Fresno State plant science professor Dr. Anil Shrestha was named Winrock International’s August Volunteer of the Month for his recent work in two separate three-week projects in Nepal.

The first was helping shape Nepal’s first master’s and doctoral weed science program for the Agriculture and Forestry University in Rampur. He created a curriculum for the program in consultation with university administration, students and area stakeholders such as the National Trust for Nature Conservation and the Nepal Agricultural Research Council. The program anticipates admitting its first class in January 2016.

“The university is trying to emulate the land-grant model that we have in the U.S,” Shrestha said, “so it can play an even more important role in the community by better tying agriculture to higher education. There are only a handful of weed scientists right now in Nepal, so this will help generate leaders in the field.”

Shrestha also provided training on grant writing, experimental design and data analysis for faculty and students at Uttarpani Technical School in Dhankuta and the Central Campus of Technology in Dharan.

Shrestha’s trip was sponsored by Winrock International, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program, and this was his second volunteer trip to Nepal. In 2014, he hosted faculty biometric training sessions at three Tribhuvan University campuses in Nepal.

“I am extremely grateful for having had the opportunity to reconnect with the young minds in both projects, and was impressed by their enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge. One of my personal dreams was to start a weed science program in Nepal, and Winrock and F2F helped make it a reality. Nepal definitely needs such type of assistance, and the impact should be immediate.”

Winrock International is a nonprofit organization that works with people in the U.S. and around the world to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity and sustain natural resources. Its program teams blend expertise in agriculture, forestry and natural resource management, clean water and energy, leadership development and capacity building to achieve sustainable and equitable economic development in over 60 countries.

The Farmer-to-Farmer program is funded by USAID and provides technical assistance to a wide variety of agricultural stakeholders. Its primary aims are to contribute to agricultural sector growth, increased incomes and improved food security.

Earlier this spring, Shrestha was honored with the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and an Outstanding Adviser Award at Fresno State. In 2014, he also won the California Weed Science Society Award of Excellence.