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Our Approach

When it comes to changing the world, no one can do it alone. But all too often, the people and institutions working to solve global challenges operate in isolation, leaving community needs unmet and donor dollars underutilized.

At Partners of the Americas, our approach is different. We bring the right mix of players — volunteers, development professionals, governments, businesses, and civil society institutions — to the table in order to match resources, knowledge, and passion to need. By connecting local organizations to broader funding opportunities and empowering citizens to become agents of change, we develop lasting solutions to our hemisphere’s toughest challenges, together.

It’s the simple notion of partnership, and we believe it can change everything.

Letter from the President & Board Chair

For 55 years, Partners of the Americas has remained steadfast in its commitment to building bridges of connectivity for a more empowered and sustainable world. Over this past year, we have broadened our reach and cemented our purpose of changing lives: we expanded our services to connect the Western Hemisphere to Myanmar, Morocco, and the Philippines, launched a youth leadership program to increase collaboration between the U.S. and Argentina, and grew our programs to combat trafficking in persons.

Concurrently, we are taking steps to unify our network and strengthen our legacy. We designed the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan to bolster the power of partnerships and hone our vision, mission, and values to be more representative throughout the organization. As a part of executing this plan, we established the Membership Unit, dedicating staff to champion and grow our membership base.

Partners continues President John F. Kennedy’s inspiration to establish partnerships built on engaging, empowering, and exchanging to better our world.

Engage: We engage with communities, individuals, and organizations across the Western Hemisphere through nearly 100 Chapters that participate in service projects, cultural and educational events, and peer-to-peer networking while also addressing unique local needs through our development programs.

Empower: We provide the support and guidance for those involved in our programs to advocate for themselves, their communities, and those around the world.

Exchange: We gather diverse communities throughout the Americas to build partnerships, fuel hope and optimism, and share knowledge and experiences for what works.

From donating hundreds of children’s books in Bolivia to helping youth gain leadership skills through soccer in Mexico, we have witnessed the immense impact of lasting partnerships. As we look ahead to the next decade, we invite you to continue working alongside us as we foster people-to-people connections to solve local, regional, and global challenges, together.

2019-2023 Strategic Plan

In the span of over a year, Partners of the Americas completed an organizational strategic plan to continue building on its foundational principle of the power of partnerships. As part of the 2019-2023 Strategic Planning initiative, Partners honed its vision, mission, values, and strategies as it moves into the next decade.

VISION

We envision a world where communities and individuals are empowered and sustained through volunteerism and partnerships.

MISSION:

We connect people and organizations across and within borders to serve and change lives.

VALUES:

Partners of the Americas inSPIRES through our values in:

Service: We serve individuals and groups by empowering them with the tools and resources to learn, grow, and serve their own local communities.

Partnership: We are committed to mutually beneficial relationships that are multicultural, diverse, and built on empathy, respect, and collaboration.

Impact: We strive to maintain long-term results through lasting commitments, deep-rooted local presence, and evidence-based projects that focus on systems-change.

Resilience: We confront societal challenges with strength and adaptability by building the capacity of people, families, and communities to actively respond to adversity.

Respect: We cultivate an environment of respect through a shared leadership that embraces mutual understanding and compassion across inclusive and diverse communities.

Empowerment: We trust in community-led solutions and encourage and inspire citizens to become agents of change.

Sustainability: We recognize the increasing risks posed by human and environmental degradation, especially to already vulnerable communities, and strive to implement programs with a focus on long-term impact, environmental protection and climate change preparedness.

2019-2023 Strategic Plan

GOAL AREAS

Business Development & Partnerships:

Grow by 10% year over year based on the previous year’s financials through a diversified portfolio of funders, programs, and areas. Growth will be achieved through thought leadership, proactive technical expertise in the field, and expanding the donor base.

Technology & Communications:

Leverage technology & communications to facilitate efficient interactions among staff internally and connect with, engage, and grow Chapter members & other stakeholders externally. Collaborate within Partners to co-produce innovative, engaging communications campaigns.

Programming & Services:

Empower the communities we serve by focusing on where our passion, resources, knowledge, and capacities intersect; adapt as the global context changes with data-driven, evidence-based decision-making.

Operational & Financial Excellence:

Manage financial and HR resources responsibly, effectively, efficiently, and transparently. Ensure more efficient operations through standardized Program, HR, and Resource Management and training for staff and board members.

The Agricultural Volunteer Opportunity Project (AVOP) serves two primary functions. First, it provides knowledge management services to the eight Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) implementing organizations by offering seminars, organizing annual meetings, and managing the F2F website. Second, the project manages a global subaward program to build the capacity of new organizations to implement small F2F programs. The 2019 subawards are active in Morocco, focused on the capacity-building of women’s agricultural cooperatives, and the Philippines, focused on the coconut subsector.

The Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program promotes economic development and food security by sending volunteer agriculture and agribusiness specialists from the U.S. to Latin America and Myanmar to build the capacity of producers, cooperatives, agribusinesses, non-governmental organizations, universities, and other agriculture sector institutions.

The RANFOSE program aims to address micronutrient deficiencies in Haiti by increasing the availability of high-quality fortified foods throughout the country. Our strategy uses a multipronged, participatory approach to identify major constraints and target key stakeholders in the public sector, private sector, and civil society to stimulate a sustainable national program for fortified staple foods.

A Ganar is Partners’ award-winning sport-for-development program that combats youth unemployment in Latin America by using team sports. At-risk youth acquire marketable job expertise by building on six core sport-based skills: teamwork, communication, discipline, respect, results, and continuous self-improvement. We implement A Ganar with funding from ESPN and support from local community partners.

We support Paraguay in its efforts to combat the worst forms of child labor and forced labor, and improve labor law enforcement and working conditions, with a particular focus in the departments of Guairá and Boquerón. Paraguay Okakuaa seeks to strengthen the effectiveness of the labor inspection system, increase coordination among different institutions in order to combat child labor, and provide educational and vocational training to keep children and adolescents in school and away from hazardous working conditions.

Colombia Avanza seeks to strengthen the capacity of civil society to better understand and address child labor and promote acceptable conditions of work in Colombia’s coffee sector. Colombia Avanza has a tripartite approach that focuses on improving the capacity of civil society to identify and document accurate, independent, and objective information on the nature and scope of child labor and labor violations in the coffee sector and on improving the capacity of civil society to raise awareness.

The Implementing a Culture of Labor Compliance in Costa Rica’s Agricultural Exporting Sector project aims to improve the enforcement of minimum wage, hours of work, and occupational safety and health (OSH) laws in the agricultural sector in Costa Rica. The project secures effective mechanisms to complement, create, and strengthen legal instruments and administrative procedures and promotes a sustainable labor law compliance culture.

Asegurando la Educación (ALE) works to mitigate school-based violence (SBV) while improving student academic performance, school enrollment rates, and student transition into secondary education to increase secondary completion rates. The Socio-Emotional Learning Program (“PASE” for its acronym in Spanish) was created to promote safe learning environments in schools targeted by ALE, including socio-emotional learning along with resilience and positive psychology.

We are working to implement social compliance systems (SCS) that promote acceptable conditions of work and the prevention and reduction of child and forced labor in palm oil supply chains in Colombia and Ecuador. Through market and supply chain analysis and the development of case studies, Palma Futuro aims to strengthen the capacity of private sector partners in the palm oil sector to implement a robust and sustainable SCS and increase the understanding of social compliance at the regional and global levels.

We aim to improve Paraguay’s capacity to prevent and process cases of trafficking in persons (TIP) and protect its victims, with an emphasis on sex and labor trafficking. Ñande Ko’e seeks to strengthen local and national networks to combat trafficking, improve comprehensive services available to victims, and build state institutional capacity to address the issue of TIP. The project’s comprehensive and dynamic approach focuses on building the capacity of the public sector and civil society organizations as well as generating public understanding of TIP through awareness-raising campaigns.

ATLAS Paraguay seeks to improve the enforcement of labor and criminal law and increase coordination among law enforcement and social protection agencies in order to combat child labor, forced labor, and trafficking in persons in Paraguay. The project works closely with government stakeholders to strengthen their capacity to identify and address labor abuse cases and works to strengthen the training and technical support available to labor inspectors, prosecutors, police, educators, and other public officials.

The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund, the USDOS’s signature education initiative in the Western Hemisphere, celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2019. Innovation Fund grants fuel strategic higher education partnerships to increase student exchange and training programs between the countries of the Americas. Through a dynamic collaboration with the USDOS, the private sector, nonprofits, and foundations, we are building a hemisphere of students ready to compete and thrive in the 21st-century workforce.

The Buenos Aires Provincial Youth Leaders Program (BAP) strengthens mutual understanding, awareness, and collaboration between the people of the U.S. and Argentina by promoting and developing bilateral interaction and exchange. BAP targets Argentine youth in high school from the Buenos Aires Province. In partnership with América Solidaria, the program is sponsored by the USDOS through the U.S. Embassy in Argentina.

The Education and Culture Program is designed to engage volunteers, civic and community leaders, NGOs, educators, social entrepreneurs, and professionals throughout the Western Hemisphere to serve as change agents in their communities. The program enables participants to share best practices, design community solutions, and build long-lasting relationships. The Education and Culture Program supports the USDOS Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) goals to bolster democratic principles, strengthen rule of law, and encourage strong civil society institutions, as well as to increase Americans’ global competitiveness by building the skills and capacity of U.S. and foreign exchange participants.

The U.S. Exchange Alumni Network and Capacity Building Program builds U.S. citizen exchange alumni ties with the USDOS Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), strengthens alumni identities, offers alumni professional development opportunities, and supports alumni in implementing projects in their communities in the U.S. and abroad. This is achieved through a series of professional development seminars and a small grants program targeting U.S. citizen alumni of U.S. government-sponsored international exchange programs.

Partners of the Americas hosted the third Higher Education Partnership (HEP) Conference from October 1-3, 2019 in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The HEP 2019 Conference welcomed over 200 attendees, including university presidents, CEOs, deans, and directors, as well as government representatives and private sector companies invested in international education. The Conference provided a participative, interactive experience, in which attendees shared their own experiences, learned from their peers, and networked with new partners in dynamic and creative spaces. Participants had the opportunity not only to participate in accessible and practical sessions, gain insights from renowned plenary speakers, and explore opportunities in the expo hall, but also to collaborate and build relationships in innovative workshops, cultural excursions, and personalized activities.

In 2019, as a part of the implementation process of the Strategic Plan 2019-2023, the Office of the President & CEO of Partners of the Americas established the Membership Unit. The Unit will advocate for and grow the network throughout the Western Hemisphere through various initiatives, programming, and resource-sharing. It is also responsible for strengthening the organization’s network by encouraging a collaborative regional approach and continuing to develop and leverage leaders to empower the communities they serve.

With 25 Chapters and over 90 participants, the 2019 What Works Conference in Goiás, Brazil brought together best practices within the Partners of the Americas Network. From November 18-20, 2019, the Comitê Profissional de Goiás and the PartnersCampus Goiânia Student Chapter hosted the Conference at the Universidade Federal de Goiás. Participants enjoyed a selection of 11 breakout sessions, 28 social project presentations, over 50 speakers, and 7 main sessions. During the three days, Partners Chapters and local institutions discussed how they can work together to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and “GO Global.”

Partners of the Americas is please to welcome the official charter of four new Chapters in 2019: two PartnersCampus Student Chapters and two Affiliate Chapters. The addition of these Chapters strengthens Partners’ mission through engagement in projects and activities that connect, serve, and change lives in their local communities.

Red Internacional de Estudiantes por la Paz (Red EsPaz)

Red EsPaz (“International Network of Students for Peace” in English) is a part of a hemispheric network of youth leaders based in Chiclayo, Peru dedicated to promoting peace and nonviolence in their communities through volunteerism, community engagement, and leadership development. Red EsPaz has a history of collaborating with Partners: they began as members of the PartnersCampus Lambeyeque Chapter and hosted a group of Partners youth from Texas in 2012. The Chapter has trained more than 1,000 university students in themes related to the culture of peace.

PartnersCampus Universidad Mayor de San Simón

PartnersCampus Universidad Mayor de San Simón in Bolivia works to strengthen the Cochabamba network and collaborate with the existing Student and Traditional Chapters in the region. The members of this Chapter hope to inspire other students at the Universidad Mayor de San Simón to engage in volunteerism and connect to diverse communities across the hemisphere, promoting a global impact in a local environment.

Fundación María Amor

Fundación María Amor in Ecuador is a social initiative of the Vicaría de Pastoral Social de Cuenca that provides support and comprehensive care to women and their children experiencing gender-based violence in the family. The organization builds relationships based on mutual respect, equity, and human dignity through an interdisciplinary team and inter-institutional coordination. The Fundación works to raise public awareness of domestic violence against women to generate and promote sensitivity and citizen and government responsibility.

PartnersCampus University of Vermont

PartnersCampus University of Vermont is Partners’ first student Chapter in the Northeastern U.S., which uniquely positions its members to serve as student leaders in community development and help to fill a critical gap in the community. With a formalized relationship with Partners’ Vermont Chapter, PartnersCampus University of Vermont will be an integral supporter of projects in Honduras and throughout Latin America.