This year, ACDI/VOCA is recognizing three of our outstanding volunteers with the 2023 Charles Cox Excellence in Volunteerism Awards. These awards serve as a tribute to Charles Cox, a passionate supporter of volunteerism who served ACDI/VOCA for more than 30 years. (See last year’s winners.) Read more about each of their experiences volunteering in different countries—and remotely!

Interested in becoming a volunteer? Learn more about our Volunteer Programs.

Mavis Amedegbe, a communicator supporting AV Ventures in Ghana

In the spring of 2023, Communications Specialist Mavis Amedegbe joined the AV Ventures office in Ghana, where she lives, to begin a six-month volunteer assignment to promote the work of AV Ventures, a for-profit subsidiary of ACDI/VOCA. In that time, Mavis helped build and launch a new podcast called Roots To Foods, a dynamic initiative showcasing the stories of established and emerging entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector across Sub-Saharan Africa. She scripted podcast episodes which included researching topics, developing insightful questions, and creating social media content. She made sure content was accurate, informative, and in line with AV Ventures’ standards for quality and creativity. She also managed the technical aspects of the podcast, such as editing and sound design, to deliver a high-quality audio production that would captivate audiences. She collaborated with other team members to create visually appealing graphics as well as promotional materials.

Thanks to her efforts, the Roots to Foods podcast is off to a great start and is helping to connect agricultural entrepreneurs with knowledge, access to finance, and technology. Her work supports the mission of Roots to Foods to empower the audience with knowledge, inspire participation in the food resilience revolution, and showcase the incredible innovations that are transforming African agriculture.

David Kamathi Wanjiru, a communicator supporting AV Ventures in Kenya

Communications Specialist David Kamathi Wanjiru spent six months as an ACDI/VOCA volunteer in support of AV Ventures initiatives in Kenya, where he also played a pivotal role in contributing to the success of the newly launched Roots To Foods podcast. His primary responsibilities involved the creation and production of engaging podcast episodes that highlighted the journeys, challenges, and triumphs of these agricultural visionaries. Leveraging his research skills, David diligently explored the agricultural landscape to generate compelling content that not only informs, but also inspires the audience, shedding light on the diverse and impactful work being done in the region. 

“By combining my passion for communication with my commitment to promoting agricultural entrepreneurship, I contribute to AV Ventures’ mission of fostering positive change and sustainable development in the region—one podcast episode at a time.”

David Kamathi Wanjiru, Communications Specialist and ACDI/VOCA volunteer

Additionally, David collaborated with the AV Ventures team to develop and implement effective communication strategies for conveying the organization’s mission and impact to a wider audience. Through his involvement in the Roots to Foods podcast and broader communication initiatives, David helped amplify the voices of those shaping the agricultural sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“As AV Ventures seeks to expand its footprint and impact in Africa, Mavis and David represent a new wave of talented professionals, driving its strategic communication efforts and sharing the most compelling stories of entrepreneurial impact.”

Ovidiu Bujorean, Director of Partnerships and Investments at ACDI/VOCA

Scott Stanley, an apiologist serving farmers in Zambia and Tunisia

In June, Scott Stanley volunteered remotely with the USAID Zambia Enterprise Development and Growth Enhanced Activity, implemented by ACDI/VOCA, by providing online training on honeybee health with the local association Zambia Honey Platform. The training modules he developed will go a long way toward educating and empowering extension service providers, consultants, and others to fight common diseases, such as brood diseases, adult diseases, and disease distribution, as well as manage parasites and pests.

His trainings were later presented to the public and more than 50 local business and government representatives at the Honey Market Synergy Symposium, organized by the Activity. Now, the modules are freely distributed to honey value chain actors, including the primary producers dotted around the country. The association has also taken steps to have these training materials translated into three local languages and adapted to be accessible by producers of various education levels.

“We say thanks and kudos for the dedicated and successful works Scott Stanley provided to the Zambian people through the Zambia Honey Platform.”

Elton Mizinga, Director of SME Development for the Activity

Scott also traveled to Tunisia in 2021 to provide a Training of Trainers for the Facilitating Agricultural Results, Modernization, and Educational Resources (FARMER) project, sponsored by the United States Department of State and implemented by Deloitte Tunisia. Deloitte contracted with ACDI/VOCA to provide three volunteers, and Scott was the first. The FARMER project is working to strengthen agricultural centers, including the Takelsa Training Center, which needed a highly skilled beekeeper.

Using both theoretical and practical training sessions, Stanley provided in-depth training that could be conveyed to others. He also made suggestions, such as creating a shared server for staff from different centers to share learning, establishing a breeding program at each center, and for trainers who attended his sessions to continue researching local honey and pollen as they continue to grow in their knowledge and practice. Thanks to the trainings provided by Scott, the trainers at Takelsa Training Center are better prepared to serve and advise local beekeepers in Tunisia, which will benefit thousands of small beekeeping businesses.

“Of all the trainings I have received in my professional career, the training provided by U.S. specialist Scott Stanley was the best! His ability to share best apiculture practices at a highly technical level was exactly what we wanted, and I am excited to use these practices in my work.”

Mohamed Salah, a beekeeping trainer and FARMER project participant

Learn more about our Volunteer Programs.