Staff

Staff

CAD Design Engineering

Compatible Technology International (CTI) equips smallholder farmers in Africa with innovative tools and training to harvest and process food to nourish their families, bring their crops to market and rise above hunger and poverty. CTI’s headqarters are in St. Paul, MN with additional offices in Senegal and Malawi.

CTI is looking for a temporary drafter to support engineering efforts to design and manufacture postharvest processing equipment targeted for small-holder farmers and developing markets in Sub Saharan Africa.

Responsibilities:
  • Create models and drawings based on specifications from Technology Coordinator
  • Perform FEA testing on models and report results
  • Review models & drawings to ensure completeness, accuracy, and adherence to codes and standards
  • Provide manufacturing drawings for solutions requested in a timely manner, in line with project timelines
Requirements:
  • Associates Degree in Drafting or equivalent
  • Recent Solidworks and FEA training or experience (2 – 5 years’ experience)
  • Proficient in Solidworks modeling, drafting and Simulation analysis as shown by a portfolio of previous projects
  • Must have independent access to Solidworks license with Simulation package

The position is open immediately. Consultant will be paid hourly for 20 hours/ week lasting 4 – 6 months.

Any questions can be directed to Bridget Gerenz, Technology Coordinator. bridget@compatibletechnology.org

Administrative Assistant
Compatible Technology International (CTI)

Organization Summary: CTI equips smallholder farmers in Africa with innovative tools and training to harvest and process food to nourish their families, bring their crops to market and rise above hunger and poverty. We envision a world where hunger and poverty no longer exist.

Position Description: The Administrative Assistant is responsible for office administrative tasks such as preparing mailings and day-to-day data entry as well as providing direct support as needed for Development, Communications, and U.S-based program staff. This position reports to the Director of Philanthropy and Corporate Giving.

Schedule: 20 hours a week, $15 per hour

The administrative assistant is required to be at the office for all scheduled hours, but the schedule is flexible.

Responsibilities


·         Direct office communications:  Answer phone, route e-mail messages, process incoming and outgoing mail

·         Provide administrative support for the Executive Director

·         Filing CTI organizational documents (i.e. grants; HR; CTI policies)

·         Support vendor relationships and contracts with cleaning organization, postage machine, and office supplies, and others as applicable.

·         Oversee maintenance of office equipment (including copier, printers, postage meter and supplies)

·         Issue invoices and process payments

·         Maintain Salesforce database: data entry, records management

·         Coordinate thank you letters using mail-merge

·         Support activities related to the annual gala, including silent auction, table assignments, registration activities, and correspondence.

·         Support fundraising events and activities

Qualifications

·         Must be computer savvy and proficient in Microsoft Excel, Publisher, Word, and Outlook

·         Knowledge of operating standard office equipment

·         Excellent communication skills – written and verbal


To Apply

Send an email with a résumé and cover letter to Jobs@compatibletechnology.org with “Administrative Assistant” in the title. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

CTI recently collaborated with The Soybean Innovation Lab working to train our local manufacturing partner, C to C Engineering, on fabricating SIL's multi-crop thresher, originally developed in Ghana. The SIL thresher is designed to be low cost, produced locally, and can be used by farmers to shell maize and thresh soybean, rice, legumes, sorghum and other crops. With SIL's design, farmers can process soybean 40 percent faster with almost no loss compared to other larger and more expensive options. In the coming months, CTI will be working to adapt the thresher to fit the needs of farmers in Malawi to bring their crops to market.

The four day hands-on training in early December brought together engineers from across Africa -- C-to-C in Malawi fabricated SIL's original design with the assistance of Imoro Donmuah Sufiyanu, the original designer and manufacturer of the thresher from Ghana and Jeffrey Boakye Appiagyei, an engineer with SAYeTECH and AgriCad Africa.

The fabrication workshop team also included CTI's US based technology coordinator Bridget Gerenz, who will be overseeing the next phase of the project led by CTI to adapt the thresher to work best for Malawian farmers. With a now completed and locally built thresher, CTI's team will bring the machine into the field to be used by farmers around Malawi with a variety of crops including maize, peanuts, and soybean.

After initial testing and research using the thresher locally, we will explore how the thresher's design can be modified so it can be used throughout the country with local varieties of the crops (particularly peanuts, a valuable crop widely grown in Malawi) and potentially be adapted to be pedal powered.

Finally, the modified thresher will be used to test market conditions for target crops in the spring of 2019. CTI will be researching to ensure that farmers will see a return on investment from buying and using the CTI-modified thresher to process their crops to be sold at the market.

This fabrication and pilot study of the thresher in Malawi is supported through a generous grant from the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss and ADM Cares.
Friday, 26 October 2018

Hunger Issues Video Featuring CTI


Hunger, malnutrition, and food waste affects people around the world. Over 800 million people are malnourished globally and 1 out of 6 people in the U.S. face hunger. 

Around the globe, countless people and organizations like ours are working toward the goal of eradicating hunger for all wherever it may currently exist, from expanding opportunities for urban gardening in the U.S. to supporting smallholder farmers in Malawi with tools and training.

Girl Scouts River Valleys Troop 54052 (Meg Sebastian, Rebecca Teuber, Jasmine Rodriguez, and Nora Dixon) in Minnesota examined how people around the world are working together to fight hunger.
 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Contact:
Judy Hawkinson
Judy@compatibletechnology.org
651-632-3912



Ambassador of Malawi attends celebration at Compatible Technology International
His Excellency Edward Yakobe Sawerengera commends nonprofit’s success in Malawi

ST. PAUL, Minn./May 11, 2018 – Compatible Technology International (CTI) is pleased to welcome the Ambassador of Malawi Edward Yakobe Sawerengera, who will be visiting CTI’s global headquarters in St. Paul on Wednesday, May 16th. Ambassador Sawerengera will be commending the shipment of 20 Ewing VI Grinders to Malawi next month.

CTI is an international development nonprofit dedicated to ending global poverty by equipping rural communities in Africa with innovative post-harvest farm tools and training. The Ewing VI grinder is a hand-powered tool designed to alleviate the drudgery and labor of small-plot farmers who grind their harvested crops into food products like flours or pastes. As rural parts of sub-Saharan Africa often lack electricity and other resources, this work traditionally takes place using manual techniques and can take days of labor to complete. With the introduction of the CTI Ewing Grinder, farmers can earn more income from their farms with less time-intensive labor, leading a higher quality of life for their families. “When you think about that one tool, and how it can raise the standard of living in so many ways, it’s astounding. We are talking about a whole new life,” says Judy Hawkinson, CTI’s Director of Outreach and Philanthropy.

In Malawi, CTI grinders are often used by peanut farmers to create valuable, nutritious peanut butter – replacing manual methods of processing and producing high-quality food products up to six times faster. The shipment of 20 grinders will first arrive at CTI food technology center in Malawi and it will be delivered across five regions of the country, impacting at least 2,000 people.

CTI also works with local fabricators in Malawi to build a suite of additional tools for peanut farmers without access to highly-mechanized machines to more efficiently harvest and shell peanuts (called groundnut in Malawi) with higher quality results, meaning their peanuts are less likely go to waste from spoilage.

Ambassador Sawerengera is arriving with the support from CTI’s community of supporters in partnership with fellow St. Paul-based nonprofit Books for Africa, who are assisting with the grinder shipment by providing space in a container of donated books also bound for Malawi.

About Compatible Technology International: A St. Paul, Minnesota-based nonprofit that equips smallholder farmers in Africa with innovative tools and training to harvest and process food to nourish their families, bring their crops to market and rise above hunger and poverty. Over the years its 35 year history, CTI’s farming and food processing technologies have helped 500,000 people in 40 countries. CTI's unique approach to sustainable development has proven to result in a better food yield, improved nutrition and increased family incomes. For more information about CTI, visit http://www.compatibletechnology.org/

About Ambassador Edward Yakobe Sawerengera: Ambassador Sawerengera holds a Diploma in Agriculture from Bunda College of Agriculture of the University of Malawi, a Post-Graduate Certificate in Agricultural Marketing and Supply from Loughborough Cooperative College-UK, and an MBA in Strategic Management from Strathclyde Graduate Business School-UK.

Previously, he served as the Ambassador of Malawi to the Federal Republic of Brazil. Ambassador Sawerengera worked as Director General for State Residences. While at State House, he established favorable and constructive working relationships with various sections of the Presidency, including State House, the President's Advisory Team, and the Office of the President and Cabinet.

About Books for Africa: Books For Africa is a 501(c )(3) nonprofit organization serving as the largest shipper of donated text and library books to the African continent. Books For Africa has received the highest rating from Charity Navigator. Learn more: www.booksforafrica.org

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PHASE III OF McKNIGHT FOUNDATION FUNDED PROJECT LAUNCHED IN MALAWI

Advancing the Development and Adoption of Post-Harvest Grain Legume Technologies by Smallholder Farmers in Malawi and Tanzania

Compatible Technology International (CTI), on 5th February, 2018, launched the third phase of a McKnight Foundation funded project “Advancing the Development and Adoption of Post-Harvest Grain Legume Technologies by Smallholder Farmers in Malawi and Tanzania”.

The project, which aims to improve competitiveness and livelihoods of smallholder grain legume producers in Malawi and Tanzania, through the development of labor-saving technologies has in the past two phases introduced groundnut post-harvest handling tools, including a lifter, stripper and sheller to smallholder farmers in Malawi and Tanzania.

The previous two phases also involved gathering data on the technologies impact on gender, efficiency as well as farmers’ willingness and ability to adopt the technologies. Currently, many smallholder farmers both in groups and individuals, who have bought the machines have reported a massive reduction in physical drudgery associated with groundnut production, as well as reduction in post-harvest losses, among others.

The third phase of the project, which runs up to 2020, aims to promote adoption of groundnut post-harvest technologies and other grain crops. Among others, CTI aim to leverage on National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM)’s farmer networks to launch Food Technology Centers (FTC), which will create market and business opportunities for smallholder farmers, especially youth and women, in Malawi.

Through the FTC, farmers will have access to food processing technologies, as well as training related to production, post-harvest handling and sale of value added products to local markets. The FTC will include a targeted effort to women’s groups and capacity building among the youth leading to job creation.

CTI also aims to develop more post-harvest innovations for other key legumes in Malawi, like soybeans, pigeon peas and sweet beans. Research will be conducted to establish how the additional technologies can help reduce labor constraints, improve food quality and eventually contribute to improving smallholder farmers’ livelihood.

The project has a research component which will assess the demand for legumes post-harvest technologies among smallholder farmers in Tanzania, also included are demonstration sessions and field based farmer- evaluation of selected tools.

The launched was followed by a one-day planning meeting, during which CTI and partner organizations including the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) and NASFAM developed a revised theory of change based on the concept of Farmer Research Network (FRN). Participants also reviewed the project’s previous Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) plan as well as the project work plan.



Part of the participants to the inception and work planning meeting
GKI Post
Between the farm and the market, around 50% of food worldwide is lost before it reaches consumers, according to the UN. As the global population continues to grow, there are a handful of innovation areas that can be invested in immediately to fight the food loss.

“…in Sub-Saharan Africa between 30-60% of all food grown never reaches consumers.”
The Global Knowledge Institute

The Global Knowledge Institute (GKI), with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, consulted 50 experts to identify solutions to the problem of global food loss, including CTI’s Executive Director Alexandra Spieldoch.

GKI identified 22 “investible innovations,” ranging from data collection techniques to packaging, which can solve the problem of food loss between harvest and market, including “near farm mobile processing.”

“Near farm mobile processing and packaging is what CTI is doing,” says Spieldoch, “Our tools are portable and designed to be used by farmers in remote/rural areas.”

Most processing of crops takes place on a large industrial scale. With small harvest sizes combined with a limited shelf life after harvest to reach the processing stage, small farmers in remote areas simply lack the resources to access industrial scale processing where it takes place. CTI is working right now and investing today to fill this gap.

CTI in Senegal is distributing affordable threshers that allow pearl millet farmers to thresh and winnow their harvests efficiently and locally. In Malawi, CTI has groundnut tools to quickly strip and shell nuts and a grinder to make them into products that can be sold at market.

“Tools at the farm level support less food loss, more diversified diets and more access for small farmers,” explains Spieldoch.

Another “investible innovation” area in the report is improving farmer business knowledge to help them be competitive in the market.

“Through all of our programs, CTI is providing technical, business and food safety training to support farmers beyond simply getting tools into their hands. Our work and the work of all organizations working towards building up food systems in emerging markets have to move in this direction.”

Learn more about CTI’s approach: http://compatibletechnology.org/what-we-do/our-approach.html

Read more about the report or read the full report: http://globalknowledgeinitiative.org/2017/10/26/global-knowledge-initiative-publishes-new-report-on-the-role-of-innovation-in-transforming-food-systems-in-emerging-markets/
Thursday, 12 October 2017

Stories of Impact: Ireen



Ireen is a farmer in Chaombwa Village, Malawi.  She is part of a farmer's group who collectively purchased CTI peanut tools and saw an immediate impact on her farm, in her life, and in the life of her children.

"We are now very happy families as we no longer have to struggle with basic necessities like soap."

Support women like Ireen by making an easy online donation today at our donation page.

See more stories like Ireen's by following CTI on Facebook, Twitter (@CompatibleTech), or Instagram.



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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Contact: Ricardo Romero                                                                                       
Ricardo@compatibletechnology.org
651-632-3912 


Compatible Technology International Receives Important Award from USAID to Make Millet Threshing Easier for Women Smallholder Farmers in Senegal


St. Paul, MN/July 20, 2017 —Compatible Technology International (CTI), a St. Paul nonprofit, has received a $2.2 million award from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement the project ‘USAID|Yombal mbojj’ in Senegal, which literally means making threshing easier in Wolof.

Senegal is a country with nearly 15 million people which imports half its food needs and is a chronic food deficit country, with an estimated 2.2 million people who are food insecure. Pearl millet is a crop that grows well in the Western Sahel and holds promise as  it is part of the traditional diet, drought resistant and nutritious. There are more than 230,000 millet farmers in Senegal, with the knowledge gained there eventually reaching and helping as many as 4 million farmers in West Africa. The majority of these farmers still use traditional methods to thresh millet. Women first pound their harvested millet with a mortar and pestle and then winnow it in the wind to sort the grain from the other plant materials. This process is grueling, tedious and inefficient.

USAID|Yombal mbojj will reduce drudgery and strengthen the pearl millet value chain in Senegal by working directly with smallholder pearl millet farmers, particularly women. The project will also prioritize partnerships with the African private sector to manufacture and equip Senegalese farmers with mechanized millet threshers designed by CTI in addition to providing  training and technical support. 

“We are so pleased to have this opportunity to work with USAID to develop a sustainable postharvest market and to realize large-scale impact in Senegal,” said Alexandra Spieldoch, Executive Director of CTI. “There is so much power in providing women farmers and young adults with access to tools and training, and opening up new doors for economic opportunity and growth.With access to these millet tools, small farmers can participate in a growth model that benefits not only them, but urban consumers as well.”

USAID|Yombal mbojj will have a significant impact on reducing hunger and poverty in Senegal and, eventually, all over West Africa,” Spieldoch said. “Senegal is a close ally of the United States government and has set an example of democratic rule as well as ethnic and religious tolerance. We are committed to investing in the well-being of their people.”

About Compatible Technology International: A St. Paul, Minnesota-based nonprofit that equips smallholder farmers in Africa with innovative tools and training to harvest and process food to nourish their families, bring their crops to market and rise above hunger and poverty. Over the years its 35 year history, CTI’s technologies have helped 500,000 people in 40 countries.  http://www.compatibletechnology.org/



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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Field Notes from Malawi

Written by Bupe Mulaga Mwakasungula, Malawi Project Manager

LovenessBlogLet me introduce you to a true superhero. Loveness is a farmer and entrepreneur from a small town in Kasungu District in Malawi. She’s the main breadwinner for her family — her husband passed away last year – and she runs several businesses including a small grocery store and a farm where she grows peanuts and sugarcane.

Loveness has 10 children depending on her, so we were blown away when she told us she’s managed to educate them all. Some of her kids are working now, while others are finishing secondary school. She owns a few cows, an iron sheet house – a luxury – and as of a few weeks ago, she’s also the proud owner of a CTI peanut stripper.

Loveness is the first farmer to purchase a peanut stripper on her own, rather than as part of a women’s group. CTI’s peanut stripper helps farmers rapidly remove peanut pods from the stem, and is part of a suite of tools that also includes equipment for harvesting and shelling peanuts. The tools help farmers produce more peanuts with far less effort, and they improve the quality and market value of their crop.

“My plan is to have all three of CTI’s peanut tools so I can use them on my field and earn money lending them out to other farmers.”

Loveness is a role model in her community, and when she starts using new technologies, others follow. Loveness is organizing a meeting with her neighbors this month so she can show them how to use the stripper.

“Owning these tools, for me, is a sign of wealth,” she told us. “Please bring me a sheller, I will buy it too.”

We are collaborating with farmer organizations throughout Malawi to introduce our peanut tools to farmer leaders and women’s organizations. We provide tools, training and ongoing support, while the farmer groups cover the material costs of the peanut equipment through loans or savings.

As we monitor their progress over the next year, we’re learning about the most effective models for farmers to purchase the equipment and earn a return on their investment – valuable information which will help us scale the tools in Malawi and throughout the region. Thank you to our generous donors, as well as the McKnight Foundation and the CHS Foundation, for supporting this work.

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