Teaching them to fish

19/06/2012

Give people a fish and you’ll feed them for a day, teach people to fish and they’ll feed themselves for life.

Volunteer Service Abroad puts that principle into practice and it’s getting money to help with its work:

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully announced a three-year support package of $24 million for Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA)  to help place skilled New Zealand volunteers in developing countries.

“New Zealand is a world leader in areas like agriculture and tourism development that are vital for developing countries, especially in the Pacific,” Mr McCully says.

“The government wants more New Zealanders to be involved in the delivery of our aid programme. VSA now has a strong focus on supporting economic development and is delivering more opportunities for volunteers in the Pacific.”

In the last year alone VSA volunteers have contributed to; improved access to drinking water for almost 9000 people, the provision of sanitation facilities for more than 3000, the treatment of more than 200 patients, and the upgrade or building of around 90 kilometres of roads.

“VSA is also offering more short-term assignments and partnering with other New Zealand organisations such as Downer NZ, Tuia International, World Vision and Rotary NZ to access more New Zealanders with specific expertise,” Mr McCully says.

Giving security of funding for three years gives the organisation some certainty and VSA is understandably pleased with this:

VSA Chief Executive Officer Debbie Snelson says this is the first time the government has approved up front a three-year funding commitment. It means that VSA can confidently go ahead with its plans to provide more Kiwis with the opportunity to volunteer in the wider Pacific, and to develop new assignments in partnership with New Zealand businesses and organisations.

 

“We see this decision as a real endorsement of our work – and it’s a truly wonderful 50th anniversary present,” she says. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is our core funder. Until now it has provided funding on a year-by-year basis. Knowing that we have secure funding from MFAT for the next three years will give us more flexibility to access the Kiwi skills that our overseas partners are looking for.”

 

She says the details of the funding arrangement are still being negotiated, and it is contingent on VSA delivering satisfactory results. These include increasing the number of short-term assignments to about 55 a year, and developing 25 assignments a year in partnership with New Zealand businesses and organisations.

Under the agreement VSA will continue to focus its work in Melanesia, Polynesia and Timor-Leste.

 

“We are confident that we can keep playing a significant role in New Zealand’s overseas development assistance programme, particularly in the area of economic development.”

At least one MP has practical experience of VSA. Invercargill MP Eric Roy was a volunteer in the Pacific in his 20s.

A couple from our district, Bill and Shirley Kingan, have had two postings in Papua New Guinea and are now on a short-term assignment in Samoa.


Rural round-up

05/06/2011

Dairy farmers can produce a green dairy industry – Pasture to Profit writes:

The Dairy Industry has the potential to produce its own electricity & be clear of the National Grid. What a PR victory that will be for the first UK dairy company & their suppliers. What a wonderful image that will be for milk, cheese & butter! Every dairy farmer must get involved to “kick this goal” for the dairy industry. We have a fantastic opportunity right now with interest free loans & massive incentives . . .

Volunteer will help in Samoa – David Bruce reports:

From farming crocodiles to helping improve small agricultural businesses, Bill and Shirley Kingan have had a wide variety of experiences under Volunteer Service Abroad.

Mr and Mrs Kingan leased out their Enfield farm, then joined the New Zealand organisation which, since 1962, has been sending volunteers overseas to help other countries and communities improve their lives. . .

Integrity, beauty and strength – Sally Rae writes:

There’s something special about a Clydesdale horse. Clydesdale Horse Society of New Zealand president Bill Affleck believes the allure stems from what the gentle giants have achieved in the farming world.

Coupled with a very placid nature, “there’s something there that’s very appealing”. . .

Future’s glowing –  Sally Rae again:

If you had told former Stewart Island fisherman Dil Belworthy that he would end up owning a chain of clothing stores, he would have said being abducted by aliens was more likely.

Mr Belworthy is not kidding when he says the path he and his wife, Catherine, have taken to owning five Glowing Sky Merino stores, as well as a manufacturing facility, is “quite bizarre”. . .

Who will Fonterra’s new boss be?  – Andrea Fox asks:

With the clock ticking down to the announcement of Fonterra’s new chief executive, ex-General Motors financial chief Chris Liddell and Air New Zealand’s Rob Fyfe have been ruled out of contention, with the money on an internal appointment.

Sources said number two at the dairy giant, trade and operations managing director Gary Romano, is strongly favoured to succeed Canadian Andrew Ferrier, who will leave in the second half of this year. . .

A dairy farm to impress the world – Jon Morgan writes:

Rick Morrison and Sharleen Hutching are a quiet, unassuming couple who prefer to let their actions speak louder than words.

When the judges in the Horizons region of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards gave them warning of a visit to their 200-cow dairy farm near Eketahuna, they didn’t change a thing. “It was, ‘Oh yeah, whatever’,” Mr Morrison says. “We just carried on as normal, no need to rush around tidying things up.” . . .

Firms plan $3.7m Gore investment

Two Southland-based farm-machinery firms plan to make $3.7million investments in Gore.

Advance Agricentre and Southland Farm Machinery agree their investments are a vote of confidence in the district’s economy. . .

Robots to takeover meat works:

After 20 months’ intensive research and development, the Ovine Automation Consortium is ready to go to market with two robots that signal the start of a new era in automated sheepmeat processing.

Funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and nine industry members, with the support of two research organisations, the research consortium aims to enhance sheep processing productivity and quality through the use of automation. . .

Wine the organic puzzle –  Rebecca Gibb writes:

Patting cows and admiring piles of dung was not what I had envisaged when leaving Auckland behind for rural Marborough.

I thought I was there to tour organic vineyards for the vital purpose of tasting wines, but instead found myself transported to the set of The Good Life. Had I mistakenly been picked up by Richard Briars and Felicity Kendal at Blenheim airport, or are cows, sheep, and a gaggle of geese really what organic wine is all about? . . .

Beekeeping in a nutshell – Raymond Huber posts:

It’s Bee Week, celebrating our partnership with honey bees. Hand-made beehives date back 3000 years (in Israel) and early hives were made of clay or straw. Bees and humans helped each other expand into new lands: as settlers took the bees with them for crop pollination. For centuries beekeepers melted the comb to get the honey out, forcing bees to rebuild it. Then in 1851 pastor Lorenzo Langstroth designed a hive like a filing cabinet that could be used over and over. . .

Talk about succession – Gerald Piddock writes:

One of the deer industry’s next generation is urging farmers to talk more openly about the issues around succession.

The average age of the New Zealand farmer was over 50. At that stage many would soon be wanting to exit the industry, Hamish Fraser told farmers at the Deer Industry Conference in Timaru.

“Getting succession right will be key to allowing this to happen,” he said. . .


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