FES views each assignment as an opportunity for creating positive, sustainable change – contact us to learn more.
Business Drivers for
Food Safety (BD4FS)
US Agency for International Development
June 2019 - May 2024
Chief of Party
Food-borne pathogens undermine the health and well-being of hundreds of millions of people across the globe each year. Inadequate food handling practices and poor infrastructure across supply chains increase health risks to consumers, in addition to being root-causes of pre-consumer loss and waste in the overall food system. The Business Drivers for Food Safety Project (BD4FS) is a USAID-funded, multi-country effort that works alongside micro-, small-, and medium-sized food enterprise to co-design and implement incentive-based strategies to accelerate the adoption of food safety practices local food systems. By focusing on the role of local food businesses in improving food safety, the FES team will add to USAID knowledge base about strategies and methodologies for enterprise-level assistance in food systems strengthening, develop best-practices and lessons learned, and generate success stories from working with entrepreneurs in the effort to improve food safety. Stakeholder engagement will also raise national awareness around the issue of food safety and lay the foundation for the promotion of a “culture of food safety” among all actors in the national food system.
Beans for Better Nutrition
United States Dry Bean Council (USDBC)
Dr. Thoric Cederstrom
Director of Research and Learning
Nearly half of all deaths in children under 5 are attributable to undernutrition which puts children at greater risk of dying from common infections. Poor nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life can also lead to stunted growth, impaired cognitive ability, and reduced school and work performance. Beyond the first 1,000 days, healthy meals and snacks in schools improve children’s health and nutritional well-being, enabling them to grow well and learn well. Accessing affordable, nutritious and safe foods during these crucial growth and development periods in children’s lives is essential to ensure optimal nutrition benefits. Dry beans—a proven source of high-quality plant protein—offer children and adults in vulnerable populations a nutritious and cost-effective addition to their food basket. The US Dry Bean Council (USDBC) looks to become a reliable provider of high-quality beans and bean products to the international food aid community in its fight against global malnutrition. Dr. Thoric Cederstrom provides technical support to promote dry beans in US food assistance programs and to work with various research institutions (Washington University and the Nutrition Institute of Central America and Panama) to develop new, innovative complementary foods.
Cold Chain Infrastructure Development
Roberta Lauretti Bernhard
Director of Programs
Some of the most nutritious foods are also some of the most perishable; foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy require temperature control or a “cold chain” to stay fresh and safe. A cold chain is “the management of the temperature of perishable products in order to maintain quality and safety from the point of slaughter or harvest through the distribution chain to the final consumer.” The links of the chain span post-harvest, transport, processing, storage, and retail, ensuring that perishable products are safe and of high quality at the point of consumption. Failing to keep perishable foods at the correct temperatures can result in a variety of negative attributes including, among others, textural degradation, discoloring, bruising, and microbial growth that cause food borne illnesses. A modern cold chain allows farmers to diversify production to include high value perishable crops that increase earnings and reduce waste of limited natural resources (land, water, and other inputs) required for agricultural production. The following are some illustrative examples of FES’ consulting services to promote the cold chain: cold chain mapping for a Somalia-based company to attract foreign investors for interregional and European export, assisting a multinational food company to landscape cold chain storage in Rwanda for poultry products, and advising Nigerian cold chain association members on food safety standards.
Support For Microfinance & Market Access For Coffee Women
Roberta Lauretti Bernhard
Director of Programs
A recent outcome of our partnership with the International Womens’ Coffee Alliance (IWCA) included collaboration with Earth’s Choice Organic Coffee and Rotary International to fund and support a business literacy training manual. This training manual was created by coffee experts Verena and Beatriz Fischersworring, Maria Eliza Luis, and Lucita Mendoza for the Earth’s Choice “Women in Coffee Microfinance Learning Loan Program.” The Learning Loan Manual is part of an overall effort to support fund raising for revolving loans and to provide pre-, mid-, and post-loan training in business literacy. The project is currently operating in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, and Mexico with plans to expand to Peru, Rwanda, Kenya, and Ethiopia in 2021. The objective of the project is to empower women by building their business skills while providing them access to affordable loans. Built on the Grameen Bank “group loan” model, the project has a 98% repayment rate to date! This manual is currently in English and Spanish, and FES will be working with IWCA, Earth’s Choice, and Rotary International to translate the manual into French and Portuguese. Access the manual HERE.