ACDI/VOCA implements the USAID-funded Forest Incomes for Environmental Sustainability (FIFES) project in Liberia. FIFES develops forest-based enterprises to provide sustainable economic opportunities for farmers and forest-dependent communities. These opportunities combat deforestation and biodiversity loss. FIFES, one of five current ACDI/VOCA projects in Liberia, received a significant boost recently when it received a $10,000 grant from The Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series, a leadership development program for women from Indiana.

Lugar Series Partners with Lugar Center to Raise Funds to Supplement FIFES Activities

Annually, the Lugar Series takes on a group project. This year’s class partnered with the nonprofit Lugar Center to honor retired Senator Richard G. Lugar’s legacy of working to solve the challenge of global hunger. One of the center’s core issues is global food security, and the large number of women smallholder farmers across the globe who struggle with chronic hunger. Together, The Lugar Series and The Lugar Center contacted ACDI/VOCA to develop a women’s food security program within one of its global programs. The class named this year’s project “Harvesting Change” and undertook fundraising among its members and friends. On November 18, 2016, Senator Lugar presented a $10,000 check to ACDI/VOCA President Bill Polidoro.

Lori Groves Rowley of the Lugar Center holding the check as Jim Flock, Bill Polidoro, Senator Lugar, and Paul Guenette look on.

Training Provides Women with New Knowledge and Expanded Opportunities 

Within the overall FIFES project, the funds will provide agricultural and business skills training for women as well as seeds and farm inputs. By participating in FIFES training, the women will enhance their participation in cash crop enterprises, mainly oil palm production. The training will utilize a gender-sensitive farmer field school approach, which is a proven model for rural extension in Liberia. By producing more cash crops, women will increase their incomes to better provide for their families

and build a brighter, more sustainable future for their communities.

Of the collaboration, ACDI/VOCA Director of Gender Mainstreaming and Women’s Empowerment Jenn Williamson, explains “The Lugar Center approached ACDI/VOCA with the idea of fundraising, through the Lugar Series, for a program that addressed global hunger by empowering female farmers in Africa. It seemed the perfect opportunity to expand the programming and impact of our Liberia FIFES program.”


Read more about The Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series here.

Read more about The Lugar Center here.

Read more about our FIFES project here.

Read more about our work in Liberia here.