iDE Burkina Faso and Ecobank: Making Microfinance Work for Smallholder Famers
Horticultural production is the main activity during dry season in Burkina Faso (October to June), a country where agriculture is the main sector of the economy, it employs 80% of the population. In the context of water scarcity that faces the Sahelian region, drip irrigation technology is one of the best alternatives to develop horticulture and enhance rural population income. iDE Burkina is developing the market of drip irrigation technology with a social entrepreneurial model to increase smallholder farmers’ income. One main constraints in developing iDE’s activities is access to finance for the poorest farmers and particularly women small-scale farmers. Smallholder farmers interested in purchasing drip irrigation kits do not have the access to financial means to secure loans from local banks.
To mitigate this barrier, iDE Burkina has developed a new partnership with an international commercial bank, to promote financial access of smallholder farmers and its social entrepreneurial model in a country where poor people are usually excluded from the banking system. Ecobank wants to invest in smallholder farmers as there are the largest potential clients for banking and they have been generally marginalize because lending to them is risky as they often cannot provide adequate collateral and they usually fail to repay.
Under the Development Credit Authority (DCA) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Ecobank and IDE Burkina have signed an innovative partnership to overcome the financial access constraint for women smallholder farmers by investing in agricultural technologies to increase their income. In this partnership, Ecobank Burkina has agreed to give credit with good interest rate, 13, 5% instead of traditional 18% provided in the loan market; with fewer guaranties required (as they invest in an efficient technology) and with the availability of the money on time (professionalism of a commercial bank). iDE Burkina has committed to bring technical assistance, by helping the farmer with their loan application and to build their capacity for credit management. iDE also follows the farmer to make sure they produce in good condition to attend the return on investment in time to be able to pay back the bank.
iDE named TOP 100 NGOs by The Global Journal
Harnessing Irrigation Technology for Good
“One of the leading voices in the ‘appropriate technology’ movement, psychiatrist turned social entrepreneur Paul Polak founded iDE in 1982 as an organization devoted to the manufacture, marketing and distribution of affordable, scalable micro-irrigation and other low-cost water recovery systems throughout the developing world. Envisioning the rural poor as potential entrepreneurs and customers rather than charity recipients, iDE relies on local manufacturing, retailing, and maintenance resources to make affordable technologies available to farmers. The organization’s emblematic success has been the ‘treadle pump’ – a more efficient and user-friendly technology than traditional manual pumps. More than 1.5 million have been sold in Bangladesh alone, creating $1.4 billion in net additional income per year.” – The Global Journal, Top 100 NGOs Edition
Bill Clinton Speaks for iDE
|iDE’s Second Annual Leaders in Their Fields Luncheon, held on December 4 in downtown Denver, was a great success. More than 700 attendees gathered to celebrate iDE’s 30 years of sustainable solutions to poverty, honor our customers, and launch a new initiative that will bring 26 organizations together in a unique collaborative center for international development.
The assembled guests got a big surprise when President Bill Clinton, who was in Denver for a speaking engagement, made a special appearance to express his support for iDE’s work. Clinton spoke about his own experiences working in Africa to improve agricultural practices, and emphasized that seemingly insurmountable global problems can be solved with the right efforts. “All of these things are before you. “This is stuff I’ve seen with my own eyes,” he said, “These are the kinds of things you can do, and that’s why I wanted to be here,” he said.
Clinton stressed that collaborative market-based approaches hold the key to solving the world’s most pressing challenges. “I think the idea that you should work together, pool your resources, reinforce each other and not fall all over each other is very important,” he said. He concluded his address by noting that the problems faced by the poor in developing countries ultimately affect the entire world. “I just want to encourage you. We are not going to like the world we live in if we continue to allow climate change, instability, and income inequality to dominate the 21st century.”iDE’s new CEO, Timothy Prewitt said, “President Clinton’s commitment to African agriculture is directly in line with iDE’s. His central message—that African nations can most effectively grow food themselves, lifting smallholders out of poverty and increasing production across the continent—gives iDE’s model a ringing endorsement, and inspires us to do even more.”
The centerpiece of the event was the presentation of the Leaders in Their Fields Award to Doña Linda Manueles, a farmer and entrepreneur from Marcala, Honduras. On her farm, Manueles uses an iDE treadle pump and drip irrigation kit to grow 14 different types of vegetables, which she sells for a profit. She has invested her extra income in other micro enterprises including raising geese and rabbits, and starting her own seed bank from her home. After receiving the award, Manueles explained how iDE practices help local Honduran families invest in their own communities, and thanked the organization for its continued efforts in her area.
Other featured speakers included Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper who spoke about the importance of entrepreneurship, and Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks, who welcomed iDE and its partners in the D90 Network to their future home in a restored 19th century horse barn in the Curtis Park neighborhood of Denver.
After the event, Prewitt noted, “Today was a terrific day for us, a chance for some of our supporters to learn more about our contribution to poverty. Denver is increasingly concerned with global poverty and the challenge of meeting food resource needs in the coming decades.”
Or watch a clip of the event on Denver’s CBS 4 News site here.
Photos by Galen Clarke
Carbon Finance Boosts iDE’s Clean Water Business in Cambodia
For the first time in Asia, a sustainable and market-based water filtration business has been registered under the voluntary Gold Standard scheme, and will benefit from carbon offset funding, illustrating that carbon markets can support sustainable technologies that improve the lives of poor populations. iDE’s Cambodian social enterprise, Hydrologic, manufactures ceramic water purifiers which provide clean water to rural households, reduce the amount of wood burned to boil water, create local jobs, and bolster economic development. Hydrologic was recently named winner of a 2012 Ashden Award. Start-up resources for Hydrologic came from several sources including the USAID WaterSHED project in form of grants and technical assistance.
Nearly 40% of rural Cambodians still have no access to safe drinking water. Untreated water and poor sanitation result in about 10 million cases of diarrhea and 10,000 deaths per year in Cambodia, mainly affecting children in rural areas. iDE’s Hydrologic produces and sells ceramic water filters that provide safe drinking water to rural households of Cambodia. By displacing water boiling practices, the filters allow Cambodian households to avoid the unsustainable burning of 18,000 tons of wood per year, saving 41,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. Thanks to this impressive environmental impact, the project has completed its registration under the voluntary Gold Standard scheme, an award winning certification standard for carbon mitigation projects.
The project has two major features:
• It uses a market based approach: Hydrologic Social Enterprise believes that sustainable business is a powerful way to provide clean water for as many people as possible. It created a market for water purifiers in Cambodia by selling affordable filters to NGO programs, and via shops and rural sales agents. Households benefit from a low cost water filtration technology, and the local economy is bolstered by the establishment of production and distribution facilities.
• Carbon offsets ensure a sustainable business model, as the carbon revenue is directly re-invested into further scaling up project activities.
Hydrologic joined Nexus, a nonprofit cooperative of NGOs and social enterprises that scale up development solutions by leveraging sustainable funding from the sale of high-quality carbon offsets, a concept referred to as “Carbon for Development.” Nexus provided financial and technical assistance with the carbon certification process, and is supporting the commercialization of carbon credits by engaging companies and public institutions on a fair approach to offsetting.
Hydrologic’s sustainable business model and its numerous benefits for the environment have also attracted private sector support. An impact investor, Impact Finance, provided a loan to support the development of the project, and a multinational company, Deutsche Post DHL, has committed to purchase carbon credits originating from the project.
Come to Nepal with iDE!
We are pleased to invite you to join us for a very special experience. This year, we are offering our first official “Impact Tour” for donors and supporters. Each year, we’ll design a customized adventure in a different iDE country.
This year, join iDE and OneSeed Expeditions on a tour of iDE’s field operations in Nepal March 17-24, 2013. Here you will witness firsthand the transformational effects of iDE programs and technologies on rural villages among the foothills of the Annapurna Mountains.
While visiting iDE program sites, you will travel through some of the world’s most beautiful countryside, during a time of year that Lonely Planet calls “the absolute best time to visit.” Learn about organic farming practices promoted by iDE, visit a local women’s group, and participate in meaningful cultural exchange during a one-night homestay with a local family.
The connections you will make with the families who have partnered with iDE will be an inspiration for a lifetime. Personally, I have never felt so alive and fulfilled as I did when I first met an iDE customer. I was awed and inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit that had been unleashed in these families. I saw the pride and dignity in their eyes as they were sending their children to school and harvesting their crops. I saw laughter and connectedness, and most of all, I felt an incredible humility and learned to fully listen and be present in the moment like I never had before.
You can find more details on the 2012 Impact Tour here.
To register, please click here, or call Michaela Hennig at 720-235-3457.
We hope you can join us on this extraordinary journey.
iDE Announces New CEO
iDE’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Timothy Prewitt has been named Chief Executive Officer of iDE. Mr. Prewitt will officially assume the post on November 1, when iDE’s current CEO, Al Doerksen, steps down after more than 25 years of service as board member and CEO.
“Our selection of Tim to lead iDE into the future is the culmination of an aggressive international search with numerous extraordinarily qualified candidates. Given his diverse background and professional achievements, we are confident that Tim will build upon the long-established tradition of iDE in providing creative, cost-effective solutions to improve the income and lives of the world’s poorest rural farmers and their families,” said iDE Board Chairman Robert Hill.
Most recently, Mr. Prewitt acted as Managing Director for Chemonics International in Nigeria. Prior to that he was Chemonics’ Director for Asia and Europe/Eurasia Divisions and head of the Private Sector Practice stationed in Washington, D.C. Mr. Prewitt has worked in more than 15 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, for the Soros Foundation, UNESCO European Center for Higher Education, the New American School Development Corporation, as well as for private equity investors in China.
“I’m thrilled by the board’s decision, and honored to join iDE, especially at this stage in the organization’s history,” Prewitt commented. “iDE’s world-class reputation for innovative product design and marketing, delivered through the private sector, has led it into a new era of impact and success. My priorities are to increase the size and reach of iDE, to focus on staff development, and to continue to build strong social enterprises that reach millions with innovations, meeting global challenges in poverty, food security, and health.”
Burkina Faso Tech Center Celebrates First Anniversary
On June 12, iDE’s newest country program celebrated an important milestone. iDE’s Burkina Faso team was joined by esteemed delegates from the Burkina Faso Ministry of Agriculture at a ceremony to observe the first harvest at the Center of Technology at Yamtenga. Speakers included several key iDE Burkina Faso staff, as well as Abdoulaye Compari from the Ministry of Agriculture, and Paul Bayili, who spoke on behalf of SDC on the importance of the partnership to advancing drip irrigation in the country. The event was attended by representatives of key partners including SDC, AFD, CIDA, GIZ, JICA, UNICEF, Swedish Corporation, FAO, WFP and IFAD. Various NGOs including Self-Help Africa, ACDI/VOCA, SNV, PlanetFinance, and HKI helped us to mark the occasion.
iDE Burkina Country Director Laurent Stravato discussed the organization’s efforts to implement low-cost drip irrigation technologies in a region with severely limited water resources, setting forth three issues which iDE has been working on in Burkina Faso: scaling up drip irrigation in the region, developing innovations to make it more affordable to Burkinabé farmers, and iDE Burkina’s distribution model and the advisory role of twelve farm business advisors currently working in four provinces of the country: Boulkiemdé, Kadiogo, Sanguié, and Yatenga.
Ms. Aida Ganaba, head of iDE’s Technology Center, explained in detail the work being done with drip irrigation kits of varying sizes as well various innovative prototypes being tested at the Center, such as a 1000-liter, ferro-cement reservoir, a 150 liter clay jar constructed by local masons, and a wood support system housing a 1,000 liter tank, created by an iDE farm business advisor.
iDE Burkina’s Center of Technology was created to serve as a facility where affordable water technologies could be developed, tested, and demonstrated to local farmers. The team faced many challenges in getting the center underway, including poor soil quality, the 400 meter distance from the nearest water source, abundance of plant disease, and a need for system uniformity. Addressing these problems, which are shared by many of the farmers iDE serves, has helped validate the effectiveness of drip irrigation in the local context.
iDE Burkina Faso’s business model builds upon the successful Farm Business Advisor program, originally piloted by iDE Cambodia. iDE Burkina employs twelve farm business advisors who act as liaisons between iDE and the small producer. Located throughout each of the 4 current project areas, they provide demonstration sites for technologies, after-sales assistance, and a focal point for the smallholder farmer customers. They also direct potential customers to distributors and dealers who specialize in iDE drip irrigation kit sales.
The Center also functions as a base for development of rural marketing strategies, including publicity panels, t-shirts, and informational documents. Other activities, such as engaging local theater to promote the use of drip irrigation technologies, are planned and implemented here. “Why is it that products such as soft drinks and telephones are so well advertised in rural markets, while products used to better the lives of smallholder farmers, such as drip irrigation, are not as well advertised?” asked Program Officer Sean McKinlay.
Perhaps most importantly, the Center of Technology is a functioning farm. Mr. Désiré Yerbanga, Business Development Manager, presented economic results of the Technology Center’s inaugural harvest. In a single 3-month production cycle, 378 kilograms of okra were harvested from a 200 square meter plot, netting 36,000 F CFA with one month in the harvest still remaining. A similar return for the two remaining cycles in the year is expected, for a total return of 108,000 F CFA on an initial investment of 50,000 F CFA. That same 3-month production cycle also yielded a 90 kilogram peanut harvest netting another 36,000 F CFA. In addition, iDE has found that substantial farm income can be earned from the sale of peanut leaves, thus shedding light on the need to look more closely at potential markets for agricultural by-products.
As iDE’s first francophone country program, Burkina Faso has achieved important initial success in reducing market prices for technology, reducing producer labor, and achieving substantial gains in time and revenue for smallholder farmers in its first year.
iDE Burkina Faso has experienced challenges in creating partnerships with micro-credit institutions and finding local partners to assist with product transformation. iDE Burkina Faso continues to adapt and grow accordingly, and as such the June 12 ceremony represents an important opening for drip irrigation in the country. The presence of the government, donors, and all major media outlets there presented an especially strong case to the public.
iDE Project Impacts Food Security for 60,000 Households
iDE has been selected to lead a coalition of organizations in a project that aims to make a major impact on the problem of food insecurity in Nepal and Bangladesh. Funded by the European Union, the Agriculture and Nutrition Extension project will improve food security and incomes for a total of 60,000 poor households over the next 30 months.
The project will strike at the root causes of food insecurity to create sustainable improvements in income and nutrition. Together with partner organizations CIMMYT, WorldFish, IRRI, Save The Children, CEAPRED, BES and CODEC, iDE will train poor farm families in new and emerging agricultural technologies, helping them to step up productivity and increase their annual incomes. The project will expose them to new agriculture technologies based on market development approaches and the Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA). The project also aims at conducting nutrition education, monitoring and counselling for the poor households to increase consumption of nutritious foods.
One of the other main goals of the project is to develop market linkages between rural and urban areas and promote exchange of expertise and technologies between agricultural and research institutions in Nepal and Bangladesh, both at the national and grassroots levels. The project will work in two terai districts of Rupandehi and Nawalparsi and two hill districts Rukum and Surkhet, which were selected for their suitability to develop export linkages for vegetable seeds between Nepal and Bangladesh.
Women and children in both countries, who are often the hardest hit by nutritional problems, will be the target beneficiaries of the project. Throughout our history, iDE has observed that the best route to food security is to facilitate sustainable income increases. The project seeks to help 60,000 households to increase their annual income by at least $93 from production and sales of high value agricultural commodities. Another 1000 households are expected to increase their annual income by $124 from seed sales. The project will have a national impact extending innovations and building capacities of grassroots institutions, eventually impacting as many as 140,000 other households in action areas.
iDE Wins 2012 Ashden Award
We are very proud to announce that iDE’s social enterprise spinoff Hydrologic has been named winner at the 2012 Ashden Awards.
The Ashden Awards, given by The Ashden Trust, recognize and reward pioneering enterprises that share the Ashden vision of promoting “sustainable energy for all”.
Created in 2001, the event aims to raise awareness of the huge potential of sustainable energy to both tackle climate change and improve the quality of people’s lives.
The annual awards ceremony was held on May 30th at the Royal Geographical Society in London. iDE Cambodia Director Michael Roberts accepted the award on behalf of Hydrologic. Shortlisted in January, Hydrologic was announced as one of seven finalists for its energy saving ceramic water purifier.
Roberts said: “In Establishing Hydrologic, iDE set out to deliver clean water solutions to base-of-the-pyramid customers, creating social and environmental benefits while at the same time being financially self-sustaining. Our aim is not only that Hydrologic reaches this goal, but also to prove a concept that entices other market players to replicate and improve on what we have done.
“Winning this Ashden Award gives us a significant boost toward ensuring Hydrologic’s success and a magnificent platform for sharing our experience more broadly.”
Since its inception in 2001, iDE’s ceramic water filter project in Cambodia has manufactured and sold more than 230,000 filters, transforming the lives of thousands of poor rural households. The project has been supported by US$ 1.9M in grants from numerous donors. Half of that amount was from WaterSHED, a USAID program that facilitated the project’s transition to an independent social enterprise.
More on the 2012 Ashden Awards:
iDE Wins Wharton’s Inaugural Lipman Prize
On Friday April 13, iDE was selected as the winner of the Wharton School’s inaugural Barry and Marie Lipman Family Prize for our innovative, market based water, sanitation & hygiene projects. We’re extremely honored to be the first recipient of this prestigious award!
Here’s a short video produced for the award ceremony:
And here’s the official press release:
Philadelphia, PA, April 13, 2012 – The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania announced today the winner of its inaugural Barry & Marie Lipman Family Prize – iDE, a social enterprise that has pioneered innovative, market-based approaches to safe water and sanitation access. Chosen from hundreds of organizations worldwide devoted to social impact and building sustainable solutions for social and economic challenges, iDE received $100,000 and bragging rights at a gala marking the event’s culmination last night at the Wharton School. iDE and the two other finalist organizations, KOMAZA, a pioneering forestry social enterprise, and MedShare, a distributor of surplus medical supplies, will all profit from unprecedented, synergistic opportunities with Penn and Wharton.
“The $100,000 is one thing but the partnership with Penn and Wharton is just absolutely outstanding,” said Cordell Jacks, the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) Program Co-Director at iDE. “We really believe that we’re going to change the world with toilets and we think that a partnership here is going to bring together great people, creative ideas and really solve a global public health challenge, something that is very finite and can be achieved in our lifetime. So it’s just really exciting to do this together with the University.”
About the 2012 Lipman Family Prize Winner:
iDE is an international nonprofit organization helping poor rural households in the developing world to access the tools and knowledge they need to increase their income. iDE’s productive water solutions create and increase both food production and incomes, and with innovative drinking water and sanitation technologies, iDE gives rural households the basis for healthier and more dignified livelihoods.
iDE’s involvement with improved sanitation began in Cambodia, which has 16 percent sanitation coverage. Cambodia has the second to worst rural sanitation coverage outside of Africa, at only eight percent. Furthermore, Cambodia loses approximately seven percent of its GDP, USD $448 million per year, due to poor sanitation. iDE Cambodia’s Sanitation Marketing Program (SanMark) recently reached the milestone of 10,000 latrines sold and, in 2011, the organization was awarded a major grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Stone Family Foundation and the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) to scale the SanMark approach nationally in Cambodia, targeting an additional 160,000 households. Building further on these successes in Cambodia, iDE has recently secured funding for WaSH activities in Bangladesh and Nepal with a $400,000 UNICEF-funded scoping and piloting project utilizing the model and support of iDE Cambodia to promote both water filters and low cost, sanitary latrines.
About the Lipman Family Prize:
Currently in its inaugural year, the annual Lipman Family Prize has been made possible by a $6.5 million gift from Wharton alumnus Barry R. Lipman and his wife, Marie.
“For more than ten years, I have had a strong desire to impact the non-profit/social responsibility sector,” said Barry R. Lipman, co-founder of California law firm Goldfarb Lipman. “Through a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School, my dream has been realized with the awarding of the first Lipman Family Prize. Penn and I eagerly look forward to annually honoring an organization whose mission is to improve the lives of those less fortunate.”
Administered by the University of Pennsylvania through the Wharton School, the Lipman Family Prize is governed by an interdisciplinary Steering Committee comprised of faculty, and staff from across the University of Pennsylvania, drawing upon the expertise of such entities as the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management, the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, and the School of Social Policy and Practice.
The selection of Prize finalists involved a Student Selection Committee that reviewed initial submissions and conducted the due diligence process under staff guidance, and a Prize Committee that selected the finalists and chose the winner.
“This is the beginning of a long partnership with iDE, KOMAZA and MedShare as new members of the Wharton and Penn community,” said Thomas S. Robertson, the dean of the Wharton School. “The possibilities of these cross-sector collaborations are powerful and we look forward to our ongoing role in fostering sustainable new solutions for the advancement of society as a whole.”
For more information on the 2012 Lipman Family Prize and to view videos from the March 2012 site visits to the three finalist organizations, visit www.wharton.upenn.edu/lipmanfamilyprize.
World Water Day 2012 day of service – in Denver today, March 22!
I’m sitting here at Green Spaces Denver, campaign headquarters for our Water4Food 2012 day of service in honor of United Nations World Water Day, which this year is focused on food security. As our readers know, that’s iDE’s main focus.
There’s a lot of excitement and momentum from volunteers showing up to help spread the word in our local community. We’re going out and hitting the streets with postcards, stickers, tee shirts to share facts like these:
Did you know that it takes 635 gallons of water to produce one hamburger? Or that 397 gallons of water are needed to produce 35 oz of cane sugar? The truth is, without water there is no food. Water scarcity already affects every continent and more than 40 percent of the people on our planet. This year’s International World Water Day focuses on the critical relationship between water access and food security.
iDE, along with Card Gnome, Green Spaces, and our event sponsors, brings Water4Food 2012 to the Denver area to raise awareness for this issue and money to prevent famine for families in West Africa.
What can individuals do?
- follow a healthier, sustainable diet;
- consume less water-intensive products;
- reduce the scandalous food wastage: 30% of the food produced worldwide is never eaten and the water used to produce it is definitively lost!
- produce more food, of better quality, with less water.
There’s still time to volunteer! If you can spend a couple of hours taking stickers and information sheets to Denver area businesses, sign up at volunteer.water4food.com. All volunteers are invited to join us at the Water4Food 2012 party tonight at 5:30pm at Green Spaces.
Purchase a Water4Food 2012 greeting card plan at Card Gnome, and 50% of the proceeds will provide families in the Sahel region of West Africa with the tools and knowledge needed to create and sustain a sustainable income from small plot farming, enabling them to increase food security and lift themselves out of poverty.
Your plan allows you to send 25 cards throughout one year. You choose the perfect card from Card Gnome’s selection of thousands of cards for all occasions; write your personal message and Card Gnome mails it for you. You can even schedule cards for delivery a year in advance.
With the purchase of a card plan, you gain a ticket with a guest to the party at Green Spaces tonight. Just show up and we’ll have your name on a list along with others.
If you would like to donate directly to iDE, please click here.
There are many ways to get involved in this issue, no matter where you are!
Visit the U.N.’s World Water Day site (www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/) to find World Water Day events all over the world, downloadable informational materials and more.
Twitter: Join the conversation using #Water4Food and #WorldWaterDay and give a shout to @CardGnome and @ideorg or any of the other great sponsors listed below.
Facebook: We love sharing water4food information and you can visit our pages to access videos, pictures, blog posts and other items we’ve been sharing recently:
Green Spaces greenspaceshome.com
Silver Bullet Water Treatment, LLC silverbulletcorp.com
Colorado Water 2012 water2012.org
Colorado Public Television 12 cpt12.org
Elephant Energy elephantenergy.org
Inspire Commerce inspirecommerce.com
Edge of Seven edgeofseven.org
Ellen Bruss Design ebd.com
Conscious Coffees consciouscoffees.com
Sticker Giant stickergiant.com
Rage Unlimited rageunlimited.com
Runa Tea Company runa.org
I’m incredibly inspired by all of these volunteers who are taking time out of their busy days to help us tackle this issue. Thank you to our sponsors, partners staff, volunteers, and news media who are working hard to spread the word on this very important day.
iDE Honored as Top “WaSH” Org
iDE has just been named one of the top ten international organizations working in the field of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) based on a survey of experts in the field. The list was compiled by Philanthropedia/GuideStar, an information service specializing in reporting on U.S. non-profit companies.
Philanthropedia asked 116 WASH experts (funders, researchers, nonprofit senior staff, consultants, and others) from 90 organizations to identify nonprofit orgs that were making the biggest positive impact in the field. A total of 106 organizations were reviewed.
In their anonymous reviews, the experts cited iDE’s focus on “systemic change through market development of pro-poor technology as foundational to its widespread impact”. One expert wrote that “iDE doesn’t want to be a long-term service provider. In its best work, it refines a pro-poor technology, develops a market for that technology, supports business development to provide the technology, and then backs out to let the market drive the availability of the technology.”
For more than 15 years, iDE has pioneered innovative, market-based approaches to safe water and sanitation access. These approaches exploit the comparative advantage of private-sector, NGO, and government stakeholders to reach large numbers of poor households cost effectively and in short timeframes. iDE has successfully applied these approaches in promoting water filters, latrines, hand pumps, and behavior change in rural Cambodia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. In Cambodia, for instance, iDE’s sanitation marketing program recently enabled local enterprises to sell 17,400 latrines without subsidy in a one-year period, won the International Design Excellence Award, and was inducted into the World Toilet Organization Hall of Fame.
To read more about what experts in the field have to say about us, click on the Expert Reviews section on our organization profile here.
Learn more about iDE Cambodia’s WaSH program here.
More here on the history of WaSH at iDE.
iDE Annual Portfolio Now Available
iDE’s Annual Portfolio for 2012 is now available. It’s a colorful look at the exciting work we are doing in our country programs. Highlights include:
- The launch of new country programs in West Africa
- The incorporation of iDEal Tecnologias, a distribution enterprise designed to deliver microirrigation products to small plot farmers in Central America and Mexico
- Building on the success of our “Easy Latrine” in Cambodia, we’ve expanded our water, sanitation and health programs
Click here to download the iDE Annual Portfolio (PDF, 4MB).
iDE Launches New Toilet Project
Lack of access to sanitation is a major problem affecting the developing world. Poor sanitation is a major cause of diarrheal disease, lost labor productivity for adults, missed school days for children, and additional financial burdens for families requiring medical treatment. In Cambodia alone, diarrheal diseases account for 17 percent of deaths in children under five. The World Bank recently estimated the annual economic loss due to poor sanitation there to be $448 million a year, which is equivalent to 7.2 percent of GDP.
Existing markets for rural sanitation in the developing world are woefully underdeveloped. Low demand and weak supply chains hinder the availability of sanitation products and services. Publicly funded sanitation projects often make extensive use of hardware subsidies with disappointing results; typically, only a fraction of the subsidy reaches the intended target group, and recipients often do not use or maintain their latrines over time.
For a number of years now in Asia, iDE has been at the forefront of Sanitation Marketing developments to address these challenges. iDE recently completed a pilot project in Cambodia that exceeded expectations by enabling 9.6 percent of the rural population to purchase sanitary latrines in eleven target districts over a 16-month period.
Now, a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has made it possible to expand these achievements on a national scale, improving the sanitation conditions of tens of thousands of rural households while stimulating vibrant and sustainable sanitation markets. Over a three-year period, the Cambodia Sanitation Marketing Scale-Up Project will build on the original pilot project by working directly with some 90 local enterprises, encouraging them to invest their own resources into addressing the demand for sanitary latrines.
The project will enable 115,000 households in 60 districts of Cambodia to purchase affordable sanitary latrines. Other outcomes include:
• Improved latrine designs for two “challenging environments”
• Sanitation financing mechanisms for consumer households and supply chain enterprises
• A research and training center to become a global dissemination platform for Sanitation Marketing experience
The total cost of the project is estimated at $6,942,199. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded iDE a grant of $3,987,717. Other key partners in the project include the Stone Family Foundation, the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, PATH, and the Royal Government of Cambodia.
Sanitation Marketing has emerged as a highly effective approach for rapidly and sustainably improving rural sanitation at scale by connecting consumers with products that they want and can afford. Evidence from a number of recent projects demonstrates that stimulating private enterprises to address the untapped rural sanitation market can have a revolutionary impact on the uptake of sanitary latrines—with associated health and financial gains for rural households.
The Sanitation Marketing model leverages the advantages of private sector entities, civil society, and government to reach large numbers of rural households in short time frames. Donor funds are not used to provide direct subsidies for hardware or installation. Instead they are invested in laying the foundations for demand-driven, self-financing market systems.
Broadly, Sanitation Marketing applies iDE’s market-based poverty alleviation approach to the related problem of inadequate sanitation. First, we develop a deep understanding of the target group’s needs and aspirations, and adapt or design affordable technology options to meet those needs. We strengthen the capacity of local enterprises to manufacture and deliver the technologies, conduct social marketing campaigns to encourage the purchase and proper use of the technologies, and coordinate with NGOs, microfinance institutions, and government agencies to extend scale and to reach poorer households.
Photos: Polak Social Innovation Award
On September 22, the inaugural iDE Paul Polak Award for Social Innovation was given to its namesake at a gala event marking the close of the Design for the Other 90% exhibit at RedLine Gallery in Denver, Colorado. The well-attended event celebrated Polak’s contributions to the bottom of the pyramid design movement. Speakers included artist and RedLine founder Laura Merage, Ball Aerospace President and CEO David Taylor, iDE CEO Al Doerksen, and Metropolitan Homes President and CEO Peter Kudla.
The iDE Paul Polak Award for Social Innovation honors the important legacy of Paul Polak, whose work has inspired millions of the world’s poorest people to become entrepreneurs; increasing their income and livelihoods, and enabling them to live a life beyond subsistence poverty. This award will be presented annually to a deserving individual social innovator or organization that has significantly advanced design focusing on the “other 90%,” or otherwise demonstrated significant impact using principles articulated by Paul Polak throughout his career. In subsequent years, iDE will select a jury of industry leaders and development practitioners to review nominations, and select the award recipient from that pool of nominees.
Art is Creative Problem Solving
“Design is creative problem solving. Art is creative problem solving.”
So says iDE founder Paul Polak in a new interview with Colorado Public Radio’s Ryan Warner. Paul gives the reporter a guided tour of the just-opened Design for the Other 90% exhibit–along with a demonstration of a treadle pump in action!–while covering such topics as how iDE came about, the role of design in improving livelihoods in developing countries, why we don’t give products away, and what a collection of affordable technologies is doing in an art gallery.
You can stream the full interview here.
Swiss Parliament Gets Irrigated
Drip Irrigation in Front of Swiss Parliament
by Urs Heierli
SDC – the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and is using the occasion to launch an initiative to educate the public about its work. As the Global Water Initiatives Division of SDC has launched a major cooperation program with iDE, SDC has included information about more efficient irrigation systems targeted to reach the poor. As part of a rotating exhibition in major Swiss cities, an iDE Family Nutrition Kit was shown as a model and attracted quite some interest. In late May, the exhibition was in Berne on the Federal Plaza, just in front of the Swiss Parliament. The Swiss parliament has recently increased the development aid budget from 0.4 to 0.5% of GDP and a major focus of the increased resources will be targeted to water projects. There is an increasing awareness that global water scarcity will severely affect all societies if “business as usual” policies are pursued. iDE has a lot to offer in this domain: affordable drip and sprinkler irrigation systems and other productive water technologies for small farmers provide really interesting solutions.
iDE’s SDC-supported program “Scaling up productive water technologies” will develop dissemination programs in several regions, including Central America (Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and later Mexico), West Africa (Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad) and Asia (Kirgizstan, Vietnam). Together with the Gates Foundation, It also supports the global dissemination of productive water technologies.
In addition, iDE is launching a “Fair Trade Water project” funded by the Sustainability initiative of the Swiss retail chain COOP aimed at increasing the water efficiency of Fair Trade Cooperatives in Central America. COOP is the second largest retail chain in Switzerland and was selected as the world’s most sustainable retail chain, especially for the chain’s attention to the farmers who supply them. This project will be operating in Central America and will deliver affordable irrigation to small farmers belonging to Fair Trade cooperatives, with a special focus on diversification.
A Design Revolution in Colorado
On Tuesday, iDE and Denver’s RedLine officially kicked off “Design for the Other 90%” a major event which will bring the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum’s acclaimed exhibition to Colorado, along with other events showcasing the ways designers are addressing challenges in both the developing world and here in the U.S. The exhibit showcases low-cost solutions to the problems facing nearly 7 billion people in the areas of shelter, health, water, education, energy and transportation.
The exhibit’s name refers to a central thesis of iDE Founder Paul Polak, who noted in his book Out of Poverty, “90% of the world’s designers spend all their time working on solutions to the problems of the richest 10 percent of the world’s customers. A revolution in design is needed to reverse this silly ratio and reach the other 90 percent.”
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper was on hand to address the approximately 300 attendees. Also speaking at the event were iDE CEO Al Doerksen, RedLine Founder Laura Merage, JP Morgan Chase’s Vice President of Philanthropy Jill Barkin, and Peter Kudla of Metropolitan Homes and RedLine. “Design for the Other 90% will be a powerful demonstration that simple machines and simple ideas translate into powerful global impact, said Doerksen.
The exhibit will run July 8 through September 25 at RedLine, 2350 Arapahoe Street in Denver. We’ll post more information about the exhibition and concurrent events here as it becomes available.
Here is the latest newsletter from iDE Senior Advisor Andrew Romanoff:
What do you get when you cross a shower and a latrine? If you answered “an episode of Seinfeld,” you’ve been watching too many reruns. (That was my guess, too.)
In Cambodia, relieving yourself is no laughing matter. Sanitation-related illnesses claim more than 1,000 lives every month. And at $300, the price of a typical toilet exceeds most Cambodians’ annual income.
That’s why, as I reported in January, our team in Phnom Penh has been promoting a low-cost alternative: the $35 Easy Latrine. The device is manufactured locally and can be installed in a single day; 11,500 have already been sold.
Now the same crew is testing another vital innovation: a combination latrine/shower/drip-irrigation system. Click on the video below to learn how the Easy Shower may make thousands of Cambodians better off (and George Costanza awfully jealous).
MANHATTAN AND MARS
In my last newsletter, I suggested some reasons Americans should take an interest in the rest of the world. Our economy and our national security, I contended, are inextricably linked to our neighbors’ fortunes. Most respondents agreed.
“Prosperous nations tend to start fewer wars,” wrote Larry Kaufman, a “semi-retired journalist” and former railroad executive from Genesee. “They also make better customers than do poor nations.”
My friend and former colleague, Col. Joe Rice, reflected on his five tours of duty in Iraq. “Poverty, lack of education, and lack of opportunity are the main drivers of instability and terrorism,” he wrote. “A little money spent on international relief and development is in our own national interest.”
Then he added, “Oh, it probably is morally right as well.”
George Schumm, a professor of logic in Ohio, underlined that point: “A suffering human being is a suffering human being, and it matters not, from a moral perspective, whether it’s your suffering, that of your child, or neighbor, or fellow citizen, or someone living on Mars.”
None of these arguments, however, swayed a reader on the East Coast. “I don’t care about this,” a man named Aaron declared. “I live in New York.”
I’ll give another New Yorker the last word. In an article published in Outside Magazine in 2009, Nicholas Kristof, the Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and author, explained why some causes (the plight of a homeless hawk on the Upper East Side of Manhattan) attract more attention than others (the genocide in Darfur).
“We intervene,” Mr. Kristof wrote, “not because of stories of desperate circumstances but when we can be cheered up with positive stories of success and transformation.… The irony: Altruism creates its own selfish reward. Or, to put it another way, nobody gains more selfish pleasure than those who act selflessly.”
(You can read Mr. Kristof’s article by clicking here.)
I’ll be sharing other stories of IDE’s success in the weeks ahead. Please join me to learn more about our work and how you can get involved:
- Denver Mile High Rotary Club, Wednesday, April 6, 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., University Club, 1673 Sherman St., Denver.
- Castle Rock High Noon Rotary Club, Thursday, April 7, 12 p.m., Philip S. Miller Library, 100 S. Wilcox St., Castle Rock.
- Brown-Bag Lunch, Monday, April 11, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., at IDE, 3rd floor conference room, 10403 W. Colfax Ave, Lakewood. (Please note new date.) This month’s discussion will focus on Latin America.
- Denver West Rotary Club, Tuesday, April 12, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Rolling Hills Country Club, 15707 W. 26th Ave., Golden.
- Denver Cherry Creek Rotary Club, Tuesday, April 19, 7 a.m., Inn at Cherry Creek, 233 Clayton St., Denver.
A School of iDEas
From Raisa Chowdhury, here’s a report from iDE Bangladesh’s annual staff retreat.
iDE Bangladesh recently hosted its Annual Retreat for 2011 for all 76 staff from different field offices around the country. The 3 day workshop, from 14th to 16th March, was hugely successful in bringing about organizational integration and, it is hoped, will lead to significant performance improvements in the future.
The theme of the workshop was “A school of iDEas”. This sought to promote iDE Bangladesh as an organization which nurtures and creates innovation and new ideas. To make the learning and the team development process more effective, all staff including directors, officers, specialists, coordinators, administrators, interns, guards, drivers and friends, were divided into four different teams of Green, Blue, Red and Black to undertake group presentations, workshops, tasks and competitive sporting events.
The retreat harnessed the talent, experience, wisdom and logic of all members of the iDE Bangladesh family. This enabled staff to successfully complete team building activities including making presentations to generate intra-IDE knowledge exchange, designing posters representing staff expectations for the retreat, and also cultural events including singing, poetry recitals and mime! The cultural events were for many the highlight of the retreat.
iDE Bangladesh always seeks to continually improve its performance, and staffs were asked to provide feedback and recommendations regarding any aspects of their work. These comments will be addressed in four project management team meetings over the course of the year. The retreat proved to be an excellent opportunity for everyone to meet and tackle existing issues, address queries, perceive future challenges and to think about ways of improving how the organization performance. iDE is a collective of distinctive minds, and by joining together under the umbrella curriculum of poverty alleviation, we found we could establish a solid foundation for future successes.