2018: A Year of Transforming Lives
December 19, 2018
2018 was a milestone year for TechnoServe. Not only did we mark a half century of impact, but we built upon this legacy by working with thousands of farmers, entrepreneurs, and partners around the world to create opportunity and prosperity. Here are a few of our favorite stories from the year.
Celebrating 50 years of lasting change
Throughout the year and in locations around the globe, the TechnoServe community celebrated the 50th anniversary of the organization’s founding. A gala in New York City honored Paul Tierney, who retired after serving for 27 years as the chairman of TechnoServe’s board of directors; Mark Cutifani, CEO of Anglo American; Suzanne Nora Johnson, former vice chairman of the Goldman Sachs Group; and Muhtar Kent, chairman of The Coca-Cola Company.
Chairman Paul E. Tierney Jr. welcomed guests to TechnoServe's 50th Anniversary Gala at the Pierre Hotel. Paul was celebrated as the leadership honoree at the event.
Country offices from Honduras to South Africa, and from Kenya to Chile, held events to mark the organization’s anniversary. In Mozambique, TechnoServe celebrated 20 years operating in the country.
In February, the Global Advisory Council visited Ghana, the country where Ed Bullard was first inspired to found TechnoServe.
Rigorously measuring our impact
In 2018, TechnoServe built on our longstanding efforts to better understand the impact of our work and share that information transparently. The nonprofit organization ImpactMatters evaluated four TechnoServe programs and found that they generated up to $34 of benefits for participants for every dollar invested.
In June, TechnoServe and the Center for Global Development organized the event “From Evidence to Action: Measuring Impact to Improve Development Decisions” to explore how data can better inform international development initiatives.
A case study showing how a collaborative approach to monitoring-and-evaluation benefited Nicaraguan coffee farmers like Maritza Colindres won a competition organized by USAID.
After reviving her family's farm from the leaf rust epidemic, Maritza Colindres is committed to sharing knowledge about coffee agronomy with her children and her community. Photo courtesy of Douglas López Fotografía.
Harnessing technology to combat poverty
This year, TechnoServe explored a number of ways to help farmers and small business owners benefit from new technologies. The Business Women Connect project is helping female entrepreneurs like Judith Muhoja to improve their savings and profitability through mobile tools.
“Now that my phone is my bank, nobody can access my savings apart from me.” – Judith Muhoja
As part of the Innovation in Outcome Measurement project, TechnoServe tested new models to deliver yield- and profitability-enhancing drone services to smallholder farmers in Africa.
In Mozambique, TechnoServe is rolling out mobile technology to help connect cashew farmers to buyers and provide timely agronomy and weather information.
Empowering women farmers and business owners
In 2018, TechnoServe continued its work to empower women farmers and business owners--for example, more than two thirds of the participants in our entrepreneurship programs are women. In June, a unique event brought together voices from Silicon Valley and Kenya to compare the obstacles facing women entrepreneurs in both locations.
In India, the Women’s Advancement in Rural Development and Agriculture project is creating new economic opportunities for female farmers like Renu Devi.
Women in Bihar are earning a higher price for their potatoes by selling through producer groups established through TechnoServe's WARDA program.
And in Ethiopia, female agronomists are helping to change the gender dynamics in coffee-growing communities.
Building competitive small businesses
TechnoServe’s entrepreneurship programming continued to grow in 2018, reaching more small business owners, like Eloisa Espinoza Ocampo and Claudio Lara Rivera of Chile.
The Mom and Pop Shops program helped the owners of micro-retail outlets in Kenya and Nigeria to significantly grow their revenue, and the Pan-African Youth Entrepreneur Development program is reaching more of these entrepreneurs.
In September, entrepreneurs and staff members from TechnoServe programs in El Salvador, Tanzania, and Nigeria spoke at the Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit to highlight issues facing young entrepreneurs in the developing world. Violeta Martinez, a graduate of the CRECE program, addressed the conference’s plenary session.
Revitalizing coffee sectors around the world
TechnoServe helps coffee farmers in more than a dozen countries across Latin America and Africa to earn a better living.
2018 saw TechnoServe work to help revive the coffee sector in areas where they had nearly been extinguished. With partners like Nespresso, the Hispanic Federation, and the Miranda family, TechnoServe launched a project to help the Puerto Rican coffee sector recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Hamilton composer Lin-Manuel Miranda (center) joined coffee farmer Vanessa Arroyo (center right) and leaders from TechnoServe, Nespresso, Hispanic Federation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Starbucks Foundation to announce a new initiative in Puerto Rico on October 25, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Hispanic Federation)
In Zimbabwe, many farmers are harvesting coffee for the first time in years thanks to a partnership between TechnoServe and Nespresso.
TechnoServe also announced the launch of the MOCCA program, which will help coffee growers in six Latin American countries to improve the resiliency of their farms in the face of climate change and crop disease.
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In this series, we check back with TechnoServe program participants who were previously featured on our blog, documenting how their lives have changed and progressed.