Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is a charity organization that works to provide developing countries with sustainable solutions to improve their lives. This international institution started in 1943 when the U.S. Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops met to offer aid for refugees in World War II. Since then, CRS has influenced the lives of many people.
Some of their work overseas includes improving nutrition, sanitation and education for communities that need it most. One of their most influential programs in the field of agriculture and sustainability is called “Farmer to Farmer” or F2F.
This program is in conjunction with USAID’s Feed the Future program. The primary goal of F2F is to educate families in developing countries about their farms to ensure a reliable food source.
According to the CRS Farmer to Farmer website, “Volunteer technical assistance from U.S. farmers, educators, agribusinesses, cooperatives, and universities helps developing countries improve productivity, access new markets, and conserve environmental and natural resources.”
Right now, CRS is working in four parts of eastern Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania. Each country has climate-specific and economy-specific goals which volunteers from CRS work to accomplish with the natives. Workers in Kenya, for example, have been focusing on livestock, horticulture and dairy.
Following the mission of its mother organization, Farmer to Farmer uses a comprehensive and holistic approach to assisting the families. This way, farmers in Africa will not only be able to understand what the volunteer educators are teaching them but also practice it in everyday life and be able to plan for the future.
The CRS agricultural learning program is also partnering with the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE). This organization “advocate[s] for agricultural education, provide[s] professional development for agricultural educators, and work[s] to recruit and retain agricultural educators in the profession.” This partnership provides CRS with qualified and passionate volunteers to send to countries in need.
Catholic Relief Services’ five-year F2F program has proven to be successful thus far. Hopefully, soon all parts of the world will be educated about their field and be able to provide a healthy lifestyle for their families.
– Sydney Missigman