In 1957, when the State of Israel was still a newly independent developing country facing harsh natural conditions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched the Agency for International Development Cooperation and began implementation with a historic visit to Africa by then-Foreign Affairs Minister Mrs. Golda Meir. Known by its Hebrew acronym, MASHAV, the Agency’s mission is to share the know how and technologies which provided the basis for Israel’s own rapid development with the rest of the developing world. MASHAV began as a grassroots human capacity building initiative, training motivated local professionals to take projects forward independently, as a design for sustainable growth. Over the past six decades, with Israel transitioning from a developing country to a member of the OECD, MASHAV has blossomed into an extensive program in the social, economic, and environmental arenas, in alignment with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. MASHAV is the leader and coordinator of Israel’s official development cooperation, aiming to alleviate poverty through empowerment
Revolutionizing Agro-Technology Despite harsh climatic conditions, scarce land, and a water shortage, Israel succeeded in developing effective and sustainable technologies and solutions for all agricultural sectors. One of the keys to Israel’s success is the close collaboration and interaction between Israeli agricultural research, farmers, and extension services (which facilitate the transfer of agricultural research and techniques to the field level). MASHAV’s activities abroad are based on Israel’s own agricultural development experience; MASHAV introduces regions to innovative Israeli irrigation techniques, which revolutionize farming in arid and semiarid lands; shares post-harvest know-how, dairy farming technologies, and works to enhance economic viability through storage, transport, and financial solutions. These and other projects contribute to the food security of nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Israel is famous for “making the desert bloom” by developing advanced technologies in the fields of irrigation, water desalination, cloud seeding, combating desertification, and wastewater recycling. For many decades, Israel has successfully overcome harsh climatic conditions and knows how to maximize resources in an arid environment. Now that many countries face the need to adapt to climate change, Israel finds itself in a unique position to provide both expertise and technology. MASHAV shares this precious know-how with developing countries, alleviating food and water shortages through capacity building
Israel has initiated two UN resolutions inspired by MASHAV’s Development Cooperation approach: Agricultural Technologies for Development (since 2007) and Entrepreneurship for Development (since 2012). The resolutions are adopted by the UN General Assembly on alternating years, and gain the support of approximately 140 countries.
Launched by MASHAV and the Office of the Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Economy, the “Grand Challenges Israel” program offers grants to Israeli researchers, entrepreneurs, and innovators who develop technological solutions and tackle challenges facing developing countries, particularly in the fields of public health and food security.
MASHAV provides doctors in developing countries with cutting edge technologies and training in fields such as emergency medicine and maternal healthcare – empowering them to revolutionize their communities’ public health. In addition, MASHAV regularly dispatches Israeli physicians to provide specialized care in remote areas; for example, teams of Israeli eye doctors have treated more than ten thousand cases of preventable blindness and ocular disease since 1959, in all corners of the earth.
Israel’s multicultural and multilingual population, which includes large immigrant communities, gave rise to an educational system that fosters integration and excellence across all populations. MASHAV adapts this Israeli model to the needs of other countries with socio-economic diversity, underscoring gender parity and training local educators, field workers and senior decision-makers to provide quality education for all ages – from early childhood to adult literacy programs. The education professionals are empowered to transform their own societies in a sustainable manner. Attesting to the depth of these changes is a teachers’ association formed by MASHAV graduates in Ghana under the slogan: “Trained to transform.”
Via Minister of Foreign Affairs