Stories From the Ground: International Volunteers Advance Ag Development
Event Date: Jan 28, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM (GMT -4)
Location: United States
Online: Online Event
In the busy world of international agricultural development, thousands of individuals are volunteering their time to provide technical assistance to farmers and agricultural businesses. Whether they're sharing decades of agricultural experience with a fellow farmer halfway around the world or starting fresh in the field and still building their resume, volunteers provide much needed knowledge and capacity. This #AskAg Twitter Chat featured returned volunteers and organizations that connect individuals to international agricultural volunteer opportunities. It brought together potential, existing, and returned volunteers who have spent time overseas working on agriculture and food security. The chat gave an opportunity to share stories, discuss what makes for a good volunteer, and learn more about the non-monetary benefits of giving your time.
Watch the video below to better understand what Agrilinks #AskAg Twitter chats are, and read the guiding questions that were addressed during the chat. Also, as part of our efforts to get everyone comfortable with using Twitter, Agrilinks produced 101/102 trainings that can be accessed by clicking here.
What are #AskAg Twitter chats?
- What do volunteers gain from their service?
- What type of traits/skills make for an effective volunteer?
- What does an AgDev Volunteer experience look like, and how does this differ from paid work?
- What sort of challenges do volunteers face, and what resources help them address these challenges?
The chat was organized around these four guiding questions. If you've got additional questions you'd like to ask our experts, tweet @Agrilinks using the #AskAg hashtag!
Twitter accounts to follow
ExpertsOrganizations & featured contributorsChris Robinson: @chrisarrrVolunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA): @VegaAllianceMolly Mattessich: @MollymaliACDI/VOCA: @ACDIVOCADiana Roach: @droachvocaTechnoServe: @TechnoServeEvan Schein: @VahsityMaterialReturned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington: @rpcvwEric Wallace: @farmertofarmerWilling Workers on Organic Farms: @WWOOFMarielle Walter: @MsMariW
How to participate
- If you are new to Twitter, visit Twitter.com to sign up for an account. (For more tips on getting started, check out our Twitter training.)
- Explore the guiding questions that will be discussed during the chat.
- Join us for discussion by using the hashtag #AskAg and following @Agrilinks.
- You can also follow on Twubs or through the livestream below.
Stories From the Ground: International Volunteers Advance Ag Development
Molly Mattessich is the Director of Communications at the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) and manages communications for USAID's Farmer-to-Farmer program. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali from 2002-04,... more and has funneled her overseas volunteering experience into positions in the nonprofit and private sectors. Molly launched the National Peace Corps Association's knowledge-sharing portal, Africa Rural Connect, to help rural farmers and Peace Corps Volunteers collaborate to implement agribusiness plans. She has presented at the World Food Prize and the Secretary of State's Global Diaspora Forum, and has appeared in various news outlets including Voice of America, the BBC, The Washington Post, US News & World Report, The Daily Nation, and Modern Ghana. She was profiled in the 2010 bestseller published by Forrester Research, "Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business." Molly graduated from Wellesley College and is pursuing a Masters degree in communication at Johns Hopkins University. less
Chris Robinson is an independent communications consultant who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Jamaica from 2007 to 2009. He guided a community organization through the planning, funding and implementation of various... more projects, including the construction of a water supply system and an apiculture program. During his second year, he teamed with extension agents from the Jamaican Ministry of Agriculture, traveling to isolated communities and helping farmers organize, using the community group as a model. Moving to Washington in 2010, Chris applied his volunteer experience working on Capitol Hill, where his ability to organize stakeholders helped forge productive relationships on policy initiatives. He serves on the board of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington DC and manages the communications network serving the ~5,000 Peace Corps alumni who live and work in the region. Its Twitter handle is @rpcvw less
Senior Director of ACDI/VOCA’s Volunteer Program for the past 8 years, Diana was first a Recruiter for the program for 12 years. As a Recruiter she placed an annual average of 200 volunteers on short term technical assistance... more assignments to ACDI/VOCA field projects in the developing world. As Senior Director Diana manages the volunteer recruitment team based at ACDI/VOCA’s Washington, DC headquarters, in addition to pursuing new business opportunities for the Volunteer Program with government and nongovernment funding sources. She is the Project Manager for the Mars Ambassador Program, which gives Mars, Inc. employees the opportunity to learn about raw product at origin by applying their technical expertise to producer challenges firsthand. Diana and her team implement the assignments, providing risk management, assignment development and associate preparation and briefing. Diana also leads ACDI/VOCA’s fundraising campaigns for the VOCA Fund that supports additional volunteer-related initiatives as well as ACDI/VOCA beneficiaries around the world. Prior to her 20 years with ACDI/VOCA Diana spent five years as Director of Marketing for the Ohio Poultry Association. During that time she developed and led statewide generic product promotion programs including media efforts that provided nutrition education, food handling and safety information for poultry products to the public, the Extension Service, and university curriculums. Her work at the Poultry Association was preceded by eight years with the Children’s Hospital WIC Program in Columbus, Ohio where sheconducted nutrition education with program recipients. She holds a B.A. degree in Foods and Nutrition from Ohio Wesleyan University. less
Eric Wallace has more than 17 years of experience managing international development and humanitarian advocacy programs. Prior to joining VEGA, Mr. Wallace was the Farmer-to-Farmer Program Manager at NCBA CLUSA, where he started... more up their Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer program in Niger, Senegal and Zambia. Prior to that, he was a Farmer-to-Farmer Program Officer at CNFA and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ukraine. He has designed and implemented more than 200 volunteer based technical assistance projects in a wide variety of agricultural and other disciplines. Mr. Wallace has a BA in Political Science from Reed College and an MPA from George Washington University. less
Marielle Walter joined TechnoServe in January 2012 and currently serves as the Program Manager of the Volunteer Consultant Program. Previously, Marielle worked in Panama, providing business development consulting to an... more entrepreneur focused on expanding the regional market for organic agricultural products. Prior to this she worked in research, communications and administration at the Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP). Marielle completed a master's degree in environmental policy in Richmond, Virginia. less