Local [Canadian] company honoured for work in Cambodia

Friday, July 9, 2010

Winnipeg native Cordell Jacks, centre, is an integral part of IDE’s success in Cambodia.

By Trevor Suffield
Winnipeg Free Press (Alberta, Canada)

A St. James-based enterprise that aims to make life easier for Cambodian people in Southeast Asia has been honoured for the second time in less than two months.

International Development Enter­pri­ses, a registered charity, works with farmers to help them develop sustainable technologies that will allow them to become participants in local markets.

IDE’s goal is to bring 20 million poor, rural families out of poverty by 2020.

It has already helped approximately 3.8 million families with its initiatives, according to Stuart Taylor, executive director of IDE Canada.

Last month, IDE’s latest program, the Easy Latrine, was honoured with Best in Show at the IDEA International Design Excellence Awards.

The latrine is a low cost, easy-to-install device that costs $25, is installed in less than a day and helps combat the poor sanitation that kills many people in Cambodia each year.

"The components are pre-fabricated and we work with local crafts people that make the parts and are able to sell them and make money doing that," said Taylor, who lives in St. Boniface.

More than 3,000 latrines have already been sold since the program was launched approximately six months ago.
It was the second time IDE has been lauded recently for its efforts in the developing world.

In May, it won the inaugural Nestle Prize in Creating Shared Value for an innovation program in Cambodia.

The Farm Business Advisor program has facilitated 60 rural Cambodian entrepreneurs to start agricultural distribution and consulting services.

To date, the program has enabled 4,500 small-scale farm families to enhance their net income by 27%.
The award comes with a cash prize of more than $450,000, which the company will use to recruit and train 36 new advisors.

Taylor said that part of the success of the program was due to Tamara Baker and Cordell Jacks, IDE’s program manager for the water and sanitation program in Cambodia.

"It is so important, especially here in Cambodia where society is still rebuilding from the legacy of genocide and international support is necessary for a productive and healthy society to flourish," said Jacks in an email interview from Cambodia.

"The locals really appreciate the support too."

Jacks said that one of the latrine producer entrepreneurs was illiterate and went from making $50 a month, to over $600 a month by selling latrines.

With a worldwide staff of more than 400, and eight international field offices, Taylor said the company’s success goes much further than simply giving the proper tools to residents.

"Our approach is to design and market programs in such a way that those tools are available to them in the local market, through local retailers, produced by local manufacturers who are all making a profit, including the farmers," Taylor said.

Taylor said that in the next few years, IDE Cambodia will look to expand both the water and sanitation work and the farm business advisor work and act as a catalyst for other IDE programs.

In order for IDE to reach its goal of helping 20 million people, Taylor said other organizations need to step up and get involved.

"We need other businesses to come on board and look at investments in for-profit enterprises that are producing value for small rural farmers, be it affordable irrigation, affordable clean water or affordable sanitation for these latrines," Taylor said.

"We talk about basic human needs, and this is a way of using a market orientated approach to try and achieve that goal."

For more information, visit www.ide-canada.org.


Post a Comment