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.
Jan 2, 2014

Purple Turtle Gallery: A Testimonial

Purple Turtle Gallery, Pocahontas, Arkansas
Purple Turtle Gallery, Pocahontas, Arkansas

About 13 years ago, I went to Key West for the first time. While we were there, I went into a photography gallery that really impressed me. It was very casual and informal; not formal and stuffy. I remember how much I really enjoyed looking at the photographs displayed. I remember thinking, THIS is what I want someday…. a casual gallery, where I can display my photographs, art prints, and custom frame other people’s art and photography. Someday… I would open my own gallery.

Two years ago, I got caught in a layoff and decided…this could be the kick in the pants to get me started on my someday dream!  I took a framing class in Texas and bought some equipment and started custom framing in the spare room bedroom of my house. 

There were two problems with that…..

#1- It NEVER stayed in the spare room.
#2- I had no visibility. 

I was ready to take my business to the next level but didn’t know where to go from there. In the fall of 2012, I took the Operation JumpStart class that Black River Technical College and the Arkansas Women’s Business Center was offering. It was a very intense 6 week (2 nights a week) evening class. The class was very informative and helpful. The homework was thorough and forced you to stretch outside your comfort zone. It showed us exactly what we needed to do to open our own business or take an existing business to the next level. We had guest speakers which included bankers, accountants, attorneys, and marketing experts… all of which gave us information we needed. 

I was going through all the homework, exercises and research, and my husband suggested that I rent a place with visibility and operate by appointment. The Purple Turtle has been open for nearly a year. We are open by appointment, and for Stroll the Square and festivals. I’m also usually open a couple nights a week and Saturday mornings.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity that I had through the JumpStart program. I believe that had I not had this experience along with the “exercises” to learn and work through; I don’t think I’d be open today. If you read the newspaper or watch television at all, opening a new business right now is a very scary thing. You can’t help but wonder if you are a making a good decision. Through taking the course, you are not guaranteed to succeed, but you ARE putting yourself in the position to make an educated decision.

Dec 2, 2013

Women Advising Women Farmers

Women Advising Women Farmers (November 30, 2013)
By Henk Knipscheer - Senior Associate

Since the last update, the Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Fund has made significant progress. During September, five women have received notification of their scholarships awards: three in Mali, one in Ethiopia and one in
Nigeria. The awardees are Mrs. Ayele (Ethiopia), Mrs. Sy (Mali), Mrs. Koné (Mali), Mrs. Traore (Mali) and Mrs.  Bukar (Nigeria). We congratulate the successful candidates.

In early October, during the recent World Prize award ceremony in Des Moines, Iowa, two significant gifts to the Christopher Dowswell Fund were announced: USD $50,000 from Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) and an additional USD $20,000 from Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE). Both organizations are sponsored by the Nippon Foundation. These and other gifts have allowed us to set new and higher fund-raising targets for 2014, with the ultimate goal of reaching more women farmers.

On behalf of Winrock International and the Dowswell family, we thank all donors for their generous support.



Nov 4, 2013

Youth Contribute to Efforts to Address Violence

In September, ADVANCE organized a national forum for volunteers, “Promoting and Sustaining Volunteer Activities in Domestic Violence Alleviation.” Forty youth volunteers, who work regularly with the project’s local NGO partners, took part in the forum, which was attended by government agencies, international and national organizations, and media. The volunteers presented their unique perspectives, experiences and recommendations for further engagement of young people in the movement against family violence in Moldova. The event was the first opportunity for volunteers from the project’s two target regions to meet in person and have an exchange, and it was also the first time stakeholders on the national level had a chance to hear the perspectives of youth, and have a joint discussion on the subject. Both sides reported to have gained much from the discussion, which hopefully will continue in the future. Through the event, ADVANCE encouraged decision makers to solicit young people’s inputs as they continue to strengthen the anti-violence network in Moldova.

To date, ADVANCE has provided services to more than 180 survivors of domestic violence and women at risk, and reached more than 600 people in rural villages through Mobile Technical Units. The project has also reached 1,086 young people through peer-to-peer sessions addressing gender roles and stereotypes, as well as providing tools for violence mitigation and prevention. 120 of these young people have gone on to conduct their own follow-on activities in their respective communities. 

On behalf of Winrock and our partners in the ADVANCE project, we thank donors for their generous support. To date we have raised over $1,200, thanks to individuals like you. Stay tuned for more updates!

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