Howard G. Buffett Foundation
Catholic Relief Services' relationship with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation began in 2005 with a small project that supported migrant agricultural 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 that are valued at more than $80 million.
Mas Manos Unidos Project in Mexico
The Mas Manos Unidas project began a three-year scale-up phase in September 2011 with $1.2 million funding from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. The project supports the Independent Agricultural Workers Center CITA, by its Spanish acronym) to strengthen its institutional capacity and expand programs. CITA is a bi-national, not-for-profit grassroots farm worker organization that developed a successful model of helping Mexican guest workers, agriculture employers and governments benefit from improved implementation of the H-2A visa program.
Abuse in legal foreign labor recruitment programs is a global problem that has become more visible in recent years as it has lead to instances of forced labor. CRS and a coalition of organizations are currently advocating on regulations and oversight of foreign labor recruitment as part of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act reauthorization. Despite laws designed to protect workers from fraudulent recruitment practices in labor contracting, rampant fraud and abuse often occurs.
CITA is dedicated to identifying legal, temporary agricultural jobs for immigrant farm workers, and also provides skills training for the workers. With a vision to help restore America's agricultural workforce, CITA has a direct beneficiary target of 7,000 Mexican guest workers and 100 employers by 2015.
CITA's work is predicated on their track record of delivering more productive, responsible workers to employers who are willing to fulfill their legal and moral obligations to their workers. The organization has improved farm worker treatment and loyalty through written Code of Conduct agreements with employers. It also provides workers with many needed services, including:
- Recruitment, training and placement services with screened employers
- Worker rights training
- Support centers for separated families and family reunification
- Financial literacy
- Safe travel arrangements
- Worksite follow-up and advocacy
For more information on the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, please visit: www.fragilethehumancondition.com/index.php/hgb-foundation/.