OIC International 2012 Annual Report

Click here to view the report online.

To download the report click here.

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Rockefeller Foundation Endorses OIC International’s Super Gari Program

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In hot, sub-Saharan African climates, perishable food items do not have much of a shelf life, rendering them even more precious. But when processed, many crops can last up to six months.

Cassava, also known as yucca, is a great source of nutrients such as essential carbohydrates and vitamins – necessary elements to fuel hardworking families. However, if not processed within 48 hours of harvesting, farmers can experience as much as 40 percent loss of their cassava crops. Processed as flour or gari (a granular mixture), cassava can be fortified to add nutritional value that especially benefits vulnerable populations who are at great risk of malnutrition or stunting.

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Known as Super Gari, OIC International produces this fortified cereal to include in food rations for program beneficiaries, with the aim of reducing chronic malnutrition. Made locally, Super Gari is comprised of three easily accessible ingredients: cassava gari, defatted soy flour and a micronutrient mixture.

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With funding from the United States Agency for International Development, Office of Food for Peace, OIC International is implementing the Super Gari project in Liberia to take the production of Super Gari one step further by improving the cassava value chain including introducing, testing and bringing the fortified cereal to markets.

Starting at the farm level, OIC International supplies clean planting material and necessary inputs, along with agricultural training for poor farmers. The farmers are then organized into production groups to sell their cassava tubers in bulk to processing facilities that employ women and are owned by OIC affiliates. In return, the processing facilities receive new equipment and additional training to enhance the quality of operations.

Currently in the pre-commercialization phase of the project, OIC International’s Super Gari project team has been exploring various supply chains and distribution channels, with the goal of commercializing Super Gari.

For more information on OIC International’s Super Gari project, click here.

To read the full report, click here.

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Sustainable Grains: Storage Solutions Ripe with Tradition

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For poor communities in Ghana, growing enough food for their families is only half the battle. Preventing unnecessary waste due to spoilage and pests poses a real challenge, but at OIC International, we are working alongside poor farmers to tap into a 300-year Ghanaian tradition through our Mud Silos program.

The solution is simple and one that farmers in some areas have used for hundreds of years – a grain storage unit made from local materials. To bring this cost-effective technology to scale, OIC International is working with rural communities to raise awareness of the technology and train local artisans to construct the storage systems.

Here’s why it makes sense:

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Made from local materials such as dried grass and mud, the silos are designed with three compartments that can store several commodities. With good crop/seed treatment, coupled with a lifespan of up to 50 years if well maintained, this makes the system a smart choice for farmers who raise multiple crops.

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To date OIC International has helped rural farmers construct 5,724 mud silos that have the capacity to store up to 1.5 metric tons of grain. OIC International’s research has found that when grains are well dried and treated before storage, the silos yield almost zero percent loss. And for poor families in Ghana, less spoilage means greater food security during the “lean months.”

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In 2001, Ghana’s Ministry of Agriculture evaluated a number of grain storage systems and found that mud silos were the most cost effective and successful method for maintaining the nutritional value of crops while in storage. For less than $25, OIC International’s Mud Silos program helps farmers invest in increasing their own food supplies by reducing spoilage and pests.

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Working alongside poor farmers, OIC International provides the artisan to build the mud silo, while farmers supply the cementing agent, water supply, clay and grass. To date, we have arranged for master builders to train 457 artisans (craftsmen/women) as mud silo construction experts, thus creating a skilled labor force that can generate income in nearby communities.

To read the full report, click here.

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Ending Hunger, Promoting Peace: Report from Ghana

SlideOne of OIC International’s main areas of focus is Food Security & Agriculture. Our aim is to promote food security by encouraging best practices in agriculture through effective and appropriate technologies and knowledge sharing in growing, processing and marketing. We are committed to ensuring that no individual goes hungry due to poverty or lack of market access.

In short, we are committed to ensuring that agricultural best practices are developed and shared to improve yields, secure livelihoods and promote balanced diets in communities.

Toward this end, we proudly partner with local communities, governments, and foundations around the world. For example, over a five-year partnership with USAID’s Technical and Operational Performance Support (TOPS) program, OIC International implemented ENHANCE, a multi-faceted, anti-hunger program in Ghana. The results are as follows:

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The program emphasized the importance of exclusive breastfeeding of newborns to mothers, improving childhood nutrition and ensuring infants have a healthy start.

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By offering farmers access to better seeds, harvesting tools, and storage methods, almost 50% of households reported a reduction in “hungry months”, with over half of households saying they were now food secure year-round.

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By maximizing the use of water resources, ENHANCE enabled farmers to cultivate fresh produce during the dry season.

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By explaining the benefits of more advanced care, feeding, and housing options for livestock, fewer animals were lost due to preventable causes, enabling a more secure source of income and food for farmers

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Women’s groups were formed and supported by local implementers. These groups served as focal points for discussions, advocacy, and business activities, supporting women in economic and social realms and benefitting the empowerment of women

To read the full report, click here.

To fund out more about OIC International’s Super Gari project in Liberia – in partnership with TOPS – click here.

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Celebrating the Life of Nelson Mandela

December 10, 2013:

As the OIC International family reflects on the legacy of Nelson Mandela we are comforted by the fact that positive and transformative change can happen, particular in the lives of the most vulnerable. Nelson Mandela’s life is the perfect testimony of servant leadership. We are reminded of a proverb, “the test of a true leader, is at the end of the day, when the battle is won, the people will say, look what we have done.” Mandela’s life is the best representation of the strength of a people’s struggle for dignity, and ownership of their own destiny.

As I reflect on my time in Johannesburg, representing survivors of apartheid before South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, I understood then that my life would be forever focused on the lives of the most vulnerable. President Mandela served as my standard bearer for what was possible and inspires my work today with OIC International. In his own words, President Mandela said, “the ideals we cherish, our fondest dreams and fervent hopes may not be realized in our lifetime. But that is beside the point. The knowledge that in your day you did your duty, and lived up to the expectations of our fellow men is in itself a rewarding experience and magnificent achievement.”

Mandela’s decision to maintain his fight despite the great odds created the space for others to act courageously and seek justice and fairness. Our late founder Rev. Leon Sullivan, moved by the struggle for freedom and dignity traveled to South Africa as a member of the board of General Motors, during the height of apartheid and returned to the United States to organize Fortune 500 CEO’s to draft the Global Sullivan Principles of Corporate Social Responsibility.  This is just one example of the many the world family continues to share.  As we prepare to say goodbye to the physical body of Mandela, we remain empowered by his legacy and his courage and conviction is ever present in the work we do every day.

Thank you Madiba,

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Crispian Kirk
President and CEO
OIC International

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Mourning the Loss of Mandela


Today, we mourn the passing of Nelson Mandela – activist, revolutionary, president, Madiba.

Starting his life campaigning against colonial politics, Mandela was best known for his tireless efforts against apartheid.

Despite being jailed for 27 years due to activism against this devastating regime, upon his release Mandela did not seek vengeance against the individuals that had so condemned him; spearheading peaceful negotiations to abolish apartheid and establish democratic elections, Mandela oversaw an end to government-supported segregation, and the beginning of a new era for South Africa, and the entire continent.

As an organization that works extensively across the African continent, OIC International has seen the impact of Mandela’s fortitude, convictions, and actions on the millions in Africa and around the world. We send condolences to Mandela’s family and country, and join the world in mourning.

Nelson Mandela’s passing has made the world dimmer, but his legacy will give us light for decades to come.

Sincerely,

Jasmine Latalliade
Program Development Associate

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Youth Investment Summit

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This Summit taking place is Accra Ghana, May 16, 2013, explores the “how” for unlocking human potential in unemployed and underemployed youth throughout Africa. According to the World Bank 200 million people in Africa are between the ages of 15-24. The youth bulge in African countries, with over 60 percent of young people unemployed at 40 percent of the total population, the impact of this population could serve as the catalyst to revolutionize development as we now know it. This scenario has unfortunately played out recently, in Tunisia, where tragically, a young unemployed man set himself on fire in protest over his and others economic prospects—this spark led to the collapse of governments throughout North Africa, creating the contagion called “the Arab Spring”. In sub-Saharan Africa the threat is equally strong on the one hand, for unemployed youth to stray toward death and destruction, rather than harness and nurture this incredible asset as a driver of economic growth and prosperity, on the other.

But how do you get there?

The African Union adopted a youth action plan in 2011 to address high youth unemployment in Africa (AU 2011). Recommendations from the plan include stronger concentration on Technical and Vocational Education Training, also known as TVET. As a leader in human development training and TVET for over 42 years, OIC International is convening this Summit in Accra, Ghana to facilitate stakeholders’ solutions on how to harness the youth bulge as a driver for economic growth. OIC International’s, Youth Investment Summit is designed for senior-level government and private sector officials, the donor community, TVET implementers and trainers as well as entrepreneurs and investors and others interested in human potential.

Opportunities Industrialization Centers International (OIC International) is a non-profit organization headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since 1970, OIC International has differentiated itself by creating indigenous NGOs in developing and transitional countries. OIC International uses a sustainable, community-based affiliate model by which an “owner/operator” method is used to instill ownership, consistency and sustainability. OIC International’s locally registered affiliates embody the philosophy of self-reliance and operate with an independent local board and staff. This unique affiliate model was born out of the belief that the best way to foster economic change is through the empowerment of the local community. Today OIC International is building the capacity of communities through technical and vocational training in agriculture livelihoods, health and nutrition. OIC International is a global organization with affiliates and training centers in 19 countries.

Sponsors

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AGCO is lead sponsor for OIC International’s Youth Investment Summit:

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Contact: Rashida Petersen, (202) 499-2380 ext. 288 or rpetersen@oici.org

AGCO is lead sponsor for OIC International’s Youth Investment Summit: The Road to Economic Growth in Accra, Ghana

agco_logo_typeWASHINGTON, DC, USA (MAY 23, 2013)— AGCO was the lead sponsor at a May 16th Youth Investment Summit: The Road to Economic Recovery, in Accra, Ghana. Over 200 government and business leaders – including the Honorable Nii Armah Ashitey, Minister for Employment and Labor Relations and Social Welfare for the Government of the Republic of Ghana — as well as entrepreneurs, donors and community representatives, convened at the La Palm Royal Hotel to examine the “how” for unlocking human potential in unemployed and underemployed youth throughout Africa.

Louisa Parker, Manager of Institutional Funding and Stakeholder Relations for Africa and Middle East (AME) for AGCO, joined Crispian Kirk, President and CEO of OIC International for a panel titled “Remarks and Conversation.” In her presentation, Ms. Parker provided an overview of AGCO’s Africa Strategy and Initiatives. In her remarks, she referenced the findings of a company report that details how and why more African youth are turning to farming as a career choice. Sahra Ibrahim Malin, Strategic Assistant & Project Coordinator, Sales EAME for AGCO, also addressed the Summit, speaking at Workshop 4, “Opportunities for Ghanaian Youth in Agriculture.”  Both AGCO representatives emphasized the importance of how farm machine technology along with investing in education are the key are the key for long-term rural development.

picFarm machinery boosts efficiency and helps yield, while also relieving workers from the boredom of manual labor currently employed in many areas to cultivate the land and tend crops. This practice is highlighted in the song “Youth in Agriculture.” The catchy tune and memorable lyrics aim to convey the message that a country’s health and development more often than not depend on farming. By taking an active role in agriculture, African youth can help in the fight against hunger. The song, which was played during the Summit, was written by the MEGA Fame Foundation, an NGO based in Ghana.

Stated Crispian Kirk, “Make no mistake. The technical and vocational training of Africa’s youth will equip the private and public sectors with the skilled workforce needed to support their investments and enhance their operations. AGCO recognizes this and I want to personally thank them for being our lead sponsor for the Summit. The presentations by Louisa Parker and Sahra Ibrahim Malin were impressive and OIC International is looking forward to partnering with AGCO on similar initiatives moving forward. With out the support of AGCO, the Summit would not have been the success that it was.”

OIC International is a non-profit organization headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Since 1970, OIC International has differentiated itself by creating indigenous NGOs in developing and transitional countries. OIC International’s locally registered affiliates embody the philosophy of self-reliance and operate with an independent local board and staff. This unique affiliate model was born out of the belief that the best way to foster economic change is through the empowerment of the local community. Today OIC International is building capacity of communities through technical and vocational training in agriculture livelihoods, health and nutrition.

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OIC International Press release

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Contact: Rashida Petersen, (202) 499-2380 ext. 288 or rpetersen@oici.org

OIC International enlists support of government of Ghana for Youth Investment Summit: The road to economic growth, Accra, Ghana, May 16, 2013

photo1WASHINGON, DC, USA (MARCH 19, 2013)— Recently, Crispian Kirk, President and CEO of Opportunities Industrialization Centers International (OIC International) met with His Excellency Mr. Daniel O. Agyekum, Ghana’s Ambassador to the United States. The purpose of the meeting was to brief Ambassador Agyekum on OIC International’s Youth Investment Summit: The Road to Economic Growth. This one-day Summit will take place at the La-Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra, Ghana, on May 16, 2013.  Government and business leaders as well as entrepreneurs, donors and community leaders will gather to examine the “how” for unlocking human potential in unemployed and underemployed youth throughout Africa. The Summit will also focus on the importance of training and investing in Africa’s youth to help the continent strengthen its local communities and reach its economic growth goals.

OIC International has had a presence in Ghana since 1971 through affiliate OIC Ghana. Through this affiliate, OIC provides training in vocational skills and offers counseling, job-placement, and follow-up services to disadvantaged, unskilled, and unemployed Ghanaian youth. Youth constitute approximately 37 percent of the total labor force, but make up approximately 60 percent of total unemployment. Youth in Africa hold great potential as drivers for economic growth through participation in labor markets. However, a large youth population that is not gainfully employed can also be a liability, further undermining growth prospects. This Summit will be an opportunity to discuss ways to strengthen youth and community empowerment, one of the 21st century challenges confronting the continent.

Stated Crispian Kirk, “Technical and vocational training of Africa’s youth will equip the private and public sectors with the skilled workforce needed to support their investments and enhance their operations. Training today’s youth in Africa is a key strategic component of development and economic growth policy. I am looking forward to working not only with Ambassador Agyekum and the Government of Ghana to ensure a successful and productive Summit” For more information on and to register for the Youth Investment Summit: The Road to Economic Growth, visit www.oici.org

OIC International is a non-profit organization headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Since 1970, OIC International has differentiated itself by creating indigenous NGOs in developing and transitional countries. OIC International’s locally registered affiliates embody the philosophy of self-reliance and operate with an independent local board and staff. This unique affiliate model was born out of the belief that the best way to foster economic change is through the empowerment of the local community. Today OIC International is building capacity of communities through technical and vocational training in agriculture livelihoods, health and nutrition.

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Staff Announcements

OIC International is announcing staff additions and is excited to introduce two new members to our organization, Dewardric L. “D. L.” McNeal and Christina Yantis.

Dewardric L. “D.L.” McNeal joins the Executive Office of OIC International as the Director of Global Strategy and Policy.  He will be responsible for evaluating market size, competitors and industry structures, and making recommendations to senior management to assist in the development of OICI’s goals and priorities. Continue reading

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