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Summer 2014

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Timorese Farmers Take Advantage of Demand for High-Value Produce

In 2007, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) invested in a hydroponic greenhouse facility that enabled 20 Timorese farmers to grow high-value vegetables such as capsicum and tomatoes. These high-quality products for local supermarkets replaced vegetables that previously had to be imported, jumpstarting production in Timor-Leste’s Aileu District and increasing cash income for its farmers. Since then, the Developing Agricultural Communities, or Dezenvolve Agricultura Comunitária (DAC, 2010–2015) project and its predecessor Dezenvolve Setor Privadu (2006–2010) have engaged more than 400 farmers in greenhouse and outdoor vegetable production and helped build a stronger fresh produce value chain.

DAC launched in 2010 with 94 farmers in one subdistrict linked to one supermarket; it now includes 416 farmers who cover three subdistricts and serve two commercial buyers. These farmers have earned $550,000 and substantially improved the housing, school participation, and nutrition in their communities. Our value chain approach provides technical and management assistance to input suppliers, farmers, traders, wholesalers, retailers, and even lenders, and is designed to ensure that these initial successes will sustain. Driven by the market demand for better and more diverse fresh produce, this approach has helped establish local horticulture as a contributor to the non-oil economy of Timor-Leste.

Photograph of a Timor-Leste farmer.

Crucially, DAC received support for expanding and diversifying its activities through a Global Development Alliance with ConocoPhillips, and a unique Trilateral Food Security Cooperation activity funded by China Aid, USAID, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Smallholders Empowered

DAC links subsistence farmers to commercial markets and builds their capacity to meet market demand for quality, quantity, and consistency of production. In 2011, the 200 farmers working with the project sold 124 tons...

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Supporting the Transition to Peace in Sri Lanka

When armed conflict in eastern Sri Lanka ended in 2007, the Government of Sri Lanka was afforded an opportunity to begin repairing the damage. Two years later when the government captured the last-remaining stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the north, the 26-year civil war finally ended, promising better days ahead and the hope for lasting peace. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the Reintegration and Stabilization in the East (RISE) project to prepare communities in the most conflict-affected areas in the east for the changes peace would bring, including the eventual reintegration of former combatants back into their villages.

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Supporting Active Citizenship Across Pakistan

Danish Bibi was to be married off illiterate and homebound to a husband not of her choosing. Usman Ghani saw neighborhood children routinely die for lack of health services. Brothers Ishaq and Saleem feuded for years over the same plot of land.

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DAI Solutions: Thinking Outside the Organizational Box

In January 2013, DAI launched a new corporate structure designed to optimize the firm’s deployment of technical and operational expertise across the world. The restructured organization includes a new Solutions team, led by Jim Packard Winkler and staffed by 40 of the firm’s leading technical specialists. A former Chief of Party for U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) projects based in Bangkok, Hanoi, Jerusalem, and Zagreb, Jim was tapped to lead Solutions following five years at the helm of the USAID/Vietnam Competitiveness Initiative. Developments asked Jim to discuss the thinking behind Solutions and the lessons learned in its first year or so of work.

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Innovative Fund Enables Philippine Water Utilities to Invest, Deliver Safe Water to New Customers

More than a decade ago, the Philippine Government committed to achieving Millennium Development Goals for water supply by expanding access to safe water to 16 million Filipinos—about one-fifth of the country’s population. This expansion would require an annual investment of PhP6-7 billion (US$150-$175 million); however, public sector financing remained stuck at PhP3-4 billion per year with no increase in sight. The only way to achieve the goal would be to mobilize private sector financing and investment. But how?

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Calculating the Fiscal Cost to Jordan of the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Since 2011, the Syrian conflict has killed more than 100,000 people and destroyed countless homes and businesses, forcing Syrians by the thousands to seek refuge in the region. Jordan generously opened its borders to these refugees, who settled in camps established by the United Nations and in northern cities such as Irbid, Ramtha, and Mafraq, resulting in a rapid, nearly 10 percent increase in the population.

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Fertilizing Method Delivers Results for Liberian Rice Farmers

When the 300 farmers at the Fuamah District Multipurpose Cooperative reviewed results from the rice farm’s trials using a new fertilization method, the farmers sang and danced in celebration. Plots using this method—where briquettes of fertilizer are buried in the ground next to rice seedlings—returned 17 percent higher rice yields than simply throwing fertilizer granules onto the field and 30 percent higher yields than sites using no fertilizer at all.

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Going Social on Avian Influenza

In March 2013, mobile phone subscriptions in Indonesia—a country of approximately 245 million people—topped 285 million. That’s a penetration rate of 117 percent—higher than in China, India, or even Japan. As the cost of phones and service plans dropped, social networks and community media grew enormously, fueled by texting and phone-enabled video.

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