USAID Honors ACDI/VOCA Volunteers for Food Security Work in Poorer Nations
WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Four ACDI/VOCA volunteers were honored yesterday at the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer Appreciation event for their outstanding service this year to reduce hunger in poor communities worldwide.
Technical experts Dr. Peder Cuneo, Dr. Roger Ellis, W. Kirk Miller and Gary Mutz were recognized for volunteering their time and skills to a variety of hunger-fighting programs, ranging from livestock health and care to agribusiness strategies and cooperative development, in the Middle East, North Africa and West Africa.
Fighting world hunger is at the heart of USAID's new Feed-the-Future initiative, which was implemented in May to further the U.S. pledge of $3.5 billion toward agricultural development made at the 2009 G-8 summit in response to rising world food prices and food riots.
As USAID reorganizes itself to meet Feed-the-Future's goals for the global hunger challenge, "I would think we'll be seeing more of innovative programs like Farmer-to-Farmer," says event keynote speaker Gregory Gottlieb, senior deputy assistant administrator of the newly created Bureau for Food Security, which oversees Feed the Future.
"The two FTFs—'Farmer-to-Farmer' and 'Feed the Future'—have a lot more in common than just our acronym," Gottlieb says. "Together, we are working to lift people out of poverty through agriculture-led development."
USAID's Farmer-to-Farmer program also benefits U.S. taxpayers because it helps development aid dollars stretch further, says ACDI/VOCA Volunteer Director Diana Roach. In 2010 volunteers fulfilled 522 assignments worldwide, providing direct formal training to 16,853 beneficiaries—one-third of them women.
"The memories and relationships our volunteers build working in these communities is the only compensation they receive, and of course the satisfaction of making a difference," Roach says. "And they make a tremendous difference in people's lives—often for years to come."
ACDI/VOCA Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer Honorees
- Dr. Peder Cuneo, of Tucson, Arizona, is an extension veterinarian with 31 years' experience in animal science and veterinary medicine who enhanced food security in villages throughout Egypt by increasing milk productivity and livestock quality of dairy cattle and buffalo.
- Dr. Roger Ellis, of New York, is a practicing veterinarian and co-founder of Veterinarians Without Borders, with more than 30 years' international service experience, who worked with local farmers in both Lebanon and Liberia to improve livestock reproductive health and disease prevention.
- W. Kirk Miller, of Ohio, has served agribusinesses and the U.S. government in agriculture and international trade for more than 40 years, attaining the positions of administrator of the Federal Grain Inspection Service and general sales manager for USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service. He helped Ghanaians create a five-year strategic plan for the soybean industry.
- Gary Mutz, of Georgia, is an international consultant with extensive global experience who worked with cooperatives in Jordan to market their products and to train farmers on marketing and quality assurance.
The ACDI/VOCA volunteers joined 14 volunteers from other organizations also recognized at the event. Those organizations include CNFA, Cooperative Coffees, IESC, Florida A&M University, FAVACA (Florida Volunteer Corps), Mercy Corps, NCBA, Partners of the Americas, Purdue University, TechnoServe, University of Arizona (Aquaculture Without Borders), Weidemann Associates, Winrock International and Veterinarians Without Borders-USA.
For more information about ACDI/VOCA's volunteer program, visit www.acdivoca.org.
Sandra Bunch, ACDI/VOCA