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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Ganar Presents at the United Nations

By: Asha Farrell, A Ganar Barbados Assistant Coordinator, and Guido Rivera, A Ganar Honduras Alumni and Facilitator

Guido and Asha at the United Nations
It’s not every day you receive an opportunity to speak at the United Nations, but last month, we were two of the lucky few. On Wednesday, April 15, we were invited to represent A Ganar at the United Nations’ “United Action towards Sustainable Development for All Through Sport” celebration in New York.

In front of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, and several diplomats and world class athletes, we shared our life-changing experiences through A Ganar and hopes for the future of sport-for-development. You can watch our presentation, which begins around the 2:30:45 mark, below.

Monday, May 18, 2015

ECPA Senior Fellow Dan Kammen presents at United Nations

Today, Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) Senior Fellow Dan Kammen had the honor of delivering the plenary talk for a panel, “Off-Grid Electrification: Evidence of Impact,” at the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All conference in New York.

Dr. Kammen's doctoral student Peter Alstone, spoke in a parallel session on off-grid energy for productive uses. Both talks drew on a major new summary of the field they published in Nature Climate Change titled "Decentralized energy systems for clean electricity access". The conference is part of an initiative of the same name, launched in 2011 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, which aims to mobilize cross-sectoral action on sustainable energy.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Celebrating 100,000 Strong at the VII Summit of the Americas

By: Matt Clausen, Vice President, Partnerships and Leadership Programs; Senior Director, 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund

Youth leaders, along with Melissa Golladay,
at the V Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago
Six years ago, I, along with Melissa Golladay, Partners' then Director of Youth Exchanges, had the honor of joining an amazing group of young leaders at the V Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. Our visionary, proactive, curious, fun and high performing delegation carried the Youth Forum declaration to the foreign ministers of the Americas, reaching out and meeting nearly all of their presidents and heads of state. Together, we had the pleasure of bringing together people, governments and businesses that believe in the potential of the Americas as a positive, growing, amazing neighborhood.

Just a few weeks ago, I returned from the VII Summit of the Americas in Panama, where I spent a week with Partners of the Americas, as well as partners from the White House, U.S. Department of State, NAFSA: Association of International Educators and many others. Our mission was to celebrate and increase support for President Obama's signature educational initiative in the Western Hemisphere: 100,000 Strong in the Americas.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mama Knows Best: Happy Mother's Day!

Yesterday we celebrated Mother's Day, a day to honor all the special mamas in our lives. At Partners, we treasure mothers, and strongly believe empowering and educating women - especially mothers - leads to healthier children, families and communities.

In Haiti, we're working hard to empower mothers through our Haiti Nutrition Security Program, which uses a network of influential Mother Leaders to educate other mothers and families in their community on mother and child nutrition. For Magalie Hubbert, becoming a Mother Leader allowed her to pursue something she loves - educating others. Simone Fertile is another Mother Leader whose nutrition advice has literally helped save lives in her community.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Taste of Freedom: How Chocolate is Improving Livelihoods & Combating Child Labor in Panama

Partners of the Americas’ Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer Rebecca Roebber traveled to Panama to support La Asociacion de Profesionales y Tecnicos Ngäbe - Buglé de Bocas de Toro (APROTENG). Rebecca spent her two weeks in Panama training a group of women on marketing and the production of cocoa by-products. The local women are participants of Partners of the Americas' EducaFuturo program, which focuses on reducing child labor in the region. In a joint effort to improve family livelihoods and reduce child labor, EducaFuturo and Farmer-to-Farmer are working together to build the local capacity of community members in Changuinola, Panama. Below Rebecca describes her experience and offers a glimpse of the local culture.

A peek at the inside of the cacao bean
Cacao is grown locally in the province of Bocas del Toro, Panama and has historically been sold to first world countries who produce the chocolate. This has made it very difficult for cacao farmers to make a living. Through the Farmer-to-Farmer program, I had the opportunity to work with a group of indigenous Ngäbe ("no-bay") women to create finished chocolate products as an additional way of generating income to support their families.

Traditionally, the Ngäbe people make and drink chocolate for its medicinal properties and to give them strength. Many of the local women have memories of their grandmothers roasting the cacao over a fire to make chocolate, but most had never learned how to make chocolate themselves.