GLOBAL NETWORKS: Volunteers’ Networks Amplify Results

  • IMPACT Highlights

Our volunteers’ continued engagement brings sustainable success and stretches U.S. donor assistance through added resources and enduring remote coaching and friendship.


Volunteers are selected for particular assignments because they have the skills and experience to address specific problems. Frequently volunteers offer more than their own expertise; they involve their networks to facilitate business connections, raise funds to meet community needs and recruit more volunteers.

Volunteer Melody Meyer, Vice President of Policy and Industry Relations for United Natural Foods, Inc, was recruited by VEGA member International Executive Service Corps to help develop Tunisia’s potential to export organic foods. She activated her vast network of contacts in the U.S. organics market, shared her expertise, and worked closely with the producers to help them enter new markets.


Ms. Meyer organized a buying mission with four U.S. buyers, none of which had considered sourcing from Tunisia previously, but all of which were interested in follow-up contact. The connections she developed with business owners as she continued to mentor them after she returned home helped her represent them.

Within several months, the project sent four producers to a major U.S. trade show. There, she facilitated 23 meetings with prospective importers and sales agents and highlighted companies and trends. Ms. Meyer’s coaching helped the producers tell a compelling story of Tunisian organics.

The trip resulted in significant sales agreements and prepared them to meet U.S. standards and expectations.

Volunteering is a real world way to … experience something new and rewarding. It’s a way to truly give, just for the satisfaction of helping others achieve a better life.
– Melody Meyer, volunteer

Food Show Results


Buyers and producers at Tunisian olive oil plant.

Buyers and producers at Tunisian olive oil plant.

Emerging businesses leapt into the U.S. market because Ms. Meyer shared her expertise and her networks. U.S. buyers now see Tunisia as a source of reliable quality products that can meet organic and international export certification standards.

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Volunteers’ professional networks help enterprises enter markets. Harold Handley, a retired Senior Vice President of McCormick & Company, who has volunteered multiple times on International Executive Service Corps-managed assignments, played an integral role in improving Sri Lanka’s cinnamon industry by tapping into his extensive professional network.

Volunteers raise additional resources that benefit communities. After returning home from a Winrock-managed assignment in Guinea, volunteer Anais Troadec inspired a group in Hot Springs, Arkansas to donate more than $1,400 for school benches and uniforms, especially for girls, so that more children in the village of Nialya can attend school.

Volunteers recruit more volunteers to expand possibilities. After his assignment ended, Robert Alexandriysky, volunteering for the International Executive Service Corps-managed project in Tunisia, continued to advise Tunisian textile and garment enterprises and recruited another volunteer, a German textile design expert. Together they advised firms on German market conditions and organized a trade mission to help them develop ties with German firms.

Without Melody’s assistance, we wouldn’t have been as productive at the Fancy Food Show. She prepared us … and personalized all of our introductions to the U.S. buyers. Before the Fancy Food Show, I thought we would never export to the U.S.
– Leif Tlemcani, Owner of Herbiotech

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