Press Release: Volunteers Use Web to Collaborate With African Farmers
Washington, DC — March 28th, 2012 — Africa Rural Connect website brings together workers in the field, experts back home
Africa Rural Connect (ARC), a program by the National Peace Corps Association, the nation’s leading nonprofit supporting Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and the Peace Corps community, is getting a major boost from a new partnership with the nonprofit agricultural organization IFDC. Under the partnership, volunteers with NPCA and IFDC will share information about agricultural markets on ARC to help farmers find new business while moderating online discussions about new techniques in farming and other agricultural practices.
“Historically, information has traveled slowly in rural Africa, whether it’s about farming practices or just pricing at the local markets. The Internet has sped that up dramatically, allowing farmers to grow food more efficiently and compete more effectively,” said Molly Mattessich, manager of online initiatives for NPCA who manages the Africa Rural Connect website. “This new project will help them do both with the assistance of a corps of skilled volunteers on the ground.”
Volunteers will be drawn from the ranks of NPCA’s Encore Service Corps International, a group which often includes former Peace Corps Volunteers. Encore volunteers will use the ARC website to share tips on farming, post ideas and questions for the community and spread news about their offline activities in the field for at least one year during their service.
Funded with seed money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ARC is an online project launched by NPCA in 2009 to encourage the sharing of ideas to spur collaboration and develop new ways to help solve rural Africa’s greatest challenges. Powered by an innovative software program called Wegora, the site allows users to read and remix each other’s ideas at a press of a button.
“Volunteers with the project will be pretty far apart, geographically,” Mattessich said. “The ARC website will be a central meeting place where they can share information and engage with farmers and others around the world interested in improving agriculture in Africa.”
Add your thoughts by remixing any of the ideas posted on the Africa Rural Connect website.
About the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA)
Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) is the nation’s leading 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization connecting and championing Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and the Peace Corps community. It provides service and education opportunities that build on the Peace Corps experience, and is also the longest-standing advocate for an independent and robust Peace Corps. To learn more, visit: www.peacecorpsconnect.org
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