Despite ongoing challenges, 2022 was full of exciting new solutions and inspiring stories from people fighting poverty around the world. Here are some of the highlights from TechnoServe’s work this past year.
February: TechnoServe Launches Major Cashew Project in West Africa
In February, TechnoServe officially launched its Prosper Cashew project, a five-year, $25 million partnership with USDA that will help Ghana, Nigeria, and Côte d’Ivoire to boost their economies through local cashew processing. With a long-term goal of helping West Africa process half of its raw cashews locally before export, the project aims to create more than 4,500 new jobs (at least 50% of them for women), mobilize $61 million in cashew sector investments, and help processors to sell over $200 million worth of cashew products to national, regional and international markets.
“Almost half of the world’s raw cashew nuts are grown in West Africa, but less than 10% of those cashews are processed within the region, and that’s unacceptable,” said TechnoServe West Africa Regional Director Larry Umunna, in a news interview at the time.
April: TechnoServe and WWF Announce Partnership
In April, TechnoServe and WWF announced a global partnership to increase prosperity and safeguard biodiversity. As the twin crises of climate change and nature loss threaten the livelihoods of millions of people in low-income countries, the partnership is delivering business models that help strengthen community resilience and increase incomes while protecting biodiversity and responding to climate change.
“By combining TechnoServe’s mission to reduce poverty through business and WWF’s mission to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature, this partnership can really enable communities to improve incomes sustainably,” said WWF Markets Practice Global Leader Cristianne Close in a conversation with TechnoServe earlier this year.
“We’re running out of time, and we can’t do it alone,” added TechnoServe Chief Program Officer Katarina Kahlmann. “We need partnerships that are action-oriented, and we need them now.”
May: TechnoServe Named Top Career Destination
TechnoServe earned the ninth spot on The Escape 100 list, an annual ranking of organizations compiled by Escape the City, a global community dedicated to helping people “find work that matters to them and the world.” TechnoServe was the highest-scoring organization in the “Mission” category.
This year, The Escape 100 received more than 13,000 nominations. In order to rank companies and organizations as destinations for rewarding and fulfilling careers, the list evaluates employers along six criteria: impact, planet, mission, people, innovation, and B-corp certification. The scores are determined in part by verified, anonymous reviews from employees around the globe.
June: TechnoServe Farmers Find Fertilizer Alternatives Amid Price Crisis
Farming typically requires some kind of fertilization in order to support crop yields and quality. However, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia caused fertilizer prices to skyrocket around the world. In Peru, farmers working with TechnoServe developed an organic alternative that still improved crop yields.
In the face of these supply disruptions, as well as growing recognition of the environmental costs of synthetic fertilizer overuse, farmers in this community are now learning to adopt alternatives not just in the face of crisis, but in the longer term as well.
June: Ethiopia Releases National Coffee Strategy with TechnoServe Input
Coffee already represents a vital part of Ethiopia’s economy, generating up to 30% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings and supporting the livelihoods of more than a quarter of the population. However, the sector has significant potential to grow: Ethiopia is uniquely positioned to take advantage of increasing demand for high-quality, sustainable coffee, as the majority of its production is already organic.
In June, the Ethiopian Coffee & Tea Authority (ECTA) released a new, comprehensive strategy for the country’s coffee sector that was developed in collaboration with TechnoServe and the Ethiopian Institute of Agriculture Research (EIAR). The report identifies opportunities across the coffee value chain to substantially increase the country’s exports of high-quality, climate-friendly coffee, thereby improving incomes for farmers and creating jobs for millions of workers.
August: TechnoServe Releases New Strategic Plan
To meet evolving challenges in the fight against poverty, TechnoServe developed a new strategic plan to dramatically scale the organization’s impact within the next five years.
Building on TechnoServe’s 50-plus years of experience in market-based solutions to poverty, the organization will scale its work in the areas of:
- Fighting Climate Change and Nature Loss
- Creating Jobs
- Building More Nutritious, Inclusive, and Sustainable Food Systems
“In the last few years, the urgency of the challenges facing the world’s low-income people has become all too clear,” said William Warshauer, president and CEO of TechnoServe.
September: Puerto Rico Coffee Farmers Approach Key Milestone as New Hurricane Hits
Coffee has been part of Puerto Rico’s rich culture and heritage for generations, but in 2017, hurricanes Irma and María destroyed nearly 80% of the island’s coffee production. After years of working with the island’s farmers to restore their farms and livelihoods, Nespresso and TechnoServe announced this September that Puerto Rican farmers were expected to produce pre-hurricane coffee levels for the first time in five years.
While that progress was disrupted when Hurricane Fiona hit the island later that month, Puerto Rico’s coffee farmers continue to show strength and resilience as they rebuild once again.
September: TechnoServe Launches Regenerate 30 Initiative
At the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York City, TechnoServe unveiled its Regenerate 30 commitment, a set of ambitious targets for supporting people, climate, and nature through 2030. By that year, TechnoServe aims to:
- Benefit 30 million people in local communities
- Increase its clients’ farm and business incomes by 30%
- Cut 30 million tons of GHG emissions
- Put 30 million acres of land under sustainable management
- Mobilize $300 million in private-sector investment
“I thank TechnoServe for this exciting new commitment to empower farmers and entrepreneurs to build better futures for themselves, their communities, and our shared planet,” said former President Bill Clinton in a video statement.
The commitment builds on TechnoServe’s more than 50 years of experience working with smallholder farmers, small business owners, and community members across Africa, Latin America, and South Asia.
October: TechnoServe and USAID Launch New Food Fortification program
Diets lacking essential nutrients present a serious global health problem for the most economically and nutritionally vulnerable population groups, especially women and children. However, the fortification of staple foods and condiments is a proven low-cost, high-impact intervention that addresses this “hidden hunger” and helps fight malnutrition on a large scale. While more than 140 countries currently mandate the fortification of one or more food vehicles, compliance with fortification standards has remained very low in a number of low- and middle-income countries.
In October 2022, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator, Samantha Power, announced the launch of the USAID Advancing Food Fortification Opportunities to Reinforce Diets (USAID AFFORD) project. TechnoServe will implement the $75 million global program, part of the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative. The project will take a holistic approach to promoting large-scale food fortification that puts businesses at the core of the solution while strategically engaging with the public, private, and civil society sectors. In addition to TechnoServe, program partners include Nutrition International, the Food Fortification Initiative, and ISF Advisors.
November: TechnoServe Leaders Attend COP27
As world climate representatives converged on Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt, for the U.N.’s COP27 summit, TechnoServe leaders engaged in numerous events and planning sessions to help further the fight against climate change. CEO Will Warshauer, Chief Program Officer Katarina Kahlmann, and Global Regenerative Business Director Floor Overbeeke represented the organization during the summit, as TechnoServe experts took the stage at four COP27 events to share our insights and learn from other participants.
In addition, TechnoServe’s Regenerate 30 commitment was selected for inclusion in the United Nations Climate Champions’ Compendium of Climate-Related Initiatives, a recognition of its significant potential for impact.
“We’re humbled that the Climate Change High-Level Champions have selected TechnoServe’s Regenerate 30 initiative for inclusion on the Compendium of Climate-Related Initiatives,” said Katarina Kahlmann. “True success for a meeting like COP27 is turning words into action, and we are showing through our work on Regenerate 30 that there are existing, nature-based solutions that can be scaled up today to help boost climate resilience and combat emissions. We invite partners to join us in this effort.”