Connexus Corporation is pleased to announce that it was recently awarded its first prime contract from USAID. The award was made after a year long co-creation process based on Connexus’ concept paper submitted in response to USAID/Feed the Future’s small business set-aside opportunity, Small Business Applied Research (SBAR). Started in 2007, this small women-owned consulting firm has been growing over the past twelve years, assisting with project implementation in 28 countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Often invited to lead Access to Finance components by traditional USAID prime contractors, Connexus is excited to now have the opportunity to demonstrate its leadership potential. As CEO and Founder, Anita Campion explains, “We have a strong commitment to developing sustainable local capacity to create systemic approaches to address the complexities of agricultural market development, strengthening networks and systems from the ground up, while responding to end market needs and respecting local values.”  Building on Connexus’ successful work with youth groups on horticulture in Rwanda (see photo), below is a description of the new Activity:

Feed the Future Senegal Nafoore Warsaaji (Gardens of Abundance) Activity. This 3-year activity funded by USAID as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, kicked off startup activities in Senegal on March 11, 2020. The activity employs market-based approaches to link Senegalese vegetable and fruit farmers with market information and proven technologies.  In particular, Connexus is working closely with NCBA CLUSA’s Feed the Future Senegal Kawolor Project to link women farmers to an array of value chain actors including input suppliers, Last Mile Entrepreneurs (LMEs), off-takers, transporters, and buyers by fostering creative partnerships and providing innovative finance across the horticultural value chain. By the end of three years, Connexus anticipates 20,000 farmers will benefit from new technologies, enabling a 50% increase in smallholder gross margins, substantial increases in horticultural sales and private sector investment in Senegal’s horticulture value chains. Connexus’ work is improving the organization, logistics and governance of horticulture value chains with enhanced technical assistance, increased access to finance, improved adoption of technology, and structured deals between end-market buyers and growers.

By participating in SBAIC’s Board as a Co-Chair of the Procurement Committee, Ms. Campion noted, “not only was I able to share my knowledge from managing USG-funded projects for the past 20+ years, I gained knowledge from my peers on what worked for them in growing their international business. In addition, I had more opportunities to interface with USAID staff and track shifting priorities. When USAID created the SBAR opportunity as a small business set-aside, I decided to participate and really learn about the co-creation process. Now, I am a believer that co-creation is a good way for USAID to work with small businesses to make sure new projects meet the full range of needs from the local mission and country. I hope that USAID will continue to use this mechanism to offer expanded opportunities for small businesses as part of its New Partner Initiative.”

About Connexus Corporation.  Connexus’ mission is to provide high quality global consulting services to transform international development and build local capacity. Connexus focuses on bridging the knowledge and communication gaps between public and private sectors, financial institutions and enterprises, agricultural producers and end market buyers. For more information on Connexus, please visit www.connexuscorporation.com

About Feed the Future: Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition. For more information, visit www.feedthefuture.gov.

Photo above from Connexus’ work with Rwandan youth groups in horticulture