Our Work

Expert Volunteer Technical Assistance

Throughout our history, IESC has set a global standard for leveraging volunteers’ technical expertise to catalyze private sector growth and employment. Our volunteers bring invaluable expertise to their global neighbors, sharing knowledge, building mutual trust, and creating economic opportunity. Today, IESC strategically draws upon volunteer experts on select programs—particularly our USAID Farmer-to-Farmer programs—where they strengthen capacity, support the program participants to achieve their goals, and make a lasting difference in the lives of those we serve.

“I believe that only by understanding others can we gain understanding for ourselves. I believe in a world where everyone shares information, so that collective knowledge increases.

I learn something new every day I volunteer.”

– Lynda Swenson, IESC Volunteer Expert and 2016 Volunteer of the Year (VEGA)

“All the work I have done in agriculture and agribusiness can now be used to help transform the lives of others.”

– IESC Volunteer Melody Meyer

Program Examples

Kenya, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka

Farmer-to-Farmer Access to Finance (F2F A2F)

Funder: USAID

Program Overview: F2F, a volunteer-driven program, expands agricultural sector access to financial services, and increases agricultural sector productivity and profitability, thereby raising incomes and creating jobs. The core countries for the F2F Access to Finance Program are Kenya, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka.

Relation to IESC Expertise: The IESC implemented F2F Access to Finance Program exclusively utilizes volunteer technical assistance to strengthen the bankability of agricultural borrowers and the operational capacity of financial institutions to expand agricultural lending. During this program, IESC fielded 180 distinct volunteer assignments, delivering training to over 7,000 individuals, including nearly 4,000 women and youth. The volunteer technical assistance facilitated by IESC resulted in 150 new financial products and services developed, nearly 106,000 agricultural loans disbursed valued at $69.3 million, and over $11 million in sales.

Sri Lanka

Market-Oriented Dairy (MOD)

Funder: USDA Food for Progress

Program Overview: MOD supports farmers and other dairy enterprises to meet the demands of the local dairy sector in a commercially sustainable way. The program implements activities to increase the production levels and sales value of milk produced by participating farmers; improves the availability of and access to quality inputs for dairy farming; and improves dairy product safety through adherence to proper feeding regimens, management practices, and technology.

Relation to IESC Expertise: Through MOD, IESC utilizes various forms of technical assistance for dairy sector stakeholders, including local partners, program staff, international consultants, as well as volunteers. IESC has drawn upon its extensive volunteer database to field several highly specialized international volunteers for the delivery of targeted training and capacity building to farmers and dairy enterprises in Sri Lanka. Technical areas of volunteer expertise utilized on MOD included extension systems, hoof trimming, and biodigestion system development. Based on the value of the labor provided by volunteers, IESC leveraged over $200,000 of additional resources to expand MOD’s impact.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Workforce and Higher Access to Markets (WHAM)

Funder: USAID

Program Overview: WHAM assisted high-growth, exporting, and export-ready small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in specific sectors through grants and volunteer technical assistance that improved the workforce; helped companies to identify and access new customers and markets; and helped companies introduce quality management systems, technology upgrades, and/or necessary certifications in demand by target markets, especially the EU. WHAM also supported the establishment of centers of excellence in the targeted sectors.

Relation to IESC Expertise: Under WHAM, IESC utilized specialized volunteer technical assistance to stimulate job creation by advancing BiH’s trade integration with the EU. The volunteer assistance enhanced the impact of WHAM’s grants program and ensured sustainable capacity growth in grantee SMEs. For instance, highly skilled volunteer experts worked in the wood sector, where they strengthened SMEs’ capacity and prepared them for the International Furniture and Interiors (IMM) Fair held annually in Cologne, Germany. In the automotive/metal sector, volunteers promoted and provided profitable long-term contracts for SMEs linking them to EU markets.

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