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.
Apr 20, 2016

Great teachers create great students

Makpwe is a school officer in Nimule County
Makpwe is a school officer in Nimule County

An inspiring and informed teacher is the most important school-related factor influencing student achievement. Now, the primary-level teachers of South Sudan are proving, with the right support and training, they can educate and inspire the future generations of South Sudan’s children.  

With the support from USAID’s Room to Learn (RtL) Program, Winrock International – in partnership with FHI360 and Plan International – has trained Master Trainers to train teachers in the five components of reading instruction, plus English language acquisition. The training content also focuses on the use of educational materials supplied by RtL, plus skills training for the creation of teacher-made and learner-made materials. The content of the training, aimed at head teachers and teachers in primary schools, targets literacy, materials management and care, and psychosocial strategies aimed at positive classroom management. Head teachers and mentor teachers also receive training on mentorship to enable them to provide adequate support to teachers post-training. Developing systems that support teachers in sustained professional learning and refinement of teaching practice is perhaps the single most important way to promote student learning and educational opportunity.

Makpwe, a 29-year-old School Officer, and Guma, a head teacher, both attended the same training session in Nimule town, Eastern Equatoria State in December, 2015. After the training, Makpwe commented, “For me personally, I have l learnt a lot of new things, and as a teacher it is very important in my life because this is a training that I didn’t get before and I feel very happy for that because I think it will help me to educate the children that I teach in my school very well.”

Within the first phase of training, the RtL Program has trained a total of 330 teachers from 55 schools between November and December, 2015; 50 percent of whom have been women. RtL will aim to reach 1,472 educators in training by the end of September 2016. These early initiatives have provided a compass for how to build better trainings – affording teachers of South Sudan and, by extension, their future students every success.

We want to thank you for your continued support which enables us to expand our impact in each school community we enter in South Sudan!

Teachers and master trainers at training session.
Teachers and master trainers at training session.
Apr 8, 2016

Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Fund

Report to GlobalGiving (April 2016)

We have exciting news this quarter! Five of the 32 Christopher Dowswell scholars have completed their degree or diploma. Maryam from Nigeria, Yeshalem from Ethiopia, and Rokiatou from Mali have all earned BSc degrees. Balakissa and Awa, from Mali, have received Diplomas. We feel especially proud to have supported the scholars from Mali and Nigeria, given the security situations in those countries. Not a single scholar dropped out or faced delays during their study programs. One scholar told us she was very grateful for the chance to empower herself. “I have great gratitude and respect for Winrock International. This organization stands for educating women, so they can sustain themselves in the face of threats, and become independent. I have no other words for their help, except to say thank you.”

Feb 12, 2016

Art From The Heart

Ribbon cutting for Brush & Canvas, Sept. 2015
Ribbon cutting for Brush & Canvas, Sept. 2015

Brush & Canvas started from a dream and a prayer and grew into a new downtown business in South Arkansas, owned by Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) client Christina. After a series of challenging life events like recovering from a disappointing educational experience, divorce, and unfulfilling career, Christina decided to pursue her passion with a “go big or go home” attitude. Art was an extracurricular activity Christina’s whole life, as well as for her children. While raising her daughter, who now has an art degree, she would make road trips to buy art supplies or order them online. One day, Christina saw a window of opportunity. She realized the small but growing town of El Dorado needed an art supply store and a place for novices to come and be introduced to the world of art.  

Upon deciding to launch a new business and having no retail or business ownership experience, Christina reached out to the AWBC for assistance. Christina was looking for direction on how to get started, what the process is, how she should file as a business, and what the viability of a store like hers in El Dorado would be. The many homework assignments from AWBC business counselor John Riggins made Christina feel like she had entered college again. But she was grateful to learn how to project cash flow, analyze feasibility, and other helpful tools. Christina mentioned “I didn’t have support like us letting me know I could do it and was so appreciative of the positive reinforcement.”  Together, the AWBC and Christina developed a solid business plan, and that reassured her that the art supply store could be a successful retail operation. The business plan also helped secure  loan from a local bank, which was crucial for starting her business. Christina shared this February “I left the AWBC with realistic expectations about how things could turn out for me and my art store and that has really helped me in the beginning months of opening the store.”  

After Brush & Canvas opened its doors in September, 2015, John Riggins continued to counsel Christina, and assist the store with its events and marketing efforts. When asked about how much profit the events generated compared to retail, Christina said “Had I stuck with retail supplies alone, I would not have made it.” In the first six months, Brush & Canvas expanded their services to include art workshops with various mediums, private parties, groups painting classes, character building workshops, and other fun events. The biggest challenge now is finding cost effective marketing. With continued support from AWBC, we look forward to watching and helping Brush & Canvas grow into a successful operation!

 
   

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