Archives For agriculture

Dried apricot, raspberry, brown sugar. No, these aren’t candle scents; they’re the delicate flavors of specialty coffees sourced from the highlands of Burundi and Rwanda. In my very caffeinated opinion, coffees from these two hilly countries in East Africa are among the world’s most delicious, and yes, they even fight poverty. Continue Reading…

Around the world, we see creative, industrious men and women committed to providing for their families and serving their communities through meaningful work. In this year’s gift catalog, we’ve included some of the tools HOPE International-network clients use in some of the most common jobs in the developing world: animal rearing, farming, tailoring, and store ownership. In this series, we’ll dive into some of the challenges faced by those in that profession.

For many families in the communities where HOPE serves, their dream is to own livestock—a goat, cow, chicken, or pig.

Owning livestock is a key component of food security, providing families with their own supply of milk, meat, and eggs. And since animal products can add greater nutritional and caloric value to a family’s diet, owning livestock can increase a family’s overall health.

Livestock owners can also use manure to fertilize their crops, cutting down the cost of purchasing fertilizer and increasing their yields. Many families also use smaller animals like sheep or goats as a means of investing their savings—it’s often a safer and more productive way to safeguard built-up sums of money.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization advocates that if more families have access to livestock ownership, global food security will drastically increase. 

That’s why HOPE invests in animal breeders.

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How can we design products based on feedback we’re hearing from clients? This was the question the HOPE Ukraine team sought to answer at a three-day retreat in July, using a process based on IDEO’s human-centered design approach. After collecting client feedback, HOPE Ukraine wanted to step back and brainstorm ideas based on their potential impact on clients. According to Dan Williams, HOPE’s director of spiritual integration:

It can be really easy to go into an operational mindset, to start problem solving, and to think about ideas from the perspective of, “Will it work?” without letting ourselves live in that space of, “What are our clients saying is important to them, and can we find a way to make it work even if our immediate response is that it would be tough?”

The process

First, the team dived into client feedback and came up with a number of observations, which they grouped into themes.

1.1 Grouping observations

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Jacob and his wife

Each year, we celebrate clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing Thurman Award winners. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, the Thurman Award celebrates clients who have not only experienced change in their own lives but have also extended that transformation to others in their community. We’re excited to share the story of this year’s honorable mention from Eastern Europe: Jacob Timos.

Over 10 years ago, Jacob Timos used his first loan from HOPE’s partner in Moldova, Invest-Credit, to open a rabbit-breeding business. He started with just six rabbits, and with additional support from Invest-Credit, he has significantly grown the business, selling rabbits to customers as far away as Germany.

Recently, Jacob bought more land and started growing raspberries in partnership with another Invest-Credit client. He says, “Without loans from Invest-Credit I wouldn’t have been able to start my business and grow to the level where I am now.” Jacob has referred over 200 clients to Invest-Credit! Operating a sustainable business in an area where many struggle to make ends meet, Jacob is an inspiration to his neighbors, who often ask him for insights on good business development. To help others provide for their families, Jacob has given away rabbits so that they can start their own rabbit-breeding businesses.

As a pastor, Jacob is passionate about seeing Christians in his community reflect the Gospel in their work, saying, “So many believers run businesses here, create jobs for others, and provide services. … Pray that people will turn to God here in Straseni. … That they would come to faith and know Jesus. That is the most important thing. ”

With dirt still in her fingernails from digging in her garden, Victoria proudly displays her produce—green and red peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans.

Six years ago, Victoria used her first loan from Invest-Credit, HOPE’s partner in Moldova, to buy the frame structure for her greenhouse. She uses it to grow produce, which she sells to retailers in bulk. The greenhouse enables her to continue growing produce throughout the cold winter months, thus increasing her profit. Continue Reading…

Each year, HOPE celebrates clients who demonstrate HOPE’s values of perseverance, compassion, character, and creativity by announcing the Thurman Award. Established in honor of HOPE’s first CEO and his wife, the Thurman Award celebrates clients who have not only experienced change in their own lives but have also extended that transformation to others in their community. We’re excited to share the story of Jean Marie, this year’s winner!

A role model in his community, Jean Marie Habyarimana owns the only restaurant in his small town in southern Rwanda, and he’s been recognized by the leaders of his district for exemplary farming practices. But in all his success, Jean Marie points first to his deepening relationship with God: “I was a Christian before joining Urwego, but being surrounded by other Christians in my everyday life, learning together how to do business, assisted me in understanding that in all we do, we must involve God.”

Enriching the soil

Though Jean Marie is passionate about farming, the soil in his community makes it hard to grow anything but coffee. To improve its fertility, Jean Marie used loans from Urwego Opportunity Bank, HOPE’s local partner, to buy two cows, two pigs, and eight chickens. By using their manure to improve the soil, Jean Marie has seen his fields produce abundant crops of beans, potatoes, cassava, bananas, and sweet potatoes.

Jean Marie

Jean Marie is also a model of sustainability. Before using manure as fertilizer, he first puts it through a biogas processor, which turns the gas into cooking fuel for his family. Even Jean Marie’s businesses flow into one another, as crops and milk from his farm supply the restaurant, while scraps from the restaurant feed his livestock.

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