CRS Farmer-to-Farmer Program Sends Volunteers to East Africa

Catholic Relief Services has joined a program that connects farmers in the United States with their counterparts around the world for training and technical assistance. The CRS project will focus on East Africa.

“The program will use the expertise of U.S. Catholics and non-Catholics to help the impoverished communities we serve in this part of Africa,” said Bruce White, director for the program.

Plans call for almost 500 project assignments over the five-year life of the program, focusing on agriculture, food security and nutrition in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

This is the first time CRS has been involved in the 28-year-old Farmer-to-Farmer Program funded by the U.S. government.

CRS is partnering with five U.S. institutions to tap into the rich diversity of the U.S. agriculture community: the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, Foods Resource Bank, National Association of Agricultural Educators, American Agri-Women, and the University of Illinois’ College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

The U.S. volunteers will travel to East Africa for anywhere from one to six weeks, their expenses covered by a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

“One thing we are certain of is that this program will be beneficial not just to the farmers in East Africa, but also to the volunteers from America,” White said. “It’s going to make the world a little bit smaller for everyone involved.”

The U.S. Agency for International Development administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in nearly 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. For more information, please visit crs.org or crsespanol.org.

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