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Friday, September 19, 2014

A Look Back in History: 50 Years Ago


The Story behind Partners

In 1963, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) was charged with a special mission. USAID was asked by President Kennedy to find a way for private citizens to take part in the Alliance for Progress. "There was a need for a people-to-people program to complement the government-to-government program," explains Wade Fleetwood, a USAID employee at the time. That year, the agency's staff discovered two unusual programs. One was an informal relationship of mutual assistance that had developed between Florida and Colombia. The other was a group of citizens in Texas and Peru who had joined forces to rehabilitate a slum area outside of Lima. From these early models evolved an idea that was to become the cornerstone of the Partners' program.

The idea was to build unique, bilateral partnerships between sections of the United States and sections of Latin America and the Caribbean. Through these partnerships, volunteer committees on both sides would work together on self-help projects in community and economic development, while fostering inter-American friendship and understanding.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Former Legislative Fellow from Haiti Shares Experience with Civil Innovation Lab

By: Doudly Elius, 2013 Legislative Fellow, Haiti

After having returned from my fellowship at the New Jersey Small Business Development Center (NJSBDC) last year, I was put in contact with the Civil Innovation Lab (CIL), an international organization based in the Dominican Republic. Once this invitation was handed to me, I immediately thought that as a professional, this would be a great experience for me to learn about international projects and to share my recent experience as a Legislative Fellow and my community project funded by Partners, which I implemented right after my fellowship.

Fellow Doudly Elius and
Project Coordinator of Civil Innovation Lab
Caitlin Stilin-Rooney
This being my first invitation from an international organization, I was honored and excited to start my travel to my neighboring country of the Dominican Republic. I took a bus from Port-au-Prince, Haiti towards Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where I learned the Spanish word for bus station, “parada.” Once I arrived I was met by Caitlin Stilin-Rooney, the Project Coordinator for the Civil Innovation Lab. She received me with such enthusiasm by hugging me for what felt like forever and with a force that I almost choked. When she saw that I was wearing a t-shirt from my community project with the logo of Partners of the Americas and the U.S. State Department, she whipped out her phone and began taking a frenzy of pictures of us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Announcing Newest Round of 100,000 Strong in the Americas: Promoting Study Abroad in Health and Nutrition




We’re excited to announce the newest round of 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Grant funding, supported by the Coca-Cola Foundation!

Read the new competition information here
Issuance Date: September 15, 2014
Closes October 31, 2014 at 5:00 EST 

 This Competition seeks proposals geared at Promoting Study Abroad in Health and Nutrition with a focus on programs that positively address challenges of obesity and that emphasize the importance of physical activity. Higher educational institutions in the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela that promote study abroad or exchange programs in these fields are eligible to compete. 

 And don’t forget to join The Innovation Network! 
You’ll get all the information on new opportunities and developments: 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Legislative Fellow from Dominican Republic Reflects on Month in Indiana Governor's Office

By: Ana M. Cabrera Vidal, Legislative Fellow, Dominican Republic

The first thing that I did after Partners of America told me my fellowship would take place in Indiana was google "Indiana", just for the sake of knowing where was it located on a United States map. Nevertheless, without a doubt I said, “YES, I want to go to Indiana.”

My host organization was at the Office of the Governor, Michael Pence. Being at the Governor’s office was an opportunity to really know Indiana as a state, know its people, and understand how it thrives. Along with his staff, I had the opportunity to accompany him in his various engagements around Indiana.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer Offers Solutions for Recycling in Banana Industry in Dominican Republic

Submitted by: Courtney Dunham, Senior Program Officer, Agriculture and Food Security

Partners’ Farmer-to-Farmer program supports organic banana producers in addressing one of their biggest challenges: the disposal of the plastic bags used to protect the bananas from disease and pests during the growing process. Melissa Kono, a plastic recycling and processing specialist, recently traveled to the Dominican Republic to address this problem. Below are excerpts from her trip report:

Plastic protects bananas from disease and pests as they develop
Assignment Overview and Observations:
The Dominican Republic is the main exporter of organic bananas in the world. This emphasis on organic and fair trade bananas has encouraged the industry to strengthen environmentally conscience production methods and further address recycling efforts in banana production.

I volunteered with USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program from June 29 through July 12, 2014 in the banana producing region of the Dominican Republic to analyze the use of plastics in the banana industry and address ways to recycle the plastic after its use. The Farmer-to-Farmer field staff and I met with the three major banana producers in the region as well as environmental agencies and recyclers. We toured several farms, plastics collection facilities, landfills, and recycling facilities.