Dear all!

Commitment. At Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung, almost everything builds upon commitment. The work done by HRNS in 15 years has been marked by values such as reliability, working side-by-side with farming families and being an ally rather than an implementer. Our teams are truly committed in supporting and making smallholder families prosper.

Without any previews of what the new year was going to bring, we were all faced with a multifaceted stress test when COVID-19 hit the planet. In 2020, commitment became specifically important.

However, while we were all challenged by the pandemic, we were also impressed by the additional level of commitment this global health crisis triggered within our work and partnerships. As an organization, we witnessed our team’s efforts to inform farmer communities, keep trainings going remotely and innovate ways of working through digital channels from the very beginning.

Virtual training sessions were conducted, training videos produced, a coffee sustainability classroom went online, dialogue through messenger groups increased, radio shows started, and webinars were organized. The list goes on!

All of that would not have been possible without the ongoing commitment and support of our partners. They stood side-by-side with farmer communities and never stopped asking what they could do to provide support.  Their empathy, concerns and willingness to know how the situation in each of our project regions developed are impressive.

Getting messages from the field and hearing smallholder families tell their stories became an encouraging motivator for us. It showed us the importance of our work during this Coronavirus pandemic.

Smallholder families played the key role in times of the pandemic

I must say, the commitment and desire we’ve seen in smallholder families to overcome this crisis has been striking as well. Being hit with strict lockdown measures on top of existing hardships smallholders were already facing, they did not give up. In Central America for example, families were eager to learn new techniques and find alternative solutions to remain food secure. Within weeks they were able to start completely new business such as fish hatcheries.

Unfortunately, our commitment to adapt in Central America was tested once again, when Hurricanes Eta and Iota pummeled project regions in Guatemala and Honduras this November. Smallholder families in these regions are extremely vulnerable and have been hit hard during this time.

As 2020 is coming to an end, I’d like to wish you all, on behalf of our global HRNS team, a time of rest with your loved ones and a good start into 2021. At HRNS, we will continue to reflect and further develop on the learnings that this global disruption has taught us on the ground.

Please stay healthy and secure. 2021 will see us all emerging with new energy and everlasting commitment.

With best regards

Michael Opitz
Managing Director
Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS)

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