iDE Cambodia Celebrates Another Successful Year!

iDE Cambodia

Last month, Rachel Pringle stopped by our London office to tell us about the latest news and successes of iDE Cambodia.

Rachel joined iDE Cambodia in March 2012, and is thoroughly enjoying her time out there! Fortunately for us, she was able to drop by our London office during her time back in the UK for Christmas to give us a fascinating update on some of the amazing work happening out in Phnom Penh.

iDE Cambodia have had a wonderfully successful year, the big success story of the year was iDE Cambodia’s ceramic water filter enterprise Hydrologic winning an Ashden Award – a huge achievement which has benefited the project in numerous ways. As well as bringing in a variety of opportunities, support, networks and connections, Rachel and the team can now use their knowledge from Cambodia to work with partners to develop similar commercial operations around the world, helping with product development, commercial opportunities, technical support and sales models. In 2013, Hydrologic will also branch out to develop new products and services to improve safe water access in rural Cambodian schools.

We were delighted to hear that Hydrologic with support from Nexus Carbon for Development have had their first Voluntary Gold Standard carbon credits issued in December Two thirds of rural households in Cambodia use wood or charcoal to boil water before drinking. Although helpful for purifying water, this has a high environmental cost. Hydrologic ceramic water filters reduce the amount of wood burnt and bolster rural economic development. By displacing water boiling practices, Hydrologic helps households avoid burning over 18,000 tons of wood each year, saving more than 40,000 tons of CO2 emissions yearly.

Hydrologic was also a winner of an Impact Business Award in 2011, meaning Rachel was able to attend an Impact Business Forum event in Pretoria, South Africa where she was able to gather ideas and learn from other entrepreneurs.

Another aspect we were particularly interested in here at iDE UK was the Hydrologic microfinance scheme carried out in partnership with microfinance institution Visionfund, whereby customers purchasing ceramic water filters are given the opportunity to take out a loan to pay for the installation of the filter. This has proven extremely successful as the vast majority of customers opt to take the loan when available and to date 100% have repaid the loan within the given repayment period. Visionfund also partner with iDE Cambodia’s sanitation team to provide microloans to rural customers for latrines. In 2012, Rachel has been working to develop financing options, including partnerships with microfinance institutions and web-based microfinance platform KIVA for iDE Cambodia’s Farm Business Advisor (FBA) enterprise to enable farmers and FBA entrepreneurs to purchase agricultural inputs and equipment that will improve their yields and income.

iDE Cambodia’s innovation team i-Lab have also had a busy year –  the i-Lab facility develops products and services that challenge key issues for the rural poor in Cambodia. The i-Lab designs radically affordable, market-based solutions for the poor to help them take steps out of poverty on their own. They also work to build the capacities of other organisations so that they can more effectively innovate pro-poor solutions. The i-Lab has now secured a number of innovation projects in 2013 including in the areas of hand hygiene, and clean drinking water access.


We can’t wait to see what is in store for Cambodia in 2013!

Thanks for stopping by Rachel!


Rachel (left) accepting our Impact Business Forum award

Rachel (left) accepting our Impact Business Forum award


‘Access to Finance’ announced as strategic theme for 2013

iDE UK Access to credit

After a fantastic year focusing on gender, iDE UK will concentrate on smallholder farmer’s access to finance in 2013.

iDE UK’s focus for 2012 was on gender, ensuring both men and women benefit equally from iDE UK’s work. We welcomed Sarah Mills as iDE UK’s first Gender Programme Officer to develop our learning and expertise in gender and agriculture and to ensure all projects are gender sensitive at all stages. Through this strategic focus, we have substantially improved our projects to ensure gender issues are addressed at all stages, and we will continue to prioritise gender in all of our future projects.

In 2013, we will shift our strategic learning focus to improving access to finance, helping smallholder farmer’s access credit to buy the technology and materials necessary to expand their farm businesses. The micro-finance revolution of recent years has largely failed to address the financial needs of smallholder farmers, who can only repay their loans after they have harvested their crops, and need financial products which are suited to their specific cashflow needs.

During 2013 we will review all our previous experience and learning around helping smallholder farmers access financial services and document this learning. We also have exciting plans to launch our own iDE UK micro-finance fund that will invest in seed funding micro-finance initiatives across our country programmes, helping to demonstrate the viability and potential of micro-finance for family farmers.

iDE has facilitated micro-finance initiatives for many years. An example of our work helping smallholder farmer’s access finance can be seen through our projects in Zambia. In 2008 iDE partnered with CETZAM Financial Services PLC, a microfinance institution operating in Zambia, to develop an agricultural loan suitable for iDE client smallholder farmers, which would allow them to purchase micro-irrigation technologies and other agricultural assets to improve their incomes and livelihoods. More than three years later, the iDE-CETZAM model serves as a best practice example of an effective and sustainable approach to agricultural microfinance that is stimulating growth and income generation in rural Zambia. In 2011, 2,820 loans were provided with an astounding loan recovery rate of 97.2%. To tap into this potential CETZAM has expanded operations and opened 13 satellite offices in Southern, Lusaka, Central and Copperbelt Provinces, with plans to extend its outreach further this year.

Access to finance also means we can continue prioritising gender in our work, as micro-finance initiatives enable women, as well as men, to empower themselves and work their way out of poverty. This can be seen through Florence Mapulanga’s journey as a smallholder farmer from Chibombo in Zambia. Florence was able to increase her annual income from $200 a year to $2000 over a five year period after adopting iDE’s approach, which included access to credit. Through this increase in income she was able to provide more nutritious foods for herself and her family, build a spacious and comfortable solid brick house and purchase new amenities such as a TV, phone and radio, improving the quality of her and her families’ lives substantially.

We understand that in order to be successful, loan products must meet the cashflow and business development needs of smallholder farmers, who don’t realise any profits until harvesting is complete. Loans can be tied to specific items of equipment or inputs and paid directly to local retailers from whom farmers receive their goods.

At iDE UK we understand that improving smallholder farmer’s access to finance means they are given the best chance of empowering themselves and working their way out of poverty.

In 2013 we will focus on realising this potential with all of our smallholder farm customers.

Season’s Greetings from iDE UK!


As the end of the year approaches, iDE UK would like to thank all of our supporters and reflect on the fantastic progress we have made over the last year.

What a great year it has been for iDE UK, we have welcomed new volunteers, interns and staff, continued our brilliant work and started on some exciting new projects for 2013. On top of this, we have just ended the year with the fantastic news that we have raised over £30,000 in just three days thanks to our generous supporters, The Waterloo Foundation and The Big Give Christmas Challenge!

In terms of our projects, we have had yet another successful year, and we continue to expand into new areas and countries.

We are still working hard on the Nepal and Bangladesh Agriculture and Nutrition Extension (ANE) project, which is funded by the EU and involves us managing a diverse group of partners including Save the Children, CIMMYT and WorldFish. The project is supporting 51,000 households to improve their food security and is increasing child nutrition in 16,000 households in Nepal and Bangladesh. The project ensures cutting edge agricultural technology, which vastly improves productivity, is getting into local shops for smallholder farmers to buy. This means that highly efficient and affordable irrigation machinery like the Axial Flow Pump become available to the poorest farmers.

Cambodia has also enjoyed a fantastic year, with successes in sanitation with the Sanmark project, as well as winning a prestigious Ashden Award with Hydrologic, gaining a gold standard with Carbon Offset Funding and continuing to help smallholder farmers through Farm Business Advisor programmes.

We are also going strong on our Ethiopia Smallholder Markets and Agriculture Resilience Transformation (SMART) Project in Ethiopia, helping 36,500 smallholder farming households, consisting of approximately 219,000 individuals out of poverty. So far, 4,419 smallholders have received a total of approximately 15.47 tonnes of certified seeds through our micro-finance institutions and new technologies!

We have also had a great year in Vietnam, through our Fertiliser Deep Placement Technologies (FDP) project funded by the innocent foundation. In this project we have successfully reached many of our targets and by the summer of 2012 2,726 farmers had adopted FDP technologies. Through applying FDP to their rice crops, the farmers have seen their fertilizer costs fall and their quantity of rice produced rise, leading to a 71.8% increase in income.

We are also now working to expand our farm Business Advisor programme into Mozambique, with the help of SIDA’s Innovations Against Poverty funding. SIDA’s support has allowed us to develop a comprehensive business plan; with many interested private investors we are presently hunting for the right social investor to implement the plan and match this exciting prospect to provide technical agricultural knowledge to smallholder farmers.

Next year we will start a project in Zambia, which will match local farmers to mining companies in order to create a market providing fresh fruit and vegetables to the mining workers. Through this project we aim to help 3,500 households raise their incomes by $350, utilising the markets created by new mines opening up in the area (with up to 36,000 hungry miners to feed each day) and supporting farmers to grow their way out of poverty in the long-term.

This year we have helped thousands of smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia realise their entrepreneurial potential and work their way out of poverty. Next year we aim to continue this success and help thousands more!

iDE UK 2012 Review

iDE UK invited to speak at Innovations Against Poverty event

iDE UK CEO Lewis Temple spoke about pioneering iDE Farm Business Advisor (FBA) scheme at recent event in Stockholm.

2012-11-26 15.31.01

iDE UK CEO Lewis Temple spoke about pioneering iDE Farm Business Advisor (FBA) scheme at recent event in Stockholm.

On 26th November, Sida’s Innovations Against Poverty programme held their first ever Conference and Awards ceremony in the Waterfront Congress Centre in Stockholm. Innovations Against Poverty challenges the private sector to develop products, services and business models that can contribute to poverty reduction and combat climate change. The conference was aimed at bringing together like-minded entrepreneurs, incubators and business practitioners to meet and share ideas about inclusive business development. As part of their mission to help innovative private sector development, IAP have awarded iDE UK a €20,000 grant to fund an initiative bringing the Farm Business Advisor model to Mozambique.

Lewis was invited to share iDE UK’s thinking on innovative solutions to combat poverty. Drawing on the Nestlé Creating Shared Value award winning Farm Business Advisor scheme in Cambodia, Lewis was able to demonstrate what can be achieved in Mozambique. The Farm Business Advisor initiative trains local entrepreneurs to sell agricultural inputs such as fertiliser and seeds to local smallholder farmers, as well as provide support and advice in order to help farmers grow market oriented crops. This approach ensures that farmers are able to improve their agricultural productivity, thereby enabling them to generate a stable income that can dramatically improve their living standards, and reduce food insecurity. This also provides Farm Business Advisors with a sustainable livelihood and income.

In Cambodia Farm Business Advisors currently work with over 15,000 farmer clients.  In Mozambique we estimate that farmers could increase their income by £186 a year, with FBA’s increasing their income by up to £621 a year.

In his presentation Lewis focused on describing the Farm Business Advisor franchise model, whereby Farm Business Advisors act as franchisees linked to a central franchisor that provides training and business support. In this way, Farm Business Advisors are individual entrepreneurs, yet operate under the brand, training and products of the wider scheme. This model presents a viable solution to the problem of getting the right products and services the very last mile, into the hands of the poorest and most isolated farmers.

Lewis reported that “Innovations Against Poverty are unusual in that they are prepared to take risks by investing in businesses trying to reach poorest. In this way, they are leading the way in using grant funding to enabling businesses to effectively reach the bottom of the pyramid.” He added that the event “was an excellent opportunity to bring together amazing entrepreneurs working across Africa and Asia. Everyone was able to share experiences and inspire one another. I was delighted to be part of the programme and am already looking forward to next year’s event.”

We would also like to say congratulations to sanitation initiative Sanergy, who won the main prize of Social Innovator of the Year!  Sanergy has created a sustainable sanitation business solution in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya that is providing clean and hygienic toilet services to some of Africa’s poorest urban slum dwellers.

Find out more about iDE UK and our Farm Business Advisor programme.

Take a look at Lewis’ presentation from the conference.

Success Story: Muze Meskelo’s Maize

Follow the journey of Muze Meskelo, an entrepreneurial farmer from Ethiopia

iDE entrepreneurial farmer in Ethiopia

Meet Muze Meskelo, entrepreneurial maize farmer and father of six children under 12 years old. He owns three sheep, two ox, a cow and a calf and owns half a hectare of Maize fields to grow his crops. He worked hard every day tending to his crops and his farm, yet was not producing enough maize to provide a sufficient income for his family.

Before he was introduced to iDE UK, his field produced 1.2 tonnes of maize, which would have made him around 3,600 Birr (£120) per year. He was then introduced to an iDE UK EU funded project called RAPID, which aimed to work with local smallholder farmers such as Muze to help them improve their crops and sustainably increase their income. Through the iDE UK project, Muze was able to get credit through a one year loan from a partner organisation to buy seeds and fertiliser and pay someone to weed his land. From the new maize seeds and fertiliser introduced by innovative iDE UK technologies and produced by local manufacturers, Muze was expecting to increase his crop yield to 5 tonnes from the same half a hectare space. This meant he was able to increase his income to a brilliant 15,920 Birr (£524) a year to provide for him and his family. Muze is now a successful entrepreneurial farmer and will continue to make a sustainable income from his crops!

Another successful project from iDE UK!

To donate to iDE UK and help other poor farmers in Africa and Asia create sustainable poverty-free livelihoods to support themselves and their families, please support us in The Big Give Christmas Challenge. All donations made 10am Thursday 6th – Saturday 8th December will be matched by The Waterloo Foundation.

One week to go to The Big Give Christmas Challenge!

Double all donations made to iDE UK between the 6th – 8th December with The Big Give Christmas Challenge


iDE UK have been given an incredible opportunity to double donations made to us between the 6th – 8th December! As part of the Big Give Christmas Challenge The Waterloo Foundation has very kindly agreed to match the donations we receive in these three days!

This means that if we reach our target of £10,000 we could be investing £20,000 into helping poor farmers work their way out of poverty!

iDE UK works with thousands of poor small-holder farmers in Africa and Asia, adopting market-based solutions to help them work their way out of poverty. From experience we know that every £1 given to iDE UK creates an additional £10 in household income for farmers and their families. This means that a matched donation of £100 could result in a poor farmer being £2,000 better off!

Here are some of the wonderful things that your Big Give donation could do:

A donation of £25 will be doubled to £50, which could pay an iDE UK Field Officer’s wages for one week. Field Officers work with around 500 poor farmers each week, ensuring they grow the right crops at the right time of year and to make sure they have access to profitable market opportunities. The role also involves training and supporting local Farm Business Advisors, as well as working with local manufacturers to ensure they are producing quality goods that can be sold to local farmers.

A donation of £75 will be doubled to £150, which could pay for the installation of a treadle pump. This is vital for demonstrating the technology to local farmers, who can then invest in their own treadle pump in order to expand their farm business. Treadle pumps enable farmers to access large quantities of water in an easy, cheap and environmentally friendly way. Access to water is an essential part of increasing both the quality and the quantity of crops, leading to better nutrition and a higher income for poor farmers.

A donation of £250 will be doubled to £500, which could pay for the training of a Farm Business Advisor. Farm Business Advisors are individual entrepreneurs who deal with around 130 farmers each week, encouraging and equipping them to grow market orientated crops in order to create an income for themselves and their families. Farm Business Advisors are an invaluable source of knowledge and support for entrepreneurial farmers working their way out of poverty.

Remember, the challenge starts at 10am on Thursday 6th December (exactly one week today!) The online donation system can become congested and on occasions may crash. Please make your donation as close to 10am as possible to ensure that you get your donation matched!

We would appreciate any donation, no matter what the size, and all donations will go directly towards helping poor farmers work their way out of poverty. Please don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to make the maximum impact on global poverty from your donation.

Donate to iDE UK (but remember it will only be matched from 10am Thursday 6th – Saturday 8th!)

World Toilet Day 2012: iDE promotes toilets in Cambodia

iDE project is revo-LOO-tionising sanitation markets in Cambodia and around the world.

Toilets are not exactly glamorous, but installing and using a toilet is vital in ensuring people stay clean and healthy, and can save thousands of lives each year. iDE provide sustainable sanitation solutions in Cambodia and around the world through human-centered and market-led approaches that make a real difference.

iDE know that promoting sanitation means more than just making toilets and handing them out to the poorest villages. Our approach is to develop, manufacture and market toilets with local communities, ensuring all products are viable, sustainable and succeed in improving the lives of the poorest.

With only 23% of rural Cambodians owning their own toilet, the market and scope for providing toilets and improving sanitation is huge. When we started our project in Cambodia in 2009, we understood the barriers many poor families face in acquiring a toilet, such as social values, a lack of awareness and poor access to credit. That is why we use sanitation marketing and human-centered design to ensure the toilets satisfy local aspirations and needs. We have also partnered with VisionFund to offer low interest loans to help locals buy their own toilet. Over 31,000 easy latrines have been sold in the last two years in Cambodia and we aim to sell 100,000 more in the next two years!

Through adopting a Sanitation marketing (SanMark) approach, toilets are marketed as an aspirational purchase, meaning the local community are actively encouraged to buy and use a toilet not just for their hygienic benefits, but also as a symbol of prestige. This also means that demand creation for sanitation is no longer the sole burden of government and NGOs. This project has enabled local entrepreneurs to profitably create and supply high demands for sanitation, in larger numbers, a shorter time frame, and with lower costs than any sanitation program has previously been able to achieve. This project was first run in Vietnam from about 2002 and its success means it has now been rolled out in Timor Leste, Laos, Bangladesh, Nepal, Ethiopia and Zambia!

Through treating people as customers and not as recipients of charity iDE are able to move beyond asking “what is good for people?” to “what is important to people?” We can understand what people need and how their aspirations can be fulfilled, supplying life-changing products through sustainable market chains. We look at supply and demand in order to establish new supply chains, creating new opportunities for manufacturers, suppliers, sellers and customers.

Through promoting toilets as a desirable and aspirational purchase, and by making it much easier for the poorest families to access markets and buy a toilet, iDE are helping improve sanitation on a monumental scale throughout Cambodia and around the world.

iDE UK, supporting World Toilet Day 2012.

Find out more about iDE UK Sanitation projects now!