Traditional farming methods practiced by farmers in the Philippines are becoming less reliable with unpredictable changes in weather patterns due to climate change. Inaccurate weather information would mean inefficient planning of farm activities from seeding to land preparation to post-harvest. This would also result to mismanagement of agricultural inputs, the risk of incurring unnecessary costs and low production and profit. There are many new technologies available to improve agricultural productivity but these are not readily affordable for most smallholder farmers.
Improving Productivity in Agriculture through Climate-Smart Technology in the Philippines (ImPACT Phils.) is a partnership with DEG and Pessl Instruments GmbH under the DeveloPPP program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It aims to improve the agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers and farming communities in the Philippines by providing access to relevant information, data, and technology. The Pessl-manufactured METOS instruments measure environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity, rainfall, leaf wetness and insect pressure based on a farm’s location.
The project’s success would be measured by the reduction in the cost spent by the farmers on fertilizers, pesticides and water; and the increase in income and savings by at least 10 percent. In the long run, sufficient historical data will be established through the system, which would contribute to the development of disease models, yield forecasting, crop water management and harvest cycle models for the varieties of crops particularly grown in the Philippines.
From 2000 to 2012, natural disasters in the Philippines took the lives of 12,899 people and injured 138,116. As part of ASSIST’s Social Actions, the board game Master of Disaster was developed to raise awareness among children and stimulate their interest on what leads to man-made disasters and more importantly, teach them how to respond to emergency situations. The game will teach children both, the values of independent thinking and teamwork, in addition to helping them build a strong sense of discipline and strategic decision-making while they are young.
Master of Disaster was created through an iterative development model centered on study and consultation, which ensured both education and entertainment. Gamification experts, disaster response experts, teachers, students and parents all participated in the development of this board game. By mid-2017, we had conducted tests with 200 students of varying ages, across 15 schools and community centers along with the facilitation of 75 teachers. This board game is distributed free of cost to public schools in the most disaster-prone areas.
AsianNGO was established in 2014 with the sole purpose of supporting and empowering the players working in the development sector. As a social enterprise venture of ASSIST, AsianNGO is the first and only platform for Asia’s social sector. It was initiated to address the three main issues that NGOs face today: finding funds, partners and relevant learning resources for better management.
iMPACT Magazine, AsianNGO’s own print magazine features a wide range of news, trends, insights and best practices from some of the most influential minds in the development sector. The print magazine puts out an issue quarterly with articles, interviews, commentaries, reviews, all covering a variety of sectors, and is delivered to 30,000 readers worldwide. The e-newsletter is sent out each week to over 19,000 contacts with a specially featured article, event, and organization and funds notifications. The online portal allows interested organizations and individuals to search for funds, experts, events and other organizations with a personalized dashboard.
Myanmar’s recent political shift has given rise to a market-oriented economy and the performance of the import and export sector is underpinned by increasing production and industrial development. The food sector is the one at the forefront, representing 63.51% of the overall industrial sector in Myanmar. Hand-in-hand with this development comes the call of international and local organizations for better conditions in the food industry and adoption of international food safety standards.
Bureau Veritas together with ASSIST, is working to raise awareness about food safety through introducing food safety requirements based GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) and HACCP scope to the fruits processing industry in Myanmar; to minimize risks to business and consumers and ensure that products uphold international quality standards. This would also benefit factories, enabling them to produce better products, increase production and enjoy increased sales and exports.
This project will engage industry owners and fruit companies to engage with each other and generate commitment to implement and promote food safety standards and resource-efficient practices in the industry. Training programs will capacitate food safety experts and create local consultants on GMP and HACCP to provide guidance for 20 fruit processing factories in compliance with standard requirements. These factories will also receive training on compliance, assessment visits, and certification.
Vietnam is the world’s leading exporter of pepper. While this industry exports to 97 countries, it also serves as an important contributor to the country’s economic growth, while bringing good revenue for farmers. However, this fast growth entailed challenges in enforcing appropriate food safety practices. Adverse weather conditions, pests, and diseases pushed farmers to use pesticides with poor awareness of their impact. With this, risks to Vietnam’s pepper acceptance in global markets have been identified.
ASSIST, together with Eurofins Sac Ky Hai Dang Company Ltd and DEG, launched Safe Pepper – a project that aims to increase Vietnam’s pepper export quality and improve international competitiveness. In cooperation with the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, beneficiary cooperatives were identified, followed by a comprehensive status quo analysis of pepper cultivation, particularly with regard to the use of pesticides and production and export patterns in Vietnam.
As a result, the project was able to engage farmers, processors, and local experts through awareness campaigns, workshops, events, and training of trainers (ToTs). Knowledge sharing on regulations and quality standards were expounded through fertilizer and land treatment courses as well as pesticide treatment courses. Moving forward, the project aims to sustain impact through developing case studies on the improvement of farmers’ income, agricultural practices and quality standards for know-how transfer.
Sugarcane farming is one of the most important segments in Indian agriculture. Over 50 million growers find livelihood through this crop supplying to the sugar industry, for which India ranks 2nd in the world economy. Maharashtra, the largest sugarcane belt in the country, suffers from unpredictable monsoons as well as low farmer yields (80T/HA), which can be largely attributed to unsustainable farming practices such as poor irrigation, lack of proper care for the soil, use of manual labor and related costs. However, over one-third of the yield comes from medium hold sugarcane farmers, indicating that building their capacity on sustainable practices and smart mechanization will work wonders to increase the overall yield of sugarcane.
ASSIST, SDF and DEG have partnered to implement Smart 4 Green – a structured project meant to sensitize sugarcane farmers on good agricultural practices, packaged into a practical and sustainable guide and coupled with a level of mechanization, that can help enhance the sugarcane farming sector and revive livelihood in these areas. The key objectives of the project are increasing awareness on 4 feet sugarcane plantation methods, upgrading farmer capacity on sustainable farming and smart mechanization, value chain enhancement through dealer training and ensuring the presence of continued support for farmers.
This project aims to support sugarcane farmers in the adoption of sustainable practices and smart mechanization through numerous interventions and partnerships with local academic institutions, government agencies, and financial service providers. A Farmer Help Centre for sugarcane farmers will be set up to provide continuous support and consultation. Pilot demonstration farms using the improved operations will be established, closely monitored and showcased for the sugarcane farmers who will also be undergoing training sessions. By the end of this project, sugarcane farmers in Maharashtra will understand the benefit and utilize advanced farming practices and mechanization, strengthening India’s sugarcane value chain and the overall agricultural sector.
Current patterns of energy consumption will lead to increased demand for thermal energy by almost 700% by 2050 when compared to 2005 levels. At the same time, the number of buildings is expected to manifold by 40% which contribute significantly to the increased energy usage. In order to minimize the energy use, we need to maximize the savings by implementing a sustainable Building Management System (BMS) in buildings, which will better manage as well as improve energy usage and performance, through the use of hardware, information, and data.
To achieve these objectives, the project focuses on creating awareness among business owners and decision makers about the importance of sustainable BMS implementation; attempts to enhance capacity among local facility technicians through establishment of state-of-the-art BMS training facility and up-skilling through targeted trainings; and implements pilots as showcases for sustainable BMS at prominent buildings in varied sectors to strengthen awareness.
Currently, CII-GBC, the home of Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) hosts one pilot solution while another IT company in Chennai called Aspire Systems hosts the second pilot – exhibiting significant savings and GHG reduction through a strong BMS solution. Furthermore, the training centre has been established at and in partnership with Dr. Ambedkar Institute of Productivity (AIP) – National Productivity Council (NPC), Chennai, a prestigious central government institute under the Ministry of Industry & Commerce, Government of India – paving way for practical learning, sustained operations and affordable up-skilling among technicians.
The construction boom in Vietnam, especially in the urban areas, is providing more business opportunities for the elevator/escalator (mobility) industry. For a fast developing country like Vietnam, raising the awareness of workplace safety & workplace productivity (efficiency) can be considered as a crucial part for sustainable growth and align local workforce standard to that of the developed world.
ASSIST, in partnership with Schindler Vietnam has collaborated on a project called ELEVATE Vietnam whose objective is to raise awareness and transfer knowledge on safe and energy efficient use and deployment of elevators and escalators to minimize health risks that result from malfunction and incorrect use. Activities related to the project consist of collection, assessment and evaluation of current training program, subsequent actions to improve the training curricula, creation of training materials with support from Schindler experts and parallel translation, the identification of representatives for each target group of the project (public users, suppliers, customers, relevant ministry/departments/agencies, government officials, universities and students) and conduction of training on safety and energy efficiency.
The project aims to achieve these lasting impacts: improvements in the training of technical workforce will bring benefits in terms of higher employment rate, fewer accidents, and an enabled private sector. The trainers will be better capacitated and connected to provide relevant and targeted training. Moreover, the project is expected to benefit the wider society as end-users of elevators and escalators, which would now be safer to use and continuously maintained for lesser disruptions. With 50% of the work done, it aims to deliver before the end of 2018, the successful establishment of training courses and execution of the awareness campaign and training on the safe and efficient use of elevators and escalators.
Vietnam has approximately 53 million workers, 83.5 percent of which are manual laborers without any vocational certificates (especially, in the elevator services industry). A report by World Bank shows that Vietnam currently ranks on the bottom half of the rankings on ASEAN labor force development.
ASSIST, together with KONE Vietnam LLC, developed a project called PROMPT to improve and promote technical training in Vietnam through a dual education model and advance safety and quality of testing and maintaining elevator service. It aims at motivating students and existing workforce to think and focus on the quality of their labor, in a sense, becoming technicians instead of just manual workforce as mechanics. The goal of the project is to enhance the skills and attitudes of technical workers, attempting a shift towards taking pride in quality or work and skills improvement.
The project team has commenced working on the development of the training curricula based on the existing agenda and improved it according to a collected feedback from potential employers of the students in the private sector. A complete needs and requirements assessment will be conducted to evaluate the biggest gaps in education and enhance the employability of the graduates. For sustainability, the partner training academy will be capacitated to run the improved training program by training their trainers. The same course will be targeting trainers from other technical schools as well and include senior experts in the field, who can continue with in-company advance training programs. Currently, a training program for electricians with sessions within the private sector is being implemented. Additionally, the KONE Training Center at the College has commenced development.