28 April 2014
For most smallholder farmers, access to water can be challenging. The dry season usually lasts for nine months, leaving only three months for the rain. Therefore, many subsistence farmers grow a year’s worth of their staple crops, like rice or wheat, during the three-month rainy season. They are so focused on making sure they have enough of their staple crops to last a year that they don’t use much of their farmable land to grow fruits or vegetables. However, if farmers can access water to grow crops during the dry season, they can grow high-nutrient crops to eat at home or sell in the local market. In order to do this, farmers need to be able to access water from the ground to irrigate their crops. Our solution to accessing underground water is through manual well drilling. This system uses human strength to pound hollow iron rods into the ground until the drillers find a reliable water source. Once the well is dug, a pipe is installed with a treadle pump fixed on the top. See the process for yourself.
Through manual well drilling, farmers have the ability to increase incomes, improve food security, and access water for livestock and domestic needs. This technique is widely used throughout Asia and Central and South America but is less common in Africa. The success of this technique largely depends on the geological features of the region, which limits the area where it can be used. The ground must be suitable and have shallow aquifers to ensure water levels can be sustained. Well depths can vary depending on each location’s geographical structure, affecting the ease with which a pump can be installed to access the water underground.
Not only does manual well drilling help farmers to access much needed water from the ground; it also creates local businesses and jobs. iDE helps to train village-based entrepreneurs to drill a well and how to access the proper depth (depending on the soil composition), install a pump, and provide the farmer with future well-related services. Drillers become certified through iDE and employ two helpers each time a well is needed. More than 100 drillers have been trained, certified, and established as independent contractors. This approach to manual well drilling is beneficial to the local economy because it helps to provide life-enhancing services to local farmers and creates local jobs. In just a few years, iDE’s manual well drilling activities in Ethiopia have created over 400 jobs in rural communities.
21 April 2014
Emerging Leaders from 10 Social Sector Organizations to Build Personal, Business and Leadership Skills at 2014 Leadership Academy
(GLENDALE, Ariz.) April 10, 2014 — Having increased the leadership skills of 150 managers from over 50 international nonprofit organizations in the Academy’s five-year history, Thunderbird School of Global Management is once again teaming up with American Express to offer the 6th Annual American Express Leadership Academy, May 4-9, 2014, at the Thunderbird campus in Phoenix, AZ.
This year’s Academy will focus on enhancing the leadership skills of representatives from 10 international social sector and nongovernment organizations including TED Conferences, BRAC, Charity: Water, Feed My Starving Children, Free the Slaves, iDE, Make-A-Wish International, Pencils of Promise, Project C.U.R.E. and Special Olympics International. Participants will develop new strategies and skills to assist them in operating more productive and successful nonprofit organizations.
“The selection process for the Academy is rigorous,” states Doug Hoxeng, Ph.D., Thunderbird program director for American Express Leadership Academy. “The application process includes executives reviewing their strategic challenges and proposing a project for their ‘emerging leader’ participant team to further develop at the Academy. Each team project must have the potential for significant results within their organization and benefits for those they serve. Our faculty help make that happen by providing thought leadership to each organizational team to turn insight into action.”
In an effort to reach more leaders, American Express will live stream a Leadership Academy session, “Funders Panel: An Inside Perspective” on Wednesday, May 7, from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EST. The panel will feature private and corporate funders discussing emerging issues and best practices related to engaging grant makers. Live stream viewers can join the conversation and submit questions that can be addressed by the panel on Twitter by using the hashtags #AmexLeads and/or #SocEntChat. Register at www.thunderbird.edu/AMEX-live with the access code Amex2014.
The Academy is tailored to fit cultural nuances and different nonprofit niche needs, with the consistency of core elements. The program is practical, interactive and can be immediately implemented into the workplace. Participants will engage in team exercises, case studies, class discussion and leadership style assessments. The Global Mindset Inventory assessment is used to measure the Global Mindset profile of the participants. Following the Academy, participants work with their organizations’ senior leaders to implement what they learned.
Mary Teagarden, Ph.D., academic director of the Academy adds, “American Express and Thunderbird are committed to developing emerging social sector leaders for achieving real impact, not only within their own organizations, but also in their greater social sector community. The Academy helps participants grow as leaders and inspires them to spread their learning to others for creating sustainable change.”
Leading up to the American Express Leadership Academy, American Express, Ashoka, The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and Thunderbird will co-host a live Twitter chat on Thurs., April 24, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EST entitled “Fundraising for Impact.” The chat will discuss best practices in fundraising and provide participants with the opportunity to learn more about key trends and chat with top nonprofit leaders from across the globe. You can send questions to the moderator, @changemakers, for discussion. You can follow the conversation on Twitter by using #AmexLeads and #SocEntChat hashtags.
Thanks to the success of the preceding five Academies, the upcoming 6th Annual American Express Leadership Academy is the first in a three-year grant awarded to Thunderbird by American Express Philanthropy.
About Thunderbird School of Global Management
Thunderbird is the world’s No.1-ranked school of international business with nearly 70 years of experience in developing leaders with the global mindset, business skills and social responsibility necessary to create real, sustainable value for their organizations, communities and the world. Dedicated to preparing students to be global leaders and committed global citizens, Thunderbird was the first graduate business school to adopt a Professional Oath of Honor. Thunderbird’s global network of alumni numbers 40,000 graduates in more than 140 nations worldwide. The school is sought out by graduate students, working professionals and companies seeking to gain the skills necessary for success in today’s global economy. For more about Thunderbird, visit http://www.thunderbird.edu.
About American Express: Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow
One of American Express’ three platforms for its philanthropy is Developing New Leaders for Tomorrow. Under this giving initiative, which recognizes the significance of strong leadership in the nonprofit and sectors, American Express is making grants focused on training high potential emerging leaders to tackle important issues in the 21st century. Nearly 15,000 emerging nonprofit and social sector leaders worldwide have benefitted from American Express leadership programs. Launched in 2008, the American Express Leadership Academy addresses the growing deficit of leadership talent in the nonprofit sector. The Academy brings together emerging leaders from a diverse set of nonprofit, social sector and non-governmental organizations.
About American Express
American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, foursquare.com/americanexpress, linkedin.com/company/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress.Key links to products and services: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, business travel, and corporate card.
This press release was provided by the Thunderbird School of Global Management. 2014
28 March 2014
Meet Fabian Amili, one of our farming heroes in Zambia. By partnering with iDE, Fabian increased his own family’s income and worked his way out of poverty; today as a Farm Business Advisor he inspires everyone in his village to do the same.
Farm Business Advisors help their neighbors access seeds, fertilizer, water pumps, and other critical farming tools. Donations from RLG, the Rudy and Alice Ramsey Foundation, and many others have supported the training of more than 130 Farm Business Advisors in Zambia.
On Fabian’s farm you can see cabbage, peppers, tomatoes and other high value crops, which he sells on the local market. With the extra income, he has paid school fees for his children and bought medicine for his family.
Today Fabian is helping others by training them to use the same seeds and farming techniques he continues to use. With enormous passion he said, “if more farmers are doing well like me, we can grow together…” Fabian makes the world a better place.
Join us in training the next group of Farm Business Advisors! Donations to our agricultural work help lift families out of poverty not from a handout, but from their own hard work. With your donation of $110, we can bring another set of tools to an African farm.
26 March 2014
Meet Demu Bikila from Tulubolo, Ethiopia. She is a proud mother of five, and with a smile on her face she says, “I am a successful businesswomen.”
Before iDE, Demu could only grow food during the rainy season and harvest once a year. She tells you that she had “no previous knowledge of farming” and didn’t have any connections to the local market. To make matters even worse, Demu had no savings. This means she would have a hard time getting a loan from a local bank.
With a little help from iDE, Demu turned her life around, she:
- Connected with a local rural bank, with a program specifically for farmers
- Bought a treadle pump, good seeds, and dug a shallow well
- Received training in good agricultural practices
- Was linked to a buyer who would move her crops from her farm to the market at a good price
With a treadle pump and access to ground water Demu can harvest four times a year. With this, she now has a consistent income and her family can eat nutritious food throughout the year.
What will she do next?
Demu knows she has a hard road ahead of her as a single mother. Her husband died some years back and all she has left is the land that was once his and her kids. Had s
he been younger she would have lost the land completely because traditionally it would have gone to his brother. Being a female landowner, she is now a minority in Ethiopia, BUT she is empowered and knowledgeable.
She has plans to continue to work with iDE so she can continue to learn and pass the knowledge onto her children. Demu wants to make even more money so she can send all of her children to school.
Demu is thankful for what she has and is ready to work hard so her children can have a better future.
30 September 2013
Michael Roberts from iDE Cambodia will be attending and presenting at Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) 4th Annual Meeting, 2013.
The conference theme for this year is the Role of Private Sector and Producer Organizations in Rural Advisory Services and will be held September 24-26 in Berlin, Germany
Monday 23rd September 13:30 – 15:45 (CEST)
Swiss Forum on Rural Advisory Services (SFRAS) Side Event: Embedded services as modality for sustainable RAS
Case studies based on the experience of SFRAS members are presented that demonstrate the diversity of Rural Advisory Services provision in the form of embedded services as an approach for sustainability. Key themes addressed include:
- Embedding advisory services with input sales, processing and marketing
- Financial and ecological sustainability
- Comparative importance of embedded services in a pluralistic advisory services
Michael Roberts from iDE Cambodia will present the case study of the Farm Business Advisor model that embeds sales of quality agricultural inputs with professional training and support through ethical, relationship-based sales.
Peter Schmidt from Helvetas Swiss Interco-operation will moderate the session that will also feature case studies from CABI, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and Helvetas’ experiences in Bangladesh and Tanzania.
Tuesday 24th September 12:00 – 12:50 (CEST)
Parallel Session: Sustainability and cost-effectiveness in private sector and producer organizations
Michael Roberts will share lessons learnt from the Farm Business Advisor model developed by iDE in Cambodia and currently being rolled out by iDE programs in Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique and Nepal. Michael will be joined in the session by Stefan Kachelriess-Matthess from GIZ-Compaci and Souvanthong Namvong from the Department of Agriculture Extension and Cooperatives. The aim of this session is to identify sustainable and cost-effective approaches to providing rural advisory services, identify opportunities for transferability and garner lessons from existing public-private partnerships.
See photos on our Facebook page.
More details at, the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services.
6 September 2013
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.
27 June 2013
As Obama sets off to enjoy his Africa tour, let’s hope he enjoys locally grown food. There are some 500 million smallholder farms worldwide. More than 2 billion people depend on them for their livelihoods. These small farms produce about 80 per cent of the food consumed in sub-Saharan Africa.
These African farmers are essential to feed a growing continent.
When I think of African farmers, I think of those families we work with in Ghana, many gaining access to a water pump for the first time in their lives. I think of our farmers in Mozambique, growing hot peppers for international markets, and earning as much as $4,000, an amount they could only dream of previously. Or the farmers in Ethiopia, using one of our pumps and no longer walking a mile or more to collect water in buckets. As these hard working people invest in their farms, you can see the change. They grow more crops, and the grow a greater variety. It’s an investment. And with the right technology, they can grow their future.
In my many years of working in agriculture and rural development, two things have become increasingly evident. The first is that farming is a business – no matter how small the farm. Secondly, farmers need tools and incentives to expand their farms. They need access to water, seeds, and fertilizer. And they need access to markets. When we understand these farm families as businesses and not charity – as we at iDE have for millions of families – wonderful things start to happen. And more food is on the table.
28 May 2013
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
22 May 2013
Job title: Design and Marketing Volunteer
Contact: Ilana Martin
Work schedule: 20 hours, negotiable
Unpaid (possibly for academic credit)
iDE is an international family of non-profit organizations dedicated to creating income and livelihood opportunities for poor rural households. iDE is seeking a qualified, capable and hard-working individual with an interest in our mission and some experience in marketing to support our Marketing team.
- Provide graphic and layout support for thematic print marketing materials,
- Design a template and graphics for iDE’s (quarterly) e-newsletter (compatible with Vertical Response),
- Produce e-newsletter for next quarter (will receive guidance for content),
- Produce 1-2 minute promotional video for iDE, and/or edit existing footage,
- Edit website using html and CMS, and
- Design a post card mailer to send to donors in November.
- Other duties as assigned.
Skills or Experience:
Use of Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop
Animated video creation
Submit cover letter and resume to Ilana Martin, Business Development Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Open until filled.
17 May 2013
Title: Business Development Manager
Department: Business Development
Supervisor: Director of Business Development
Anticipated Start Date: June 1, 2013
Status: Full time
Position: iDE is an international family of non-profit organizations dedicated to creating income and livelihood opportunities for poor rural households. iDE enables these households to participate effectively in high value agriculture markets systems by improving small-scale farmers’ productivity through the promotion of affordable irrigation technologies, facilitating access to necessary inputs, and connecting famers with markets. iDE has 30 years of experience and programs in 11 countries.
The Business Development Department is responsible for securing funding for projects through bilateral government development agencies and multilateral development groups. The department writes proposals, capability statements, marketing materials and more. It also disseminates project information to other departments.
We are seeking a qualified, capable and hard-working individual to serve as Business Development Manager at the headquarters office in Golden (soon to be Denver), Colorado. This individual is primarily responsible for coordinating and preparing proposal submissions, together with IDE’s Country Directors and the Denver/Canada/UK based business development teams.
Duties and Responsibilities:
- Identify, research, and disseminate funding opportunities within iDE
- Manage and write proposals. Efforts include, but are not limited to:
i. Pre-bid research and preparation
ii. Project design, including the preparation of log-frames
iii. Partner negotiations and relations hip management
iv. Drafting and finalizing content for technical and financial proposals, including budget
v. Editing and document formatting
vi. Proposal submission
- Prepare supporting documents including (i) donor research (ii) capability statements, (iii) CVs, (iv) past performance references (v) position papers, (vi) marketing materials, and (vii) presentations.
- Serve as a knowledge management resource, including:
- Salesforce data entry,
- Organizing project documents,
- Locating and disseminating requested information, and
- Verifying project records.
- Provide management support for business development volunteers
- Conference identification, planning, preparation and attendance
- Supporting other departments with writing, formatting, and editing services, among others.
- Translate documents (if applicable)
- Fluent in English. Foreign language favorable (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Khmer, Nepali, Vietnamese, Bengali)
- Excellent writing, editing and formatting skills. Grant writing experience a must. Strong technical writing ability.
- Project design experience and understanding of monitoring and evaluation a strong plus
- Experience designing project budgets
- Either BA/MA in international development, journalism, or a related field, or equivalent experience
- Skilled in MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
- Self motivated and able to work with minimal guidance
- Highly organized and capable of multi-tasking
- Experience working in fast-paced environment
- Ability to meet deadlines
- Highly detail oriented
- Excellent problem- solving ability
- Can-do attitude
- Excellent verbal, intercultural and interpersonal communication skills
- Strong team skills and ability to work collaboratively with culturally diverse team members in a multi-lingual environment
- Enthusiastic with a sincere interest in the goals of the organization
- Travel, both international and domestic, to areas with minimum physical comforts may be required
- A valid passport is required at all times
- Work outside normal business hours is frequently necessary
How to apply:
Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to email@example.com.