Friday, May 9, 2014

Call for Volunteers: Dominican Republic

Unripe bananas in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is one of the only countries in the Caribbean where bananas continue to be a major export. Banana production is of particular importance in Yaque del Norte, an area vital in the country's food production. However, unpredictable weather patterns such as more frequent droughts, floods, and extreme weather have caused concern over the reduced quantity of available water. Poor agricultural practices including land-clearing, over-fertilization, and poor waste management also threaten the quality of water in the Yaque del Norte watershed, which is also the main source of potable water for several communities.

Yaque del Norte river in northwest Dominican Republic
Partners of the Americas’ Farmer-to-Farmer program in the DR seeks to protect the Yaque del Norte watershed through effective soil, water, and natural resource management. F2F volunteers will also work with farmers to introduce risk-reducing measures to mitigate their vulnerability to the impacts of global climate change. Within the banana sector, F2F has identified three banana associations (Banamiel, Banelino, and the Association of Small Producers in Santa Cruz) interested in improving their wastewater treatment, irrigation technology, and water use efficiency. Together, these three associations represent more than 700 small and medium-sized banana producers in the Yaque del Norte region.

Partners is currently recruiting volunteers to fill the following assignments in the DR:
  1. Climate change expert: **Spanish proficiency required.** To conduct workshops with all F2F host organizations about climate change adaption on the farm, household, and community levels. Presentations will cover questions like: 1) What is climate change, what factors influence climate change, and what is its impact on agriculture and forestry in the DR? 2) What are the impacts of climate change on water availability? 3) What can farmers do to best adapt to climate change on their farm and at the household and community level? 4) What are the current climate change trends in the DR and how can farmers, businesses, and families better prepare for extreme weather?
  2. Wastewater management specialist: To train banana farmers and agribusinesses on how to measure the quality of water (i.e., BOD, COD, E. coli testing, etc.) and assess the effect their packaging practices have on water sources in the region.
  3. Banana industry strategic planning expert: To conduct a value chain analysis and needs assessment of the banana industry. This will inform the development of strategic business plans and technical assistance needs that future F2F volunteers can fulfill over the next five years.

Partners will also be looking for volunteers with experience in increasing institutional capacity to adapt to the effects of GCC, and expertise in sustainable and climate-smart agricultural technologies to help local farmers improve agricultural productivity and resilience to climate change. So, send your resume to Courtney Dunham at cdunham@partners.net!


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