Strengthening Resilience in Agriculture

CNFA | 2021 Annual Report

Letter from Board Chair and CEO

CNFA’s unyielding dedication to its mission once again enabled our organization to address and overcome the threats posed by COVID-19 for the second straight year.

Lessons learned in the first year of the pandemic, as well as operational modifications put in place in 2020 in response to the challenges presented by the virus, strengthened our resilience and provided us with the agility to quickly adapt to changing circumstances and continue to successfully implement our projects around the globe.

CNFA continued to advance the adoption of climate-smart, sustainable agricultural practices across a range of projects throughout 2021. In Côte d’Ivoire, for example, CNFA promoted sustainable practices through the launch of 10 new Farm Service Centers (FSCs) created through the USDA-funded Maximizing Opportunities in Cocoa Activity and the GIZ-funded Green Innovation Centers for the Agro-Food Sector Project.

The new Ivoirian FSCs not only increased access to certified inputs and services but also strengthened the capacity of smallholder farmers through agronomist-led training on how to shift to more responsible, precise agricultural practices that maximize agro-input use and ensure long-term sustainability. The FSCs also aided in the introduction of new, eco-friendly solutions such as low-pressure, solar-powered irrigation systems and other climate-smart technology.

CNFA also continued to promote the expansion of digital technology. One initiative—the USDA-funded West Africa PRO-Cashew Project in collaboration with the project’s partner, Development Gateway—developed and launched a regional cashew database called Cashew-IN that collects and analyzes cashew production data from across the West African cashew sector to improve transparency and enable data-driven decision-making.

Another effort—the five-year, USAID-funded Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity—joined with the Ebonyi State Government to develop and launch a user-friendly digital loan portal that plans to manage the application and disbursement of loans to at least 6,000 micro, small and medium agribusiness enterprises across the state.

Digital solutions developed in 2020 to deal with pandemic challenges also continued to produce results throughout 2021. In one example, the USAID Agriculture Program in Georgia, ramped up its AgriTalk remote training platform, which delivers educational and promotional agricultural videos to viewers through its Facebook page. The program has garnered hundreds of thousands of views from more than one million individuals.

CNFA also maintained a strong focus on advancing the role of women entrepreneurs. The USAID Private Sector Activity in Azerbaijan launched a women’s association capacity development program. The initiative selected and trained 15 groups and associations in topics such as governance, management, entrepreneurship and business development.

And in Niger, the Feed the Future-funded USAID Yalwa activity promoted more inclusive markets for women and youth by identifying barriers to market participation and working with communities to encourage female and youth entrepreneurship. The activity also worked to improve the capacities of women and youth in poultry and livestock management, technology application and access to finance.

Last year was also our final year with the $32.6 million, USAID-funded Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity. During its five-year implementation, the activity succeeded in providing training and support that increased the agricultural productivity of 200,000 farming households by 50 percent and improved the diet and nutrition of more than 32,000 children and 400,000 women.

Hinga Weze stands as an exceptional example of CNFA’s ability to manage and integrate a broad set of program elements within a single development initiative. Among other things, the activity—through newly created FSCs, outreach, partnerships and other means—improved access to inputs, services and equipment; trained farmers in entrepreneurship and sustainable agricultural practices; increased access to finance; introduced digital information systems and expanded the agricultural participation of women, youth and disabled individuals.

Our mission may soon become even more critical. Recent events in Ukraine and Russia threaten to create significant global shortages of cereal grains used for food production such as wheat and barley, putting even greater stress on the economies and food security of many less-developed regions of the world, including many of those served by our organization.

CNFA—with the help of stalwart sponsors such as USDA, USAID and others—remains committed to using every public- and private-sector tool at our disposal to support the efforts of those who are working to achieve economic prosperity and food security for their families and communities. As we have demonstrated over the history of our organization, every new challenge only strengthens our dedication to this cause.

Best regards,

Elin D. Miller and Sylvain Roy

2021 Global Impact


Building Resilience of Smallholder Farmers in Rwanda

The $32.6 million USAID-funded Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity worked with communities across 10 districts of Rwanda to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ income, improve the nutritional status of women and children and increase the resilience of Rwanda’s agricultural and food systems to a changing climate. From 2017-2022, the activity supported 200,000 farming households to increase their agricultural productivity by 50 percent and over 32,000 children and 400,000 women to improve their diets and nutrition.

To improve agricultural productivity, incomes and food security, Hinga Weze trained farmers in entrepreneurship and key agricultural practices, such as integrated soil fertility and pest management. They also improved access to agricultural inputs and services by introducing CNFA’s flagship Farm Service Centers in six districts across the country and worked with agrodealers and seed multipliers to strengthen the availability of crops suited to local diets, climates and soils. At the same time, Hinga Weze increased access to agriculture sector finance, introduced digital information systems and supported women, youth and persons with disabilities to receive training and equipment, enabling their successful participation in productive farming activities and markets.

Working with care groups, local governments and private sector partners, Hinga Weze also implemented nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions that supported households to grow nutritious foods for consumption and sale through the establishment of over 60,000 household gardens and the distribution of over 220,000 chickens to 30,000 families. These activities helped communities increase their incomes and improve their nutrient uptake and dietary diversity, demonstrating how partnerships between communities, governments and development implementers can effectively and sustainably improve food productivity and security.

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Future-Proofing Agricultural Systems

Cultivating Entrepreneurship

Moving From Small-Scale to Commercial Farm Production in Côte d’Ivoire

In 2021, CNFA launched 10 Farm Service Centers (FSCs) in the Indenie Djuablin, Nawa, San Pedro and Haut-Sassandra regions of Cote d’Ivoire through the USDA-funded Maximizing Opportunities in Cocoa Activity and the GIZ-funded Green Innovation Centers for the Agro-Food Sector Project to improve access to agricultural inputs and services and help farmers move from small-scale to commercial farm production.

FSCs are one-stop-shops that support farmers to increase their productivity and incomes, while also contributing to the long-term sustainability of the local agriculture sector.

Additional services provided to the Ivoirian FSCs included training and resources to help them market their centers and improve economic growth. FSCs were also supplied with mechanization kits, allowing them to rent equipment such as adjustable pole tree pruners, drilling machines, solar-powered sprayers, brush cutters and three-wheeled motorcycles to local producers. To ensure the equipment’s effectiveness and longevity, FSC technicians were trained on equipment maintenance, upkeep, usage and safety. With the shared objective of building sustainable and resilient market systems, FSCs continue to grow and meet the needs of farmers seeking to improve their incomes and livelihoods and strengthen local food systems and security.

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Establishing Farm Service Centers for Agricultural Inputs and Services in Rwanda

Ensuring access to quality, affordable and appropriate agro-inputs is critical to increasing sustainable agricultural productivity and supporting smallholder farmers. In 2021, the Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity supported the successful delivery of inputs, services, information and technology across Rwanda’s last-mile markets by establishing six Farm Service Centers (FSCs) in Nyamagabe, Gatsibo, Bugesera, Karongi, Nyabihu and Ngororero districts. Funded through matching grants from the activity, the FSCs have reached 126,000 farmers and earned $124,000 in sales to date, surpassing their target of reaching 50,500 farmers by 150 prcent.

The new FSCs offer critical farm inputs and services, exhibit nutritious and high-value crops and feature demonstration plots, which are used to showcase the effectiveness of new seed varieties and inputs. Together, they are increasing community knowledge, supporting rural livelihoods and improving food security.

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Introducing Post-Harvest Equipment for Smallholder Producers in Mali

Active in 46 communes across Mali, the Feed the Future Mali Sugu Yiriwa activity focuses on building relationships with private sector service providers that strengthen the capacity and resilience of market actors by increasing market preparedness and ensuring producers can meet buyer quantity and quality requirements. In collaboration with agricultural equipment manufacturer, Société Coopérative Artisanale des Forgerons de l’Office du Niger (SOCAFON), Sugu Yiriwa conducted trainings, including hands-on equipment demonstrations of hullers, stalk crushers, grass bundling machines, steamers and threshers for rice, millet, maize and sorghum. This technology will help producers reduce post-harvest losses, while increasing cereal quality and income generated from improved cereal grains.

The Activity also improved the capacity and reach of five Business Development Service Providers and hosted its first Business-to-Business forum on June 23, 2021. The forum brought together five financial institutions and more than 100 participants to discuss funding constraints and identify solutions to fill funding gaps. Sugu Yiriwa also conducted a study to map markets and actors in the Activity’s target regions, which will serve as the basis for improving producer’s market access and establishing more direct relationships between producers and buyers.

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Transforming the Berry Sector in Georgia

After hazelnuts and wine, Georgia’s berry industry is one of the most promising agricultural sectors in the country. In 2021, the USAID Agriculture Program helped develop Georgian berry production by providing grants to eight berry producers, supporting 14 berry nurseries and training 5,600 berry growers in modern agricultural practices. The Program also supported input suppliers, nurseries and other value chain actors to purchase over 650,000 modern, virus-free berry seedlings, enhance cold storage infrastructure, improve marketing and obtain internationally recognized food safety certifications.

In partnership with TBC Bank, the USAID Agriculture Program organized the country’s inaugural Berry Forum in Guria, Georgia. The forum gathered key public and private sector stakeholders to discuss challenges and opportunities within the subsector. It also provided stakeholders with an opportunity to establish market connections, explore new technologies and discuss best practices for the sector’s growth and modernization.

In tandem with these activities, the Program partnered with local plant breeders to facilitate the introduction of new, high-quality berry varieties, such as the highly productive Malga strawberry variety, Amira and Regina raspberry varieties and the Loch Ness blackberry variety. One USAID Agriculture Program nursery and grant recipient who began propagating the Malga strawberry in 2021 sold 100,000 seedlings to local growers. The Program also initiated the registration process for four additional strawberry varieties and two raspberry varieties, which will enable producers to improve the quality of their produce, reduce post-harvest losses and access high-value markets both domestically and abroad.

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Connecting through Digitalization

Introducing Digital Platforms for Improved Cashew Competitiveness in West Africa

The USDA-funded West Africa PRO-Cashew Project developed and launched a regional cashew database called Cashew-IN in collaboration with the project’s partner, Development Gateway. Cashew-IN is a digital platform that collects and analyzes cashew production data from across the West African cashew sector to improve transparency and enable data-driven decision-making.

The Cashew-IN platform provides government agencies, producers and a variety of other cashew sector stakeholders with information on weather, market prices, good agricultural practices and regional production and processing activities. It also provides news and market trends from across the local and global cashew sector, enabling actors to boost profits and increase competitiveness. Each country’s cashew data is managed by country-level steering committees, supporting national ownership of data and accountability mechanisms, while guaranteeing reliable and high-quality data.

The prototype of the platform launched in December 2021, in the presence of major regional cashew industry stakeholders and steering committee representatives. Designed using over 300 variables, Cashew-IN incentivizes, strengthens and empowers cashew sector actors through the introduction and use of critical geographic information systems and information and communications technologies.

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Improving the Traceability and Management of Hazelnuts in Georgia

The USAID and Ferrero-funded Georgia Hazelnut Improvement Project (G-HIP) partnered with local hazelnut value chain actors to introduce technology and equipment that strengthens and modernizes the country’s hazelnut sector. As part of these efforts, G-HIP partnered with Vault LLC, a Georgia-based technology company, to develop and implement a hazelnut traceability system across the country, with the aim of improving the sector’s efficiency and export potential.

The traceability software was built using two modules: Vault Orchard and Vault Enterprise. Vault Orchard is farm management software that supports hazelnut producers to access information about their orchards, track data over time and analyze and troubleshoot issues during production. Vault Enterprise links with Vault Orchard to provide traceability tools for aggregators, processors and other downstream value chain actors during the kernel production process. The software increases the operational efficiency of hazelnut agribusinesses and promotes transparency from production to export. Since G-HIP’s inception in 2015, the project has successfully transferred sustainable technologies to over 42,000 producers.

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Increasing Digital Access to Finance for Agribusinesses in Nigeria

The five-year USAID-funded Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity works to strengthen business development skills for entrepreneurs while linking agribusinesses with financial institutions to increase access to funding and credit.

In September 2021, the Activity partnered with the Ebonyi State Government to develop and launch a user-friendly digital loan portal that manages the application and disbursement of agribusiness micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) loans and grants in the state. The portal has supported the government to disburse loans worth $148,000 to over 700 rice farmers, most of which are women. By facilitating access to finance and introducing information and communications technology solutions that address funding constraints in the agriculture sector, the Activity plans to support at least 6,000 MSMEs across the state to access loans worth $14.6 million.

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Promoting Agricultural Best Practices in Georgia

The USAID Agriculture Program in Georgia ramped up its AgriTalk training series, which was piloted in 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic limited the Program’s ability to provide in-person technical assistance. AgriTalk delivers educational and promotional agricultural videos to viewers through the Program’s AgriTalk Facebook page. The videos, which are delivered by value chain experts and specialists and hosted by two Radio Imedi hosts, cover topics such as improved crop production, marketing and integrated pest management. AgriTalk also profiles Program participants, successes and innovations from across the country.

To date, the platform has created and shared 20 training videos, which have generated over 680,000 views from 1.4 million individuals. AgriTalk builds on the Program’s efforts to accelerate the growth of agricultural sectors that show strong potential to create jobs, improve incomes and increase revenue for Georgian micro, small and medium enterprises.

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Promoting Climate-Smart Agriculture

Strengthening Resilience Against Climate Change in Rwanda

The Feed the Future Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity promoted climate-smart agriculture technologies and best practices, supporting smallholder farmers to combat rising temperatures, low rainfall and decreased agricultural productivity due to climate change.

In the districts of Bugesera, Kayonza, Gatsibo and Ngoma, located in Rwanda’s drier Eastern province, Hinga Weze partnered with the Rwanda Agricultural Board and local authorities to introduce small-scale irrigation technologies (SSIT) to over 400 farmers across 175 hectares of land who have limited access to water for farming. The SSIT are affordable, appropriate and adaptable to the irrigation needs of smallholder farmers in the region and rely entirely on solar energy, reducing costs for farmers who once relied on diesel fuel while also improving impact to the environment.

Hinga Weze also mobilized farmers to form cooperatives and provided coaching on how to utilize and maintain the SSIT, ensuring that the effectiveness of the irrigation scheme continues beyond the life of the activity. Through the locally led SSIT intervention, farmers have strengthened their ability to reap successful harvests, improving incomes, livelihoods and food security.

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Creating Shared Value

Establishing Partnerships for Enhanced Soybean Cultivation in Southern Africa

The USAID-funded John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program implemented by CNFA in Southern Africa and Moldova strengthened its partnerships with several public and private sector partners, including with USAID-funded Feed the Future Innovation Labs, the American Oil Chemists’ Society, the Grameen Foundation and research universities across the globe, to facilitate training for agricultural producers and entrepreneurs.

In Madagascar, F2F collaborated with the Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) to improve soybean cultivation and oilseed processing through virtual and hands-on volunteer training. F2F trained 21 extension agents from a diverse range of organizations and facilitated a paired assignment on oilseed processing with SIL expert, Dr. George Awuni, faculty from Mississippi State University and two researchers from Madagascar’s National Center for Applied Research on Rural Development (FOFIFA). The trainings in soybean and oilseed production supported producers like Agrival, a Malagasy company launching a large-scale effort to promote soybean cultivation among local farmers for soybean oil processing and livestock feed cakes.

F2F also facilitated a volunteer assignment led by Dr. Eric Swdivy and a researcher at FOFIFA to introduce SIL’s SMART farm trial, which generates situation-based management recommendations for producers. By partnering with both local and U.S.-based volunteers, F2F fosters a wholistic training approach that meets needs of local producers.

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Improving the Value and Flavor of Cacao in Côte d’Ivoire

CNFA’s USDA-funded Maximizing Opportunities in Cocoa Activity (MOCA) supported the cocoa cooperative, CAPRESSA, to produce, sell and ship their first 25-ton container of quality flavor “MOCA beans” to American chocolatier, Guittard Chocolate Company. The beans, which were named for the CNFA activity, supported 50 farmers and was valued at $89,000. CAPRESSA also received praise from international taste testers at Cocoa of Excellence and Guittard Chocolate just months earlier for their flavor profiles, confirming Côte d’Ivoire’s potential to produce and market quality flavor cacao beans.

Based in the Abengourou region of Côte d’Ivoire, the CAPRESSA cooperative has worked with MOCA since 2018 to enhance quality-flavor cacao production for export through training on good post-harvest practices and “learning by tasting.” The workshops, which were conducted with support from Guittard Chocolate and the Fine Chocolate Industry Association, helped enable producers to improve their cacao bean quality and demonstrate the influence of good agricultural practices on cocoa flavor. Read more in the case study here.

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Supporting Access to Technology and Extension Across Pakistan

In Pakistan, the USAID-funded Pakistan Agricultural Technology Transfer Activity (PATTA) strengthened its partnership with provincial agriculture departments to help modernize regional agriculture sectors and provide remote extension services to farmers. With support from PATTA, the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) built on its call-center model, which was established early on in the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to support farmers remotely.

PATTA facilitated study tours for government officials from KP to Punjab province and for government officials from Sindh to KP province during 2021. The tours enabled provincial governments to share knowledge and methodologies for effectively utilizing information and communications technologies (ICT) to reach farmers in rural areas with information on good agricultural practices, improved inputs, modern technologies and regional extension services. PATTA also expanded its agricultural “tele-demonstrations” via radio shows and television advertisements, supporting smallholder farmers in rural areas to increase their technology uptake, agricultural productivity and incomes.

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Improving the Regulatory Environment for Agricultural Sector Growth in Burkina Faso

The Feed the Future-funded USAID Yidgiri Activity collaborated with Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Agriculture to facilitate policy reforms that support agricultural market systems and strengthen the enabling environment for agriculture sector growth. Two policies, laws 101-2006/AN governing the regulation of seeds and 048-2017/AN governing animal health and veterinary professions, were targeted by the Activity.

In April 2021, USAID Yidgiri facilitated a meeting to suggest reforms to seed law 101-2006/AN. The workshop included over 50 representatives from public and private sector institutions who proposed measures to harmonize regulations with the Economic Community of West Africa and to create a fund for research institutions studying seed quality. With the Ministry of Agriculture, USAID Yidgiri is working to pass these reforms into law through the country’s National Assembly, familiarizing policymakers and other seed sector actors with the proposed changes. By improving access to high-quality seeds, farmers across Burkina Faso will be able to boost their productivity to meet nutritional and economic needs, improving the livelihoods of farmers and communities across the country.

USAID Yidgiri also supported the National Order of Veterinarians of Burkina Faso to update law 048-2017/AN governing animal health and veterinary professions by developing a more robust policy on the animal health regulations enforcement.

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Accelerating Inclusive Economic Growth

Strengthening the Next Generation of Agricultural Entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan

The USAID Private Sector Activity (PSA) partnered with the Azerbaijan State Agricultural University (ASAU) to equip faculty, students, young professionals, agronomists and commercial growers with the skills and infrastructure needed to improve productivity, competitiveness and profitability of the country’s agriculture sector.

Jointly implemented by PSA and Ferrero in late 2021, the Technical Certificate Program (TCP) in Hazelnut Production strengthened the capacity of youth in the hazelnut sector and increased the quantity and quality of hazelnuts in the region. The TCP took place over five weekends in Ganja, Guba, Gabala and Zagatala, and focused on the introduction of modern agricultural practices while providing hands-on training through demonstration plots and visits to nurseries, research institutes and processing and export facilities. In total, 35 students graduated from the TCP with skills to become the country’s next generation of agricultural entrepreneurs.

PSA also partnered with USAID, the Government of Azerbaijan, the Embassy of Israel in Azerbaijan, the Coca-Cola Foundation and the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce to open a cold storage facility and horticultural demonstration farm on ASAU’s campus. The new facility strengthens the university’s capacity to improve the postharvest handling and export of high-quality fruit from Azerbaijan. The demonstration plots also offer students and faculty the opportunity to gain practical knowledge and skills in establishing and operating orchards that are more productive, environmentally responsible and economically viable than traditional orchards.

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Strengthening Entrepreneurship for Women and Youth in Niger

In Niger, women and youth make up 75 and 25 percent of the Feed the Future-funded USAID Yalwa activity’s target demographic. As part of its goal to increase household incomes and promote women and youth entrepreneurship in agriculture, USAID Yalwa worked to improve women and youth capacities in poultry and livestock management, technology application and access to finance.

USAID Yalwa trained women and youth on developing poultry feed using locally available ingredients, which also helped catalyze the development of youth-owned microenterprises that produce and sell animal feed. In the Maradi and Zinder regions, where women are active in poultry production, the activity trained women to improve poultry vaccination rates against Newcastle disease, protecting women-run income generating activities. USAID Yalwa also established a $750,000 catalytic grant mechanism to enable women and youth to expand their businesses, boost employment and invest in technologies that improve efficiency, incomes and livelihoods.

The activity partnered with the National Youth Council and other local youth organizations to lead the co-creation of the activity’s Youth Entrepreneurship Promotion Strategy (YEPS), which works with communities to support youth leadership and entrepreneurship, integrate youth into programming and identify ways to overcome barriers to market participation. Of the 13,136 individuals that benefited from USAID Yalwa interventions in 2021, 83 percent were women and 98 percent were youth.

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Promoting Community-Led Economic Growth in Zimbabwe

The USAID-funded Amalima Loko activity works to improve food security in Zimbabwe by strengthening agriculture and watershed management, boosting nutrition and elevating livelihoods for vulnerable households. In collaboration with local partners, Amalima Loko conducted assessments to better understand the needs of communities across five districts of Matabeleland North: Binga, Hwagne, Lupane, Nkayi and Tsholotsho. The activity combined the resulting data with maps using geographic information systems and remote sensing to display information on land use, vegetation, soil, erodibility, household density and rainfall-runoff-evaporation.

Coupled with these studies, the program developed the Community Visioning approach, which aims to build resilience and social inclusion by working with communities to identify their social, economic and natural resource needs and priorities. Community Visioning also strengthens community resilience to shocks and stressors by focusing on watershed management and increasing the engagement of youth, women and people with disabilities in community decision-making.

Community Visioning was launched in 90 villages across Zimbabwe with the goal of reaching 270 villages over the next year.

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Supporting Women-Led Agribusinesses in Azerbaijan

The USAID Private Sector Activity in Azerbaijan launched its Strong Women’s Associations capacity development program to support and strengthen Azerbaijani women’s groups and associations. Hosted over the course of six sessions and in partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprise, the hybrid online and in-person program selected and trained 15 groups and associations in topics such as governance, management, entrepreneurship and business development. The program also provided mentorship for participating women entrepreneurs to help them overcome obstacles in starting and growing their firms. As an integral part of the capacity strengthening program, the one-on-one meetings provided opportunities for participants to discuss their organizations’ existing challenges and identify areas where mentors could provide additional support and guidance.

The Strong Women’s Associations capacity development program was initiated as part of the Activity’s “Women in Associations” component, which was launched in 2020 with funding from the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative to increase women entrepreneurs’ access to markets, finance and other business development services. By supporting Azerbaijani women to develop their business and leadership skills, the USAID Private Sector Activity improves women’s entrepreneurship and representation in the private sector.

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Board of Directors


Total Revenue – $53,887,234

Federal & Non-Federal Grant Income – $52,591,989

Other Income – $1,295,245

Total Expenses – $53,196,240

Net Assets, Beginning of the Year – $5,180,931

Net Assets, End of the Year – $5,871,925

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