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Agriculture in Nepal: How do we inspire a new generation to go into farming?

farmer plows field

A farmer in Nepal plows his field with two oxen. (Photo by Mike Mulvaney.)

Today’s post comes to us from a guest blogger who has written for us before: Sulav Paudel. Paudel is the Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab program coordinator at iDE-Nepal, an NGO in Nepal and a partner organization with our Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab. Paudel has a Master’s degree in entomology and international agriculture from Penn State. He has worked and studied in Brazil, Bangladesh, and Russia. He currently lives and works in Kathmandu.

Long hours, intense physical labor, volatile market prices, low pay, and uncertainties: who would want to be a farmer today? It’s something that all of us – consumers, producers, traders, policymakers and NGOs – need to think about seriously. When I go to the grocery store here in Nepal, I pay a few rupees for the food I eat. But I don’t see what’s behind all the food in the store. I don’t see the farmers who help bring fruits and vegetables to my table. Continue reading »

South Sudan: Each night you go to sleep not knowing if you’ll wake

South Sudanese in front of school

Maria Mullei, our then Chief of Party, stands with two of our staff members in front of our offices. This was in April of 2013, eight months prior to the outbreak of civil war. (Photo courtesy Christina Brannan)

What does independence mean to you?

Recently, I celebrated the United States’ 239th Independence Day on the Chesapeake Bay. I was with my family, going to the farmer’s market, cracking crabs, noshing on corn, watching fireworks, and not really reflecting on what it means to be an independent nation. I lack the perspective of what it means to be part of a country that has not been independent for my entire life.

Five days later, July 9, was the world’s youngest nation’s Independence Day: South Sudan, which became independent in 2011. This is when it hit me. One week prior, one of our South Sudanese students wished me a happy Independence Day, to which I responded, “Thank you.” She was preparing for her trip home for research, and I was surprised that she would recognize or remember our independence day. To me, it’s just another July 4th. Then I woke up. Continue reading »

Putting my summer job to use

Moroccan woman and election ads

A Moroccan woman walks by wall art advertising an upcoming election.

At the risk of sounding exactly like a student intern, which I am, it’s been amazing to work at OIRED these past few months. For 25 hours a week, I’m around people who work on issues that I’ve only learned about in school: food security, invasive pests, conservation agriculture—you name it, these people do it.

I’m about to learn about these issues in a very personal way as, come fall, I will be living and studying in Meknes, Morocco. Continue reading »

Repairing tractors and dicing salsa: practical skills for a developing world

high school boys in Tajikistan

Boys at a high school in Tajikistan

Vocational education is critical to development because it links students with jobs. With the percentages of unemployed youth spiking in many developing countries, training young people with the right skills for available jobs is of increasing importance. Continue reading »