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.
Volunteers will work with farmers to assess their current agriculture production practices, basic business skills, organizational capacity and dietary diversity. They will train farmers one on one, in groups, will coach/follow up on farmers trained, and will report on farmers applying best practices.
Volunteers will conduct training/farmer field schools for community members on a variety of topics. Agriculture topics may include: soil and water conservation, composting, green manures, soil improvement techniques, crop rotation and organic agriculture, adequate use of agrochemicals, specific crop information, integrated pest management, seed selection and, testing of new seed varieties, post-harvest management methods, preservation of harvested products, 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.
Agriculture-based basic business skills are those contained in the following areas:
Bookkeeping Skills (ledgers, financial registries, profit calculating, business costs, budgeting, comparison cost, receipts, savings practices, keeping funds separate practices and payment management)
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-facilitated the creation of an action plan based on the assessment, will train and coach on the topics needed to increase the organizational capacity, and will report the results. Organizational topics include: strategic planning, organizational structure, organizational communications, and leadership.
Volunteers will train one-on-one or in groups key household decision makers on 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