Updates from the Groundswell Board
The following post is written by our Community Outreach Coordinator, Cristina Hall.
This past Saturday I attended my first Groundswell International Board meeting since I joined the team in September of 2012. While I was intellectually aware of how international our Board is, I was really struck with this fact as the members called in from the United States, the Netherlands, Burkina Faso, and Kenya.
Some pretty cool highlights from the meeting:
Groundswell exceeded its goals last year. We raised over $1.1 million in 2012, which enabled us to increase our support to our partners and reach more rural communities around the world. We are growing well for an organization that is only 3.5 years old.
Steve Brescia, Executive Director, shared some highlights from our work around the world:
- Peter Gubbels, West Africa Regional Facilitator, recently attended the EU Alliance 2015 meeting in Dublin in March 2013 to make recommendations on the development of the EU’s resilience strategy for the Sahel. Groundswell reports produced by Peter have also been influential in shaping the USAID’s new resiliency strategy for the Sahel. We are proud to contribute to the positive shift in USAID’s strategy for populations facing chronic food crisis in the Sahel, including increased support for farmer-managed natural regeneration of trees (FMRN) and other agroecological practices.
- In El Salvador in 2012, Groundswell supported the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) in El Salvador, designing and facilitating a multi-stakeholder planning process to scale sustainable farming practices to reduce vulnerability in three pilot sites. MARN plans to implement some priority recommendations with funding from USAID and others.
- PDL, our partner in Haiti, continues to consolidate its work and has completed a five year strategic plan. Groundswell has supported that process, and worked closely with PDL to identify funding to implement the plan. The strategic plan will consolidate 12 peasant organizations, organized in two regional networks, and strengthen their capacity to move to the next level of economic development by processing and marketing agricultural products to local urban and rural communities (strengthening local food systems).
- Chris Sacco, Director of Operations, recently visited Honduras in February 2013 to work on developing a strategy with our partner Vecinos Honduras to host agroecology and food sovereignty training and learning workshop for students and visitors from the US, in order to provide educational opportunities, support movement building and generate income.
- Jackie Chenier, Latin America Regional Facilitator, is working with partners and allies in Guatemala and Honduras to pilot sustainable local food systems campaigns.
- EkoRural, our partner in Ecuador, continues to be engaged in national food sovereignty networks seeking to spread effective practice and shape policies, with a particular focus recently on resisting government efforts to change laws to allow the import and promotion of GMO seeds. We also recently received a grant from the Mary Tidlund Foundation to spread and strengthen local seed systems and local food systems.
- In January, Groundswell launched a two-year program to spread agro-ecological farming and reinforce movements for food sovereignty in Burkina Faso, northern Ghana, and Mali. This program is funded by the International Fun to Amplify Agro-Ecological Solutions, an initiative of New Venture Fund. We also recently received a three year grant from the McKnight Foundation to scale agroecological intensification practices in eastern Burkina Faso, in collaboration with INERA (Burkina’s agricultural research institute) and a local NGO focused on seed systems.
The Board also approved Groundswell’s Strategic Framework which outlines our goals, priorities and strategies for the next five years. This framework will be available in the coming weeks – so check back soon to see a copy!
Finally, we discussed our upcoming campaign which will focus on the power of healthy seeds in sustainable agriculture and food systems. To learn how you can get involved in the campaign, subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter with the link to the right.