Grant awarded to International Development Enterprises (iDE)
The Foundation is pleased to support iDE, Community Business Facilitator and Plant Doctor Training Programs. iDE is an international development organization that transforms the lives of marginalized communities in 11 developing countries around the world, through creating lasting income and livelihood opportunities for rural families.
Approximately 80% of the population in rural Nepal depends on agricultural, however, climate change is threatening the production and livelihood of many farmers. Rainfall uncertainty and the introduction of new pests, such as the devastating Fall Army Worm and the Tuta Absoluta, are having severe negative impacts on farming. Most rural farmers, especially women farmers, do not have the necessary agronomic knowledge or the inputs necessary to improve their baseline productivity or to cope with these new and emerging challenges. Additionally, weak market systems fail to reach small farmers with necessary services and information they need to be prosperous and resilient. Finally, women face specific social and cultural challenges that most men do not. Restrictive social norms have kept women from engaging in agricultural production and the traditional workplace. A grant from the McQuade Foundation will help iDE develop and train women in Nepal to become Community Business Facilitators and Plant Doctors. Community Business Facilitators (also known as a Farm Business Advisors) are small-scale entrepreneurs trained to deliver agronomic advice and sell seeds and inputs to farmers. They operate on a commission basis and provide a valuable service to farmers, linking them to markets and information. They are also an important vehicle for giving farmers, especially women and marginalized groups, a collective voice in communicating their needs.
Many Community Business Facilitators are however not trained on addressing the increasing threats of new pests, such as the Tuta Absoluta and Fall Armyworm. In 2017, iDE devolved their Plant Doctor program to train individuals to help understand and thwart these very dangerous pests and the devastation they can cause to local agriculture. Many of the individuals trained to become Community Business Facilitators and Plant Doctors thus far are women. They serve as a first line of defense in rooting our pests and identifying different solutions to rid of them. iDE’s goal is to maintain at least 50% of the Community Business Facilitators and Plant Doctors as women. They will need to travel into new communities in order to meet this standard.
This grant will give local farmers access to ergonomic knowledge and the tools required to help reduce risk and empower farmers to enhance their economic resiliency, profits, and better able to adapt to climate change. Additionally, with the enhanced focus to bring women into these roles, women will be better suited to increase their economic independence and play a greater role in their family decision making.