FAQs

Farmer To Farmer Slide

F2F Pandemic FAQs

1) WHAT IS CRS F2F DOING DURING THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC?

CRS is using a remote paired volunteer model, which uses local volunteer experts in their own countries to do in-person assignments with the remote support of American volunteers. These assignments are conducted as local situations allow. Please read more about the model here.

2) DOES THE REMOTE PAIRED VOLUNTEER MODEL REALLY WORK WELL?

While the remote paired volunteer model faces unique challenges including connectivity, time zone differences, language, and more, initial feedback indicates the model is helping many of our hosts. There are also some unique benefits. For example, this story {link forthcoming} highlights how local volunteers can also experience career growth through volunteerism. CRS F2F’s main focus is continuing to monitor and meet host needs as best we can during these difficult times.

3) I AM NEW TO FARMER TO FARMER AND DON’T KNOW WHAT THE ROGRAM WAS LIKE BEFORE THE PANDEMIC. CAN YOU EXPLAIN?

Before April 2020, American volunteers were sent on 2-3 week international trips to conduct assignments in a variety of agricultural disciplines. Since CRS cannot resume volunteer travel yet, we are using the remote paired volunteer model instead.

4) I AM VACCINATED/READY TO TRAVEL AGAIN. WHY AREN’T YOU SENDING AMERICAN VOLUNTEERS? WHEN WILL TRAVEL RESUME?

CRS Farmer to Farmer is not ready to resume international travel. As we evaluate when we could resume, we consider these factors:

While we are uncertain when travel will resume, we feel a few of our countries may be ready in early 2022.

5) HOW LONG ARE FARMER TO FARMER ASSIGNMENTS?

Most assignments, whether traditional or remote paired, are 2-3 weeks long. Occasionally assignments can be longer.

6) FARMER TO FARMER ALWAYS REQUIRED CITIZENSHIP OR PERMANENT RESIDENCY, BUT NOW LOCA, NON-AMERICAN VOLUNTEERS ARE PARTICPATING AS WELL. HAVE THESE REQUIREMENTS BEEN RELAXED? WILL THEY CONTINUE THIS WAY AFTER THE PANDEMIC?

Yes, currently, the on-the-ground volunteer can be any nationality. This allows CRS to locate volunteers within F2F countries. However, USAID has asked us to pair each non-American volunteer with a remotely supporting American volunteer. This helps carry out the secondary goal of the program, “to increase the U.S. public’s understanding of international development issues and programs and international understanding of the U.S. and U.S. development.” Our American volunteers also support the local volunteer’s assignment design and provide needed resources.

CRS anticipates that as the pandemic wanes, USAID may permit Farmer to Farmer programming to have a mix of local and American volunteers. While post-pandemic operations are hard to predict, CRS hopes that USAID will continue to allow the participation of some local volunteers, to help with periodic program challenges. CRS F2F is proud of our local volunteers, who serve their fellow citizens in times of true crisis.

Traditional F2F FAQs

FAQs in this section refer to traditional F2F programming that was done before the pandemic. These answers do not apply to the current remote paired model.

1) DO I HAVE TO BE A US CITIZEN TO VOLUNTEER FOR THE FARMER-TO-FARMER PROGRAM?

Per USAID grant guidelines, Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers must hold US citizenship or permanent residency.

2) WHO PAYS FOR MY EXPENSES?

CRS will pay for your expenses with Farmer-to-Farmer grant funds. We will cover the cost of your travel vaccinations and malaria pills, airfare, in country travel, visa, meals, lodging, supplemental medical and evacuation insurance, and allowable costs.

3) HOW LONG ARE THE ASSIGNMENTS?

The assignments are 2-4 weeks long, with the average assignment lasting between 2-3 weeks. In rare cases, a volunteer may stay beyond 4 weeks.

4) WHERE ARE THE ASSIGNMENTS BASED?

The majority of CRS’ Farmer-to-Farmer assignments are based in Timor-Leste, Nepal, Benin, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia. Assignments in Liberia are forthcoming.

5) DO I HAVE A CHOICE IN THE COUNTRY IN WHICH I WILL BE PLACED?

You may certainly express a preference for a particular country. However, we encourage applicants to be open to an assignment in a country where their skills sets are needed most.

6) WHAT WILL MY LODGING BE LIKE?

When staying in a capital city your lodging will be mid-level. In a rural setting lodging will be simple, but adequate. All volunteers will have their own rooms, with access to a bathroom. You might stay in a local hotel, guest house, or other lodging that our country partners provide. All volunteer lodging adheres to CRS safety standards.

7) I WOULD LIKE TO VOLUNTEER WITH A FRIEND/SPOUSE. IS THIS POSSIBLE?

The Farmer-to-Farmer program sometimes pairs volunteers in a region, so it may be possible to place you with a friend or spouse, depending on the project needs and your companion’s skill set.

8) A FRIEND RECOMMENDED YOUR PROGRAM TO ME, BUT I’M NOT SURE I’M REALLY QUALIFIED. HOW CAN I BE SURE?

Program applicants need not hold degrees or have technical certifications in order to be chosen as volunteers. We can’t place every applicant, but we recommend that those interested register in our database for consideration. If you’d like to discuss your qualifications for the program further, please contact farmertofarmer@crs.org.

9) I’M NOT A FARMER NOR DO I HAVE ANY AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCE. CAN I STILL VOLUNTEER?

Yes, it is still possible for you to volunteer if your skill set is needed. While many of our projects require on agricultural expertise, we also have assignments for areas such as finance, management, leadership, nutrition, food processing, etc.

10) DO I NEED TO SPEAK A SECOND LANGUAGE IN ORDER TO VOLUNTEER?

No, Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers do not need to speak a language other than English. Field interpreters will be provided by the program as needed. While this is not a requirement, French language speakers are especially appreciated in Benin.

11) I DON’T HAVE A RESUME. DO I NEED ONE TO APPLY?

Yes, we like to have basic information in a format that is easy to share with our country programs. If you don’t have a resume, you can find a simple template here, and modify it to meet your needs.

12) WHEN/HOW WILL I KNOW IF I HAVE BEEN CHOSEN FOR AN ASSIGNMENT?

If you are selected for an assignment, a member of the Farmer-to-Farmer team will reach out to you via phone or email. As we are continually searching for volunteers on a rolling basis, we retain all applications for future use.  We encourage you to monitor the assignments page for assignments that match your skills sets and reach out to the recruiter specified in the assignment scope of work to express your interest. This greatly increases your chances to be considered for an assignment you qualify for.

13) HOW CAN I BE SURE THAT MY SHORT ASSIGNMENT WILL REALLY HAVE AN IMPACT?

The Farmer-to-Farmer program has a monitoring and evaluation system to monitor assignment impacts. We strive to arrange impactful assignments through a three step process:

  1. addressing real needs: Farmer-to-Farmer identifies current gaps in agricultural value chains that are not being fully met by local organizations in each country
  2. volunteer selection and support: Farmer-to-Farmer selects volunteers who are qualified to address these gaps and ensures that they have an accurate assessment and proper tools to complete their assignments
  3. assignment follow-up: Farmer-to-Farmer collects assignment write-ups and recommended action plans to help build on successes achieved.

14) IS IT SAFE TO VOLUNTEER OVERSEAS?

CRS takes volunteer safety and security very seriously. We have staff dedicated to continual assessment of current conditions and events in our country programs. Each volunteer will learn about staff safety before departure and will be briefed upon arrival. We have developed safety protocol for each country and are committed to maintaining robust security for volunteers.