If you saw how poor I was before, you would see that things are getting better.
When I hear stories like that of Jean Bosco Hakizimana, a Burundian farmer whose life was transformed by a cow, I get excited about the change we can all make. Jean Bosco’s income is improving, his kids are eating better, his wife has some nice clothes, and his manioc fields are yielding better harvests — all thanks to the milk and fertilizer from this one cow.
A similar story is playing out in more than 2,600 communities across Burundi, offering new life to a people once decimated by civil war. These community agricultural programs sponsored by the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, show that development doesn’t have to be that complicated and that collective effort can make all the difference.
VillageReach is a non-profit social enterprise whose mission is to save lives and improve well-being in developing countries by increasing last-mile access to healthcare and filling gaps in essential supporting infrastructure, especially for remote, underserved rural communities. VillageReach received the Development Marketplace award in 2003 and also participated on the Development Marketplace Investment Platform program with its vaccination program in Mozambique.
This program focuses on improving the performance of the health system in Mozambique through the use of dedicated distribution channels for vaccines and other medical commodities to community health centers. The program’s key objective is to achieve high vaccination rates and low vaccination dropout rates, as well as to increase the overall knowledge and trust in the use of local health services. The key feature of the program is to achieve systemic change in the performance of the Mozambique Ministry of Health by building its capacity and expanding the dedicated logistics system, which would result in VillageReach decreasing its role over time as greater capacity is built.
There’s an exceptional amount of ingenuity within the development community. Each day, brilliant minds devise elegant solutions to seemingly insurmountable challenges that are multiplied with limited resources and complex realities on the ground.
An example of this creativity can be found in the Questionbox, devised by the non-profit organization, Open Box, which brings global intelligence into a small solar powered audio box that works to empower residents with knowledge even if the area lacks reliable access to electricity or if the user is illiterate.
Residents use the device by pushing a green button and asking their question through a solar powered microphone, the question is transmitted to an operator who searches for the information on the internet and then relays it back to the client.