Want to Scale-Up your Development Project? Make a Bollywood Movie

In the late 1980’s after launching IDE, I knew we had a big problem. We were convinced that treadle pumps, a simple $25 StairMaster device that could earn a net income of $100 a year or more for one-acre farmers could make a huge impact in Bangladesh. And we knew that market forces were the best way to bring them to scale. But how could we put them in the hands of millions of small farmers? We started out by energizing a private sector network of 75 small manufacturers, 2500 village dealers, and 3,000 village well drillers who we trained a three day course with…

Continue Reading

How Shopping is Experienced in Different Parts of the World

By Paul Polak Everybody in the world shops, but for some the experience is very different than for others.  In Denver when I shop for a nice cut of meat to serve for company, the place where I shop looks something like this. In rural Kenya, when a family is able to afford some meat for dinner, the place they shop looks more like this. The Walmart or King Soopers or Whole Foods equivalent for the 2.6 billion people in the world who live on less than two dollars a day is the small mom-and-pop village shop which sells bananas, cigarettes, matches, cookies, candies, small…

Continue Reading

Why Ending Poverty is Greener than Green

I believe that ending extreme poverty can have a greater positive impact on the environment than just about anything else we can do. Because of its central role in population growth, climate change, loss of biodiversity and conflict, implementing practical solutions to extreme poverty is probably the first place to start if you want to make a significant contribution to preserving the environmental balance of the planet. Practical solutions to extreme poverty already exist. If organizations like IDE and the Grameen Bank have helped some 40 million extremely poor people move out of poverty, what’s stopping us from scaling up the market driven approaches that can do the same for a billion people?

Continue Reading