First off, sorry for the huge paragraphs and mega font....Blogger is misbehaving today....
Here in South Pasadena we have been blessed to befriend some really wonderful people. I have posted briefly on the charms of our little town in the Big City here. One of the best blessing we have had is getting to know Jim & Debbie Taylor and their children. We met them about four years ago, have become good friends, and observed as they have begun and adventurous journey toward doing something remarkable - one farmer at a time - half way around the world.
Debbie, is a native of Myanmar (Burma) and has worked in Myanmar since 1995 as a consultant to the United Nations Development Programme and The World Bank. She has over 20 years of experience in developing countries, working in both Cambodia and Indonesia. She holds a masters degree from Harvard University in development economics and public policy. Jim has extensive experience in both the private and public sectors. Prior to launching the IDE-Myanmar program he was a senior executive in a global software company serving the food industry and in a Fortune 400 agri-business company. His development experience includes work in Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and India. He holds an MBA from the University of Southern California and a masters degree from Harvard University. So there you are; two very smart and compassionate souls, and wonderful marriage partners.
Two years ago, the Taylors packed their belongings, leased their house on the next block over from our house, and took of to Burma, with their 12 year old son and 16 year old daughter. Jim and Debbie are now working in conjunction with International Development Enterprises (IDE), manufacturing, marketing, and selling a small foot pump (pictured above). The pump sells to rural farmers for $13, and can increase annual income for a small farmer more than $150 per year.
You should know this type of development work has a good track record. In neighboring Bangladesh in the 1980s, IDE came across a locally-invented treadle pump with great promise. IDE helped to refine the pump design, initiate a private-sector supply chain, and actively market the pump to smallholders. The result was a phenomenal growth in the treadle pump market with dozens of manufacturers, over a thousand dealers, and over 1.5 million treadle pump users to date. The rural economy has been lifted to the point where many farmers are now investing in diesel pumps, as they can afford to even further increase investment and productivity in their farms.
Two people on the next street over take a risk, move thousands of miles away from home, and begin to make a difference, one pump at a time. Kingdom stuff.