Economic Development is not an end in itself, but an essential part of the change required so that families and communities can create nurturing environments where children can thrive. Improved incomes and financial stability in the household mean that families have the option to spend money on things that positively impact their children’s lives.
Farming as a business
Supporting farmers to grow more crops is only half the battle. Small scale farmers often find it difficult to secure a decent price for their produce. Many struggle access to profitable markets, are poorly equipped to analyse market trends and requirements, and lack the resources to take advantage of business opportunities.
World Vision supports farmer’s groups in our ADPs with training in marketing and business skills to help them analyze and respond to opportunities, in order to obtain a better price Farmers coming together in associations and cooperatives means they have better bargaining power, can access credit more easily and can pull their resources to better afford transport, seeds, tools and fertiliser. We also work with farmers to develop improved storage practices, and processing and packaging techniques that add value to their produce, so they can be more competitive and raise household incomes. In communities where other non-farm income generating opportunities are more viable, we work with small scale entrepreneurs to give them the skills they need to succeed.
We help communities establish Savings Groups for members of the community who cannot access savings and loans facilities from banks or micro finance institutions. A Savings Group is a group of community members who come together voluntarily to save money together. They are owned, managed and operated by their members using a simple, transparent mechanism by which they can convert small amounts of cash into savings and then draw upon small, flexible loans when needed.
Membership of a Savings group helps families plan for and meet essential healthcare and education cost, and cope with emergencies and life events such as funerals and weddings without being exposed to debt. It also helps families build up capital to make smalls investments to gradually work their way out of poverty.
World Vision strives to empower youth and adolescents with short, medium and long terms skills development that not only prepares them for adulthood, but prepares them to take advantage of economic opportunities both on and off the farm. This includes providing youth with the opportunity to gain vocational and technical skills, and improving access to the services, resources and relationships required so they can start their own business or gain employment. Life skills such as communication, critical thinking and collaboration are all critical, alongside financial literacy and entrepreneurship skills.