed to engage high-potential HR professionals and their colleagues in impactful, skills-based international volunteer assignments in the developing world.  The assignments represent unique professional development and corporate social responsibility opportunities and are developed and managed by ACDI/VOCA, a leading Washington, DC-based international development organization.  Volunteers are selected based on their skillsets and assignment needs.  All assignment costs are covered by ACDI/VOCA.  

Makeba Clay volunteered with ACDI/VOCA's West Africa Farmer-to-Farmer program helping farmers build developmental capacity.

Bob Shumaker

Name: Bob Shumaker

Current title/profession: Vegetable and livestock farmer, President of the Alaska Farmers Union

Current hometown: Alaska

Areas of expertise: Farming, business development


ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW

Location of the projects: Senegal, Zambia

Organization that sent the volunteer: NCBA CLUSA


VOLUNTEER IMPACT

Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer Bob Shumaker recently completed his fourth F2F assignment, leading trainings for women farmers in Senegal. Bob, the president of the Alaska Farmers Union, has raised livestock for over 20 years and farmed vegetables for more than 15 years. Bob and his wife, Yasinta, completed separate volunteer assignments with the Groupement de Promotion Féminine (GPF) in the Matam region of Senegal. Yasinta trained women from GPF Soubalo II—a group of 110 women who process local cereals—in business skills to increase their revenues from millet. Training included financial literacy, recordkeeping, business plan development and communication and investment strategies. Bob worked with GPF Gandé II, a group of 44 women who process and sell millet, sorghum, corn, sweet potatoes and beans. The women struggle to earn profits from this endeavor and have cited market access as the main obstacle, so Bob provided training in marketing and techniques to help them increase sales and grow the profile of their businesses. 

Bob’s previous three F2F assignments had all been in Zambia. He first began work there with the Chipata District Farmers Association (CDFA) in 2012, with a training on vegetable production. He returned soon after and helped establish a cooperative based on the seven international co-op principles. He returned once again in October 2015 to share his expertise in soil testing, management and fertilization for peanuts - including blended fertilizer demonstrations for CDFA farmers. He also checked in on the cooperative he helped to form years ago, meeting with cooperative leaders and discussing management issues.

Bob first heard about the Farmer-to-Farmer program through his membership in the National Farmers Union – one of NCBA CLUSA’s member organizations. After his first trip, he was hooked.

“It is the real thing. Hands on, hit the ground running, and finish with a sense of accomplishment! I can tell you I miss them and will be happy to again be working towards a common goal,” said Shumaker. “I go back because we make a difference.” The two- to three-week Farmer-to-Farmer assignments are requested by organizations on the ground and are fully funded through the project; volunteers simply bring their expertise to groups who have a specific need.

“It is an awesome adventure. You learn about people, a different place and life,” Bob said.

This article was edited from two original articles written and published by NCBA CLUSA, which you can find here and here

Dr. Onesimus Otieno

This article was originally written and published by Winrock International here

Name: Dr. Onesimus Otieno

Current title/profession: Program Coordinator at Oakwood University

Current hometown: Huntsville, Alabama

Areas of expertise: Higher education, curriculum development, program development, research


ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW

Name of project: Farmer-to-Farmer for Agriculture Education & Training

Location of the project: Nigeria

Organization that sent the volunteer: Winrock International


VOLUNTEER IMPACT

Winrock International’s Nigeria Farmer-to-Farmer staff have nominated Dr. Onesimus Otieno as the December Volunteer of the Month because he is committed and passionate about what he does. Country Director, Mike Bassey, stated that “he is a great student as well as teacher trainer who has a good understanding of his audience and knows how to tailor his teaching and information to the benefit of all. At the completion of his 2016 assignment, the Nigeria F2F Program agreed with the host and the participants’ call for more training as well as a specific request to have the volunteer return to the college in the following school year (2017) for a follow-up training. On the interpersonal skills side, Dr. Otieno relates well with all and has great respect and love for the Nigerian people and for their culture. At the Nigeria F2F Program, we see Dr. Otieno more as a partner, this was evidenced in his driving for five hours with his family from Huntsville, Alabama to visit with me as well as meet with the Winrock headquarters staff in the Summer of 2017.”We asked Dr. Otieno to reflect on his experiences as a Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer. His responses are below:

 Why did you want to volunteer?

First, I saw an opening that made the perfect fit. It was to Senegal, a new place I had never been and I thought it would be a great way to visit while I see just how I can apply my skills in a new context. The duration was long enough to experience the new challenge and make an impact, yet short enough to squeeze into a tight annual schedule.

What was the highlight of your most recent volunteer assignment abroad?

This was a return trip and I met colleagues I had trained before. They had applied some of the skills we learnt and were eager to share their new experience and the changes they had observed in their workplace. Trainees came in larger numbers than we expected. Their enthusiasm was sustained through-out the sessions. The training opened out a new world and they were eager to walk right in.

What made your Winrock volunteer trip distinctive?

The planning and execution was seamless. Head office staff was in constant contact and gave me all the necessary information and detail. I also met people who were so committed to their work and demonstrated a sincere passion for everything they did.

How does your experience affect your worldview?

I realize that we all live in a global village and everything I do can be of impact to others around the world. They too impact me in many ways and I now have a raised consciousness of their environment. My professional focus is now more global and I always assume they are part of my audience everywhere I go.

What advice would you give a new volunteer?

Try it, you will wonder why you did not do it earlier. The world of WI staff and in-country hosts will make you feel like family.

How have your assignments made a difference in your own life?/Has your assignment caused you to do anything differently once you returned?

I find myself tailoring my regular work to an international audience even though they are not present. I have a constant awareness of my experiences there that I even see the world and my work differently.

Why should people consider volunteering?

Volunteering makes a great impact on people and communities around the world – it starts with the volunteers themselves.

How do you feel about the support from Winrock, whether before, during or after your assignments?

What brings me back is the support I get through-out the process. It seems my first call was the beginning of a long-term process that continues even after I have returned home from the assignments. Through this continued contact, I have been made aware of other opportunities within the WI F2F program that I have either participated or referred my colleagues. I find the WI team very welcoming, flexible, and believe that I will only do more of such in the future.

When your friends/family find out that your volunteer assignment aboard, what do they say or ask?

They always want to know more and ask how they can participate. I have introduced some. They all admire these opportunities and none has ever been negative.

What do you do when you’re not volunteering?

I teach most of the year and train faculty on the same things I do at the volunteer assignments. This makes things a lot easier.

Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement? In providing inspiration?

My family has been most inspiring. My mother grew up in a missionary environment and is happy I can also experience some aspect of that. My children are young (7 and 4) and give up family time when I travel. They too accept these assignments and are always happy to know how other children around the world live, play and learn. We stay in contact via the internet and they too have come to appreciate others, just like them around the world.

Do you keep in touch with your host organization? [Host organizations are the organizations that receive volunteer support]

Yes, I hear from them a few times a year. Some communication has been regarding resources, which has been very productive.

Federal Polytechnic (Ado, Ekiti) faculty pose for a picture at the end of training session 2. Mike Bassey, Ndala Booker, Onesimus Otieno, seated third, fourth, fifth from left.

How do you feel that your volunteer assignment has contributed to creating a shared understanding across different cultures through person-to-person interactions?

I have definitely gained a lot of cultural sensitivity. This is in both my technical material but also my personal interactions. I have also observed the way my hosts have interacted with me especially since I have had the privilege of a return trip. They remember many things about me and my environment and try to accommodate me. I have in return learnt to respect their practices and have a good level of comfort interacting with them within this context.

What keeps you going back to volunteer?

The WI staff are very well trained and dedicated. They listen, communicate, and excel so effortlessly and it gives me great confidence working with them so far away from home. Although the work has been rigorous and the schedule very tight, the planning has been so well done that we always came back with a positive experience.

What have you learned from your assignments?

I have learnt that there are many things and skills I have, which many will find useful. I have also learned to develop these skills with my global audience in mind and share them at every opportunity. My assignments have helped me gain insight into my work from a very different perspective. I am more inquisitive in the way I do things and, therefore, more intentional on the overall outcome.

What, if anything, has surprised you on your assignments?

I have been surprised how awareness (or lack thereof) can change the way we view resources around us. I have to remember that everyone wants to do his or her best and makes the best choices based on current knowledge. While I have seen this lack of awareness when I travel, it surprises me that it is on my hosts as well as myself. I return home and seek to do things differently and see resources where I previously did not.

Erin Mies

This article was originally written by Erin Mies and published by Land O'Lakes International Development here

Name: Erin Mies

Current title/profession: Senior Human Resources Manager with Purina Sales and Customer Operations

Current hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Areas of expertise: Human resources, management, recruiting, strategic planning


ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW

Name of project: Farmer-to-Farmer in Middle East and North Africa

Location of the project: Egypt

Organization that sent the volunteer: Land O'Lakes International Development


VOLUNTEER IMPACT

I am a Human Resources business partner with the Purina Sales and Customer Operations teams based out of Land O’Lakes, Inc. headquarters in Shoreview. I recently had the opportunity to experience a two-week volunteer assignment with Land O’Lakes International Development’s Farmer-to-Farmer program in Egypt. Here are seven things I’d love for you to know about my experience:

  1. My assignment was with an awesome host company. Sekem is a sustainable farming company in the Egyptian desert. Located about an hour north of Cairo, Sekem has been growing and selling organic spices, cotton, textiles (from the organic cotton) and other organic produce since its start in the 1970’s. With over 1,000 employees, this group has built a unique company that puts community and family at its center. In fact, they even have childcare, education, a small hospital, and many other progressive services for their employees and their community in Belbeis.  
  2. I was able to provide practical HR support. Originally, my scope of work outlined that Sekem needed support with identifying high potential talent and succession planning. But, on day one I realized these weren’t topics they seemed to need most. So, I threw my deck out the window and started a conversation to understand, “What are the pain points here?” The biggest one identified was recruiting. Together, we mapped out their existing process. I realized they lacked consistency in interviewing and a standard competency measurement guide. So, I gave a practical training on behavior-based interviewing and we practiced with role playing. I also shared interview guides inspired by what we use at Land O’Lakes, and we used them as a guide to develop custom guides for their own organization. We also covered compensation issues, new leader integration tips and how to leverage talent more effectively.
  3. The Farmer-to-Farmer team is amazing. Having not traveled outside of the U.S. in quite a long time, I have to admit that I was culture shocked when I first arrived in Egypt. Cairo is larger than New York City! But every piece of my travel was very well organized by the Farmer-to-Farmer staff, and my safety was their top priority. They took great care of me and I never felt unsafe. They helped me feel confident even when I was far outside of my comfort zone. 
  4. I’m a mother of three! Saying yes to this opportunity wasn’t easy, but I’ve been hoping for a work experience abroad for years. When it came up, I talked to my boss – she was supportive. Talked to my husband – he was supportive. At the time of my assignment, my kids were 5 and 3 years old and 15 months old, so it was going to be a lot to ask of my husband and kids. I used it as an opportunity to engage with my kids about other cultures and parts of the world. We pulled out a map and taped it to our dining room wall for the weeks leading up to my trip. It sparked many questions and discussions about where they want to travel as a family. They loved it.
  5. I’m using this experience in my role back in the U.S. Most of the Sekem employees I worked with on this assignment didn’t speak English so we used a translator. It helped me practice thinking through my messaging ahead of time, and being clear in my delivery. The experience helped force me to think about how to most succinctly communicate from Point A to Point B without a lot of jargon that confuses the intended message. I never became very good at communicating in Arabic while I was there, but if I learned any word fluently it was “shukraan” – thank you.
  6. Land O’Lakes Inc.’s support of international development makes me proud to work here. I love that we can use our experience and knowledge – in my case my HR background – to help other organizations, regardless of where they are located. Our culture may be different from Sekem’s, but people are people, and most HR challenges are universal. This experience gave me the confidence to know my skills translate.
  7. More volunteer opportunities are available! Check out volunteer opportunities here: https://lol.avature.net/Careers/SearchJobs/volunteer

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