Winrock International

Winrock International is a nonprofit organization that works with people in the United States and around the world to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity and sustain natural resources. Winrock matches innovative approaches in agriculture, natural resources management, clean energy and leadership development with the unique needs of its partners. By linking local individuals and communities with new ideas and technology, Winrock is increasing long-term productivity, equity and responsible resource management to benefit the poor and disadvantaged of the world.
Jul 29, 2013

The Tijuca Forest - a Postcard for Reforestation

This past week Brazil was in the spotlight around the world with the visit of Pope Francis on his first international pilgrimage. Rio de Janeiro’s most famous postcard, the statue of Christ the Redeemer, with arms open wide embracing the beauty of nature and the city below, was a perfect backdrop for the papal trip.

The iconic art deco statue was more than religiously symbolic for the visit of the man who took his papal name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the environment: The statue sits atop Corcovado Mountain in the middle of the lush and vibrant Tijuca National Forest, the largest urban rainforest in the world.

The Tijuca Forest is not native. Over one hundred and fifty years ago - three centuries after Portuguese colonization - the forests surrounding Rio were cleared to make way for vast coffee plantations, impacting the city’s water supply and climate. At the order of the Emperor Dom Pedro II in 1845, the area of over 12 square miles was replanted as forest, and in 1961 was declared a National Park. Today, the Tijuca National Forest is home to spring-fed waterfalls, ponds, peaks and hundreds of species of flora and fauna found only in the Atlantic Forest and threatened with extinction.

While the destruction of the Atlantic Forest and of the Amazon is a legacy of the country’s colonization and economic growth, the exuberant recuperation of the Tijuca National Forest stands as a shining successful example of the result of placing a value on nature. And despite substantial progress in recent years in curbing Brazilian deforestation, industries including agriculture, logging and ranching remain responsible for deforestation and degradation of an annual area equivalent to over nine million soccer fields, of which only 3% is reforested annually across the country. 

Nike seeks to bring together a committed and visionary team of partners in the Mata o Peito Initiative to raise funding and awareness for the strength of join actions to protect and replant forests throughout Brazil. To date over $35,000 has been raised through the generous contributions of individuals and corporations via retirement of carbon credits to offset their carbon footprints. All funds will be pooled to seed the Mata no Peito Fund, which will provide investments in selected innovative forestry projects throughout Brazil that demonstrate scalability, economic sustainability, community engagement and enhanced livelihoods.

As eyes turn to Brazil as the host of the approaching 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic games, we hope to replicate Dom Pedro II’s legacy reforestation project throughout the country as an example to the world. We remain eager to confirm additional Mata no Peito coalition partners to help raise awareness of the importance of forests to address climate change, sustainable livelihoods and biodiversity.

Jun 3, 2013

Women advising Women Farmers

The first year of the Dowswell Scholarship Fund was one of fundraising and program preparation. Because of the support by the Dowswell family and numerous other donors, Winrock was able to raise more than USD 55,000 for scholarships for female agricultural extension agents. These scholarships will be advertized, awarded, and mentored in collaboration with the Sasakawa Fund for Extension Education Program (SAFE). One of the strategies of
SAFE is to ensure that agricultural faculties and colleges broaden their admission criteria to provide opportunities to female candidates with backgrounds in non-agricultural production fields, such as home economics, nutrition, food science and development studies. SAFE aims at addressing faculty gender imbalances in agricultural extension education. By targeting female candidate students the Dowswell Scholarship Fund will help improving the gender balance in rural advisory services.

During the next SAFE staff retreat in June, the specifics of scholarship such as distribution, selection, duration, and size, will be finalized in order to be able to make the first awards before the next academic year, i.e. September 2013. The scholarships will be awarded in the three countries, Ethiopia, Mali, and Nigeria. Collaborating institutions are Haramaya University, Hawassa University, Bahir Dar University, and Mekele University in Ethiopia; Rural Polytechnic Institute, and Samanko College in Mali; Ahmadu Bello University, Bayero University, Adamawa State University, and Ilorin University in Nigeria.

On behalf of Winrock, the Dowswell family and our partners in the SAFE program, we thank donors for their generous support.

Stay tuned for more updates!

May 14, 2013

From Art to Action - Moldovan Youth Speak Out

Diana Schiopu
Diana Schiopu's 1st place drawing for ADVANCE

Earlier this year, ADVANCE held a contest for young people in Moldova to submit drawings and videos depicting images promoting gender equality in interpersonal relationships and confronting the problem of domestic violence. The contest aimed to generate messages that will be used in the project’s activities to raise awareness about family violence in Moldovan communities. The winners were awarded small prizes to encourage their continued activism against domestic violence.

The winning video was submitted by Violeta Vasiliu and shows how those affected by family violence privately struggle with the problem and are often forced to hide it from their friends. The first place drawing winner, Diana Schiopu, is an 18 year old student from Causeni city, where she volunteers at a women’s center. Her drawing of a frightened child draws attention to the social effects suffered by children affected by family violence, and encourages viewers to end indifference. Olga Birlea, a 22 year old university student from Cahul, is an active volunteer with one of ADVANCE’s local NGO partners and a member of a national folk dance group. Her second prize drawing depicts a scene of inter-partner violence from a child’s perspective. All of the submissions demonstrated that many young people are actively engaged in speaking out against domestic violence and drawing attention to the support needed for those who suffer from it. Young people are key actors in changing attitudes about gender equality, and ADVANCE continues to engage them in a variety of program activities.      

On behalf of Winrock and our partners in the ADVANCE project, we thank donors for their generous support. To date we have raised over $1,100, thanks to individuals like you. Stay tuned for more updates!

Olga Birlea
Olga Birlea's 2nd place drawing for ADVANCE
This entry shows that not all violence is physical
This entry shows that not all violence is physical
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