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Howard G. Buffett Foundation

Catholic Relief Service relationship with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation started in 2006 with a small project that supported agricultural farm workers in Mexico. Since then, the partnership has deepened to support a number of projects in more than 15 countries across Latin America and Africa. Representing an investment of more than $80 million, these projects are aligned with the foundation's focus on agricultural and water resource management and conflict resolution as ways to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the worlds most impoverished and marginalized populations.

Here are a couple of examples of CRS projects that the Howard G. Buffett Foundation supports.

Global Water Initiative

Now in its second phase, the Global Water Initiative uses research and advocacy to help shape policies and agriculture programs in Central America that increase global food security by enabling farmers to better access, manage and use water resources for sustainable agricultural production.

Photo by Karen Kasmauski for CRS

Rainfed agriculture is grown on nearly three-quarters of land used for agriculture in the region and produces 65% of the food. Improvements in rainfed yield would increase production and food security, especially for farmers with small plots of land, but governments and the donor community have been slow to support the agronomic techniques and good water management practices needed.

The Global Water Initiative is working to change that by turning attention and resources to rainfed agriculture. The project is developing cross-sector partnerships, forming alliances and identifying best practices to increase public investment in research, extension services and education in rainfed agriculture; to inform and influence the implementation of best practices in soil management, water harvesting, supplemental irrigation, crop diversification and agroforestry; and to improve access to financial services and credit.


The Borderlands Coffee Project is helping 3,200 smallholder farmers in conflict-affected communities along the Colombia-Ecuador border to expand high-value market opportunities and reduce their vulnerability to hunger and environmental degradation. Drawing on field-based analysis on the social and economic impact of the project's interventions, Borderlands works to enhance coffee quality in the region and increase the amount of coffee available in the market place.

Photo by Michael Sheridan/CRS

The project is working in the Department of Nariño in Colombia, an area characterized by drug production and trafficking, conflict between the government, guerrilla movements and illegal armed actors, and concentrations of internally displaced people. On the Ecuadoran side of the border, the project focuses on the provinces of Orellana and Sucumbíos, areas populated by resettled Colombian refugees and Kichwa-speaking indigenous people living in extreme poverty.

Borderlands involves coordinated interventions with stakeholders from critical points along the coffee value chain, including local Church partners, private sector processors and exporters, research institutes, information management developers, and coffee importers and roasters.

For more information on the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, please visit:

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