Case 2 2017-12-15T09:57:42+00:00

Case 2: Enabling Prosperity/Redesigning Technology

IDE is a different kind of non-profit organization. We are dedicated to ending poverty in the developing world not through handouts, but by helping poor farmers invest in their own success. Our core values are:

We believe in the right of poor women and men to a secure livelihood
We believe that markets can be a powerful force for poverty reduction
We listen to and learn from the people we work with
We value innovation and entrepreneurship
We have confidence in our ability to make a significant difference

“A Good Business and a Secure Future”
– An IDE Success Story from Vietnam

Years of war have left Phu Da commune with vast areas of sandy, infertile land pockmarked with bomb craters. IDE’s affordable hand pumps enabled farmers in Phu Da to grow better quality, high value crops even during the dry season. But, thanks to IDE’s entrepreneurial approach, it’s not just the farmers who benefit.

Like many of the residents of this commune, Nguyen Van Tien struggled to survive in this barren area. Before IDE came to his commune, he lived in a small thatched hut, growing small amounts of cassava. His wife earned most of the family’s income from her job at a local kindergarten. Together, Tien and his wife earned just $21 per month. “We had only enough money to provide proper meals for our three young children for 7 months of the year,” Tien recalls.

Their lives changed when Tien was chosen to participate in a two-week course in tube-well drilling as part of IDE’s hand pump program in his commune. Upon successful completion, Tien received a loan to purchase drilling equipment and he quickly joined a drilling team with two other drillers. IDE helped him make initial contacts, and before long he had established a good reputation.

“Our customers came back to us because we always looked after them.”

Buoyed by the success of his original team, Tien set up his own drilling team a year ago. Mr. Tien now earns up to $60 a month, and his family lives in a concrete house.

He reflects, “Although Phu Da is still one of the poorest communes in the province, I am very lucky. I have a good business and a secure future for my family.”
Fotr more about IDE see Trickle-Up Economics

Planning for the Future: An IDE Success Story from Zambia
“Before IDE, we couldn’t grow enough food to feed our family, let alone sell,” says Robert Mwanza, who lives with his wife Avarim and their eight children on small farm about 30 km north of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia.

The population density in Zambia is very low (about 13 people per square kilometre) so land is not in short supply. There is also plenty of water in the ground beneath their feet. What they lacked was a labor-efficient means of getting the water to the land to grow crops. Using just buckets, a hand-dug well, and a lot of back-breaking work, they were only able to grow a tiny 20 m x 40 m dry-season vegetable garden.

When the Mwanzas saw the treadle pump that IDE had begun promoting in their area, they immediately saw its potential. They purchased their first pump five years ago and a second treadle pump (this one a pressurized version) three years ago. They are now able to irrigate a full hectare of dry-season crops including kale, sun hemp, cassava, banana, and cabbage. They also intersperse some fennel among the other plants to help control insects.

IDE helped the Mwanzas and other farmers in their area to negotiate a contract to supply vegetables to Agriflora, a company that exports high-value vegetables to Europe. Agriflora provides inputs such as seed, fertilizer, and pest control services, which the Mwanzas pay back at the time of harvest.

Last year, they planted about 350 coffee plants, which will begin yielding in three years. Previously, the Mwanza family had always lived hand-to-mouth; they now have the opportunity to be planning three years into the future. “By that time,” says Robert, “I’ll be able to afford a diesel pump. Then I’ll increase my growing area again and grow an even larger variety of crops.”