Volunteers in the Sustainable Agriculture Systems (SAS) project will work with low-income rural farmers to improve the food security, resiliency and sustainability of their livelihoods. Volunteers will accomplish this by promoting best practices and new techniques for farming, agriculture based income generation activities, organizational development, and nutrition within their communities.
Business Advising Volunteers will work with farmers to assess their current agriculture production practices, basic business skills, organizational capacity, and dietary diversity. Volunteers will train farmers one on one, in groups, will coach/follow up on farmers trained, and will report on farmers applying best practices.
Business Advising Volunteers more specifically will work in training and coaching farmers, men, women, and youth in agriculture-based basic business skills. These are those contained in the following two areas:
Bookkeeping Skills: ledgers, financial registries, profit calculating, business costs, budgeting, comparison cost, receipts, savings practices, keeping funds separate practices and payment management, etc.
Marketing Skills: market planning, studying of markets, middle men negotiating, marketing of value-added products, identifying buyers, market analysis, quality control, customer service, determining demand based on external factors (season, etc.), contracts, legal compromises.
Volunteers will train organization members to assess their own organizational capacity. They will co-facilitate the creation of an action plan based on the assessment and will train and coach on the topics needed to increase the organizational capacity and will report the results. Organizational topics include:
Strategic Planning: including mission & vision statements, organizational goals and objectives and strategies to achieve them, identifying target populations, agents of change and beneficiaries, project planning, project evaluation, fundraising planning.
Organizational Structure: including bylaws, outlining governing structure, role and responsibility description, committee description and member responsibilities, obtaining legal status, types of organizations (cooperatives, etc.).
Organizational Communication: including communication channels, actions for key messaging, identifying communication audience, working with agencies, professional relations, professional letter writing.
Leadership: including leadership training, conflict resolution, public speaking skills, values identification, personal agency development, meeting management.
In addition, Business Advising Volunteers will be trained as agriculture extensionists, in order to conduct training/farmer field schools for community members on a variety of topics. Agriculture topics may include: soil and water conservation; composting, green manures, and soil improvement techniques; crop rotation and organic agriculture; appropriate use of agrochemicals; specific crop information; integrated pest management; seed selection and testing of new seed varieties; post-harvest management methods and preservation of harvested products; and value-added products and product quality, among others. Volunteers commonly support any number of the following crops with their farmers: rice, corn, beans, yucca (cassava), plantains, bananas, vegetables, coffee, and cacao.
Volunteers will train one-on-one or in groups key household decision-makers on a diverse diet that include nutrient-based food and how to cook recipes that incorporate a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods, and will report on increased knowledge and demonstration of preparation of new recipes.
The communities where Volunteers will be working often, but not always, have some support from local technicians from host country agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and the Volunteer might have the opportunity to collaborate with these partners."
Health coverage, Housing, Living allowance, Non-competitive eligibility (federal jobs), Stipend, Student loan forbearance, Training
Prohibits paid work outside of the sponsoring agency at any time
Subject to criminal background check