Organisation - September 4, 2018

WUR aims to combat hunger through collaboration with international NGO

Albert Sikkema

WUR intends to collaborate with the international humanitarian organisation Mercy Corps. During the SDG conference on 31 August, Louise Fresco signed a partnership agreement with Simon O'Connell, director of Mercy Corps for Europe.

© Guy Ackermans

Mercy Corps is a humanitarian organisation founded in the United States. It has 5000 employees and is active in 40 developing countries. The NGO mainly has projects in countries that experience conflicts and natural disasters. Mercy Corps receives funds from public organisations, such as the American development agency and the Swiss and Norwegian governments, and from private financiers, such as the Gates Foundation and Coca-Cola. The NGO recently opened an office in The Hague and wants to collaborate with Wageningen, ‘one of the best agricultural universities in the world’.

The partnership agreement with Mercy Corps will lead to joint projects in developing countries, explains Jennie van der Mheen, who arranged the agreement on behalf of WUR. The two organisations have been working together for over a year. They are working on a project proposal for the Swiss government in the area of agrilogistics and post-harvest management in Myanmar. The project involves researchers from Food & Biobased Research at WUR.

Big data
Besides the aforementioned project, Mercy Corps and WUR will work on a large project in the area of big data and access to agricultural credit for African farmers. They will also work on a joint proposal in the field of sustainable agriculture in Niger. ‘Mercy Corps aims to work through an evidence-based approach’, says Van der Mheen. ‘They want to link with knowledge and are involving us to bring in the latest knowledge and validate innovative projects.’ She expects the total value of the collaboration to be around several million euros.

Mutual benefit
The talks with Mercy Corps regarding the collaboration are going smoothly and pleasantly, says Van der Mheen. ‘Both parties can offer their partner benefits. Mercy Corps asks us to partake in projects they are working on, and we bring our network in touch with Mercy Corps.’