Archive for May, 2010

Your Vote Can Help End Poverty

May 31, 2010

Darwin Cruz is Online Communications Officer for Grameen Foundation.

In the face of some staggering statistics concerning global poverty, it’s easy to feel like the problem is so huge, and that we can’t make a difference. What could one person do?

When people want to take action and support Grameen Foundation, we offer opportunities to volunteer your time or donate your resources. While those are still great options, for the next 12 weeks, even just a few minutes of your time could make a world of a difference for people living in poverty. We’re excited to participate in Members Project® from American Express and Take Part where we are eligible to win $200,000 to help us fight poverty. However, we need your help to vote for us and spread the word to your networks.

Help us with these four things, and you’ll be taking a small but meaningful step towards creating a world without poverty.

  1. Vote for Grameen Foundation today (under Community Development), and come back every week (over 12 weeks) to vote again. Download this calendar event as a reminder.
  2. Use the SHARE option after you vote to encourage your friends on Facebook and Twitter to vote, too!
  3. Email your friends telling them why you care about poverty, and ask them to vote every week. You can use this email form.
  4. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get our updates, and share them with your networks.

Since 1997, we’ve worked with local organizations on the ground to empower more than 45 million people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We use microfinance and technology in tandem to find new ways to reach the one billion people living on less than a $1 a day. Your vote will help us continue this impactful work.

We’ll have some exciting posts detailing the work we’re doing around the world in coming weeks. We hope to connect you with the stories from field and share our successes and lessons learned. Stay tuned and thank you for your support!

If you’d like to be more involved and would like to help us promote this contest along with other initiatives online, you should apply for our Digital Street Team. Email with why you want to be involved.

Village Banking in a Potato Field

May 27, 2010

Pat Kelly is Senior Communications Officer at the Grameen Foundation Social Performance Management Center (SPMC) based in Washington, DC. She’s has been traveling in Peru conducting interviews with PRISMA Microfinance, an MFI implementing our Progress Out of Poverty Index™ (PPI™).

Potato Farmers in Huancayo

In mid-afternoon I visited quite a different village bank meeting—this one held outdoors in the middle of a potato field. It was potato harvest time and the dozen clients who made up the village bank chose to gather in a corner of the field with their loan officer rather than leaving the field. Some clients had been in this group for seven years. One older mother was joined in the group by a daughter and a daughter-in-law, each with one a swaddled baby.

All said they used their PRISMA loans for growing their crops, and for some animals including cows, sheep, pigs, bulls and guinea pigs. With their harvest income, they buy seeds and fertilizer for their next crop. “We always win at harvest time,” said one. The group confirmed that they had never experienced losses with their harvested crops. When the meeting ended, they all drifted back into the field to continue the harvest.

To read more about Pat’s travels through Peru, check out her posts below:

  1. Pat Meets PRISMA
  2. Pat on the Road to Pampas
  3. PRISMA Entrepreneurs in Huancayo
  4. Village Banking at Work

Connecting Rural Farmers With Vital Knowledge

May 20, 2010

Lydia Namubiru is the Marketing & Communications Analyst for Grameen Foundation’s Community Knowledge Worker initiative in Uganda.

In early 2009, Grameen Foundation went to Uganda with the idea of creating a fluid and effective two way communication channel between rural farmers and the world of agricultural experts, development agencies, traders and commercial players. Through this loop, rural small holder farmers would be given livelihood saving agricultural information generated by the experts and the big players would keep informed on conditions on the farm from adoption of best practices to available produce for sale.

This poster educated people on the benefits of sending a text message like "My bananas are sick!"

If you know much about agricultural extension services in rural Africa, you could have called such a ambition, well, ambitious. Traditionally, taking agricultural extension services to these farmers who live in far and hard to reach places is slow, expensive and inefficient because it is riddled with bottlenecks such as poor or no road infrastructure and few extension workers spread thin over vast areas.

The CKW program's Google G1's being charged up by rays of sunlight

Grameen Foundation’s technology center had a plan – harness the power of the mobile phone, a technology that is oblivious to such bottlenecks and combine it with a network of human intermediaries that can be trained to fully leverage its capabilities for the benefit of the farmer. The Community Knowledge Worker concept was thus born but would it work?

Continue reading at the AppLab Blog.

Download the full Community Knowledge Worker Pilot Report.