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Matching Donations to Help Farmers Pedal Out of Poverty

For the past three weeks, B Lab has been bowled over by the support we’ve seen in the Skoll Foundation’s Social Entrepreneurs Challenge. Our community has already helped us raise over $30,000—we’re humbled and honored by how many people have had our back. But being a Skoll Awardee isn’t just about helping ourselves—it means we’re called to help others. That’s why we’re so excited to be working to support another Skoll Awardee this week!

Through Monday, November 24, the Skoll Foundation has paired all the participating organizations and asked us to work together in the spirit of collaboration. B Lab is proud to be paired with International Development Enterprises (India), or IDEI. A Skoll Awardee in 2005, IDEI works to help smallholder farmers in India build a pathway out of poverty through their innovative Treadle Pump irrigation technology. A single Treadle Pump can add an extra $400 to the income of a single household every year for ten years! Plus, it also lets a farmer use less water and avoid using fossil fuels. Watch IDEI’s video below to see how it helped one family, and check out the Skoll Foundation's profile of their founder Amitabha Sadangi to learn more about their incredible work.

IDEI’s impact alone would have made us excited to work with them, but it turns out they’re also fellow believers in using business as a force for good! Read in their own words how they believe the private sector can work with NGOs to create greater impact:

Most technology development programs view smallholder farmers as too poor to afford modern technologies, and their demand as too fragmented to be served cost-effectively. Though there are several private companies and government research organizations dealing in irrigation technologies and farming equipment, none of these specifically design, develop and disseminate technologies catering to the needs of smallholder farmers.  IDEI is unique in focusing primarily on smallholders as its target customer base for technology development & dissemination. This focus has already transformed the lives of millions of smallholder farm families across the globe.  In contrast to the dominant view, IDEI takes the stand that the poor are not marginal “recipients of charity,” but “customer entrepreneurs” eager to build their own futures.

IDEI is in the business of poverty alleviation using a market-development model that envisages the integration of poor smallholders with markets, both as buyers of inputs and as vendors of high-value agricultural produce.  The starting point for this prosperity-enabling approach is strengthening smallholder farmers’ access to affordable, efficient irrigation technologies. These technologies facilitate increases in agricultural productivity and related income, which can then be spent on better housing, healthcare, education for children, and asset building. In order to deliver the technologies to smallholders, IDEI has adopted an innovative “Profit for Progress” methodology, creating and nurturing private sector supply chains engaged in the manufacture and distribution of the technologies, at fair prices which incorporate a profit margin for the manufacturers and distributors.  With assured access to irrigation, smallholder farmers are empowered to undertake the journey from rain-fed subsistence farming to remunerative commercial cultivation of marketable crops.
- Shveta Bakshi, Vice President

B Lab is so psyched to be working with IDEI that we’ve decided to put our money where our mouth is. A $75 donation to IDEI pays for one Treadle Pump for one smallholder farming household. Between now and Monday, November 24, B Lab will match the first 100 donations of $75 to IDEI from our friends & followers. That means your $75 donation can help change the lives of not one but two families for the next ten years. 

You can donate to IDEI here—make sure to include “B Lab” in your donation name so we know to match your gift! 

We’ve been blown away by how much you’ve supported us these past few weeks—let’s spend the next week helping others.

Learn more about the SEChallenge here. To support B Lab, visit our fundraising page.


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