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by Elena Cret, Field Communications Fellow in Eastern Europe

When you think about what you are thankful for, one of the first things that comes to mind may be your family. Family is such a blessing from God that sometimes we take it for granted. As I have traveled and interviewed various clients in Eastern Europe for HOPE International, I have heard from many that the biggest motivation for opening their business was their family. Because jobs are so scarce, many people have to leave home to find work, so it’s been encouraging to see how HOPE’s services have made it possible for families to live under the same roof.

Vasea, a client who grows strawberries in the Vinogradov region of western Ukraine, told me: “I worked for three years in Slovakia in open fields to be a provider for my family, but, at the same time, I was away from my family. I wanted to be close to them. I wanted to see how my three kids were growing.” Vasea decided to return home, purchase some land, and start investing in it. Continue Reading…

Agriculture client in Ukraine

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

Continue Reading…

Peter recently received his first loan from ROMCOM, HOPE’s partner in Romania. He used the loan to invest in his greenhouse, upgrading the building and purchasing special tables that automatically irrigate the plants they contain. Peter and his wife have one child, and together they hope to one day open a boarding house, where tourists can stay comfortably when they come to visit Romania.