NCBA CLUSA Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer Charlene Nash wins Volunteer of the Year Award

F2F CharleneNash 500F2F CharleneNash 500[Charlene Nash, second from right, with the NCBA CLUSA Farmer-to-Farmer program support team that nominated her.]On International Volunteer Day, December 5, in Washington, D.C., a broad spectrum of volunteers, congressional champions, government officials, nonprofit organizations and major corporations gathered to celebrate the contributions of volunteers to effective global development.

At the International Volunteer Day Forum and Awards Celebration, thought leaders and doers celebrated the vital role of American volunteers, discussed the special value of volunteers in multi-stakeholder efforts to meet this century’s global development and security challenges and called for prioritizing effective volunteer programs and policies in the 115th Congress and incoming Trump Administration.

The heart of the day was an awards ceremony for volunteers with powerful stories of their impact around the globe and here at home. Awards were given for the exceptional service of seven volunteers, including NCBA CLUSA’s nominee Charlene Nash, who served over 48 volunteer days in three separate Farmer-to-Farmer assignments in Senegal and Zambia this year.

In Zambia, Nash supported the Chipata District Farmers Association and Community Oriented Development Program members to improve seed production. She also worked with a group of farmers on marketing strategies for selling peanuts seeds to local farmers, helping them them design their logo and donating money to print the first 1,000 labels.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), gave the keynote speech on the value of volunteers and prioritizing volunteer service in U.S. foreign assistance.

Justin Finnegan, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator of USAID's Bureau for Food Security, offered remarks about the successful USAID funded John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program and then presented the award to Charlene Nash of Tennessee, who was also invited to join Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), on December 6 at the Tennessee Tuesday Breakfast co-hosted by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

“Charlene is incredibly passionate about improving people’s lives and maintaining and improving the earth’s resources,” said NCBA CLUSA Program Manger Megan Wall, who introduced Nash.

Wall recounted her day with Nash in Senegal, during which they stopped on the side of the road to pick up animal bones. Everything is a resource, said Nash, who was training a women’s group to crush up bones to add calcium to the compost they were learning to build. 

“We need to change the term sustainable to regenerative,” Nash said in her acceptance speech. “Until the soil is regenerated and healthy, there is nothing to sustain.” 

Nash’s dedication to the Farmer-to-Farmer program goes beyond her volunteer work on the ground. In 2012, she started a non-profit, Soil Resources Initiative to raise funds to purchase inputs and training supplies for her to take on farmer-to-farmer assignments. Over the past four years she has raised over $15,000 for seeds and other inputs. 

This week's awards ceremony fell on World Soil Day, observed annually since 2014 to raise awareness of sustainable land resource management and celebrate the contributions of people like Nash.

The event and awards ceremony were hosted and sponsored by Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) and co-sponsored by five other broad-based non-partisan organizations representing hundreds of thousands of volunteers—the Building Bridges Coalition (BBC), Service Year Alliance, IMPACT 2030, the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE) and Partners of the Americas.

NCBA CLUSA runs the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer programs through VEGA’s Special Program Support Project and under ACDI/VOCA. Interested in volunteering? Check out our open positions here.


Thu Apr 19 21:43:03 +0000 2018

Congrats to these women! This is real job creation: U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Getting excited for #CoffeeExpo2018 - be sure to check us out at Booth 538 April 20-22 in Seattle! @SpecialtyCoffee
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