The TechnoServe staff is privileged to participate in the stories of men and women around the world who possess the vast potential to transform their own lives. Today, you can take part too. From growing a small business to helping a farmer adapt to the changing climate, your gift today can support those who need it most this year.
Give an entrepreneur better business skills
Provide an hour of expert business coaching to help an entrepreneur grow her business and her income.
Small- and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute up to 40% of national GDP in low-income countries. They are operated and often founded by women and men aiming to provide greater life opportunities for themselves, their families, and their communities. Despite its great importance, the SME sector in the developing world faces enormous challenges; many small enterprise owners do not have the training, skills, or market connections to make the most of their businesses.
Danielle Adétola Adanlawo of Benin was once one of these business owners. But with the training and individual coaching she received, as described by the gift above, Danielle’s business skills improved quickly. “My business has been reborn and my sales have increased enormously,” she says. Her income is now double what she used to make.
“Now I hear fathers telling their daughters around me that they had better do well in order to become great entrepreneurs like me,” she says with a smile.Danielle Adétola Adanlawo
Help a farmer adapt to climate change
Provide one year of training on techniques to combat crop diseases and other threats caused by climate change.
Smallholder farmers are on the front line of the climate crisis, which impacts every aspect of their daily lives — from the money they earn from their crops to the food they put on the table for their families. Nora Echeverría, 36, is a mother of three and smallholder farmer who has lived in the village of Subirana in Honduras all her life. She depends on her coffee crop for income to send her children to school and fix her home.
With climate-smart agriculture training from TechnoServe, Nora learned how to plant shade trees, apply organic fertilizer, and use other techniques that not only improved the local environment and reduced carbon emissions, but increased her coffee yields. Her community as a whole improved the amount of coffee they produced by 200%. “The preservation of the environment is a challenge we have as a community,” says Nora. “We have managed very well the cultivation of coffee without destroying the forest.”
Boost a farmer’s yields and income
Enable one farmer to attend TechnoServe’s signature two-year Farm College program, which leads to average yield increases of 50%.
Like many other smallholder coffee farmers, one of the main concerns of Fedila Hussein and Mustafa Tesfaye was low yields from their coffee trees. Over the years, the trees produced fewer and fewer coffee cherries. Coffee was the family’s primary source of income, and eventually, their yields were so low that they could no longer cover the basic expenses of their family of six.
More than 5 million coffee farmers live in East Africa. Like Fedila and Mustafa, the majority of them own fewer than five acres of land. For these families, coffee represents a pathway out of poverty, but many farmers struggle with unpredictable yields and low prices for their harvests.
In 2013, Fedila and Mustafa joined TechnoServe’s Coffee Farm College training program. After applying the new agronomic techniques they learned, Fedila and Mustafa saw their coffee improve dramatically. They now harvest 23 times more than they did before the training–enabling them to build and furnish a new home, and pay for their children to attend university. One is now a doctor and the other, a manager–and they have left poverty behind.
Says Fedila: “Now prosperity is flowing into our life like a river.”
Grow a small business
Provide one month of business training and mentorship to help small business owners maximize revenue and create local jobs.
Peru is one of the world’s leading producers of cocaine, and until recently, the farms around Chazuta were dedicated to growing coca leaves – the raw material for the drug. Narcotrafficking, and the violence that came with it, dominated the community. “Back then, there was nothing to do but cry and stay locked up in our houses. There was fear, terror from the violence,” says Ayli Quinteros, leader of Mishky Cacao.
Transitioning to a safer way of life required a viable economic alternative to coca. With support switching to crops like cocoa–and training for businesses that could buy the cocoa–the community slowly began fighting back against the scourge of drugs. Mishky Cacao was one of the enterprises that worked with TechnoServe to maximize its income as a chocolate producer, providing alternative employment and a source of pride for people in the community.
A woman-owned cooperative, Mishky Cacao soon increased its sales twelve-fold–and even won an award at the prestigious International Chocolate Awards in Paris. From business training and a dream of a better future came a business that has improved the quality of life for the women, their families, and the community.
Ayli says now: “The local economy and our community have changed, and everyone laughs, sings, and is free to enjoy.”