Latest IESC News

Spice Market 

22-May-2015 Categories: Our Impact Sri Lanka Volunteer Stories

Sri Lanka produces some of the highest regarded cinnamon in the world, and it is estimated that the Sri Lankan cinnamon industry has the potential to reap economic benefits for more than 1.5 million people in a country of 20 million. But after years of civil war, Sri Lanka’s economy and the opportunities for the cinnamon industry to leverage its economic potential were stifled. The Facilitating Economic Growth Program (2009-2014) emerged in this context, launching only months after the civil war ended.

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Facilitating Economic Growth in Sri Lanka 

21-May-2015 Categories: Our Impact Sri Lanka

After years of civil war, Sri Lanka’s economy was struggling. The Facilitating Economic Growth Program (2009-2014) launched very soon after the war to revitalize Sri Lanka’s post-conflict economy through rapid, targeted technical assistance to businesses, industries, and business-related government agencies. IESC fielded a mix of consultants and volunteer experts on short-term assignments to the country. The program was funded by USAID through the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA).

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Better Data, Bigger Impact 

14-May-2015 Categories: Cambodia Our Impact

In the digital era, the old saying “knowledge is power” might better be rendered as “information is power.” But as local NGOs in Cambodia are learning, even that is only partly correct. Accurate information is a first step to driving change. Data collection and data analysis, through effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E), are vital management tools for assessing organizational effectiveness and improving decision-making. For Cambodian NGOs, greater effectiveness and better decision-making lead to smart development interventions that yield greater impact.

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Yemen’s Liquid Gold 

07-May-2015 Categories: Our Impact Yemen

In Yemen’s Al-Haimah district, near the city of Sana’a, 40 beekeepers have struck gold. In March 2015, these 40 beekeepers of the Al-Ruqy Coffee and Honey Producers Association sold 187 pounds of honey, worth $2,125 U.S. dollars, to the Yemen Eyes for Agriculture Advisory and Exporting Company, or YEAS. The price they got per kilo, $25, is a 67 percent increase over what the beekeepers earned from their previous harvest.

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In Kazakhstan, Business Partnerships with U.S. Firms Prove Profitable 

31-Mar-2015 Categories: Kazakhstan
This story was originally published in the March/April 2015 edition of USAID’s Frontlines Magazine. Kazakhstani food processing entrepreneurs visited Kansas State University to... read more
 

Lebanon Establishes First Microfinance Association 

17-Mar-2015 Categories: Lebanon Press Releases

BEIRUT, LEBANON – On January 12, Lebanon’s Ministry of Interior and Municipalities officially approved the creation of the nation’s first microfinance association. The new association is made up of eight microfinance institutions that will work to strengthen the microfinance sector and increase access to finance for micro and small business owners throughout Lebanon.

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Global Volunteerism and Redefining Aging for the 21st Century 

IESC President Tom Miller has a new essay in the AARP Journal
16-Mar-2015 Categories: China Volunteer Stories

By 2030, China will have the world's largest aged society. By 2050 that population will be larger than the entire current population of the United States. At the same time, America's seniors are more active than ever. They have energy, expertise, and a desire to engage globally.

In the latest issue of The Journal, a publication of AARP International, IESC's president Tom Miller has written an essay titled, "West Meets East," about the partnership between IESC and AARP for a volunteer program in China and redefining aging for the 21st century.

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A Gym of One’s Own 

A Gym of One's Own: Fitness Clubs help Afghan Women Stay Healthy and Safe
10-Mar-2015 Categories: Afghanistan Our Impact

Sports and fitness buff Masuma Hossaini is determined to educate fellow Afghan women and girls on the health benefits of staying fit through exercising and to provide a safe environment where they can work out. “Taking care of one’s health is not a luxury; it is a necessity,” says Hossaini, owner of Alzahra Fitness Sports Club. “There are very few fitness centers for women in Kabul. Opening another branch will give more women access to fitness facilities.”

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Donkey Carts and Nervous Banks: Agriculture Lending in Egypt 

Volunteer expert Michael Braden recounts his experience in Egypt with Farmer to Farmer Program
27-Feb-2015 Categories: Egypt Volunteer Stories

Seeing the donkey-drawn carts heaped with hand-harvested corn gave me a taste of the challenges facing Egypt’s agriculture finance sector. Driving past fields in Sohag, Egypt, I contrasted the back breaking field labor these villagers exert to eke out a living on three feddan (3.12 acres), against the efficiencies of behemoth corn choppers I see American farm clients use, machines that harvest the same area in about a minute.

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Tunisia’s Organic Producers Get Exposure to the U.S. Market 

With quality on their side—and a little help from IESC—Tunisia organics are poised for growth
26-Feb-2015 Categories: Our Impact Tunisia
Tunisia is home to approximately 750 acres of organic farm land—the second largest acreage in Africa—where more than 2,300 farmers use certified organic production methods that help preserve biodiversity, support the soil,... read more
 
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