Proximity Designs

Reducing poverty by designing low-cost products

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MM Myanmar
Web http://www.proximitydesigns.org/home.html
Maturity

Concept

About the project Edit

Proximity Designs uses a design-centric approach identifying high-impact opportunities to boost agricultural productivity and increase income for millions of smallholder farm families. The pioneering on-the-ground enterprise in Myanmar (Burma) designs, builds, and markets affordable products and services that vulnerable rural families use to transform their lives: they design with empathy. So far more than 90,000 income-boosting products and service have been sold, changing the lives of more than 400,000 people. Proximity will grow its work in irrigation products, farm advisory services and product financing as well as expand into rural energy products.

Themes

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

They design and market products and services that low-income farmers purchase and use to help increase their incomes. The organization sells foot-powered irrigation pumps, water storage tanks, drip irrigation systems, solar lighting and farm advisory services.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

Said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of The Skoll Foundation: “Proximity does groundbreaking work in one of the toughest, most isolated places on earth: Myanmar. Founders Debbie and Jim Taylor and their organization offer thoughtful on-the-ground design and rigorous impact evidence, addressing extreme poverty by treating the poor as customers and promoting economic growth at the bottom of the pyramid. We couldn’t be more pleased that Proximity Designs is joining our Skoll community of social entrepreneurs.”

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

Said Debbie Aung Din and Jim Taylor, Co-founders of Proximity Designs: “It is a real honor to be recognized, knowing this award is for very selective social enterprises that have a big impact on big problems. Our hardworking staff and the strong rural families in Burma are the true heroes and should be recognized for their resilience and innovation in the midst of sometimes overwhelming constraints.”

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

What is the business model of this project? Edit

How it works:
Treat the poor as customers, not as beneficiaries of charity donations;
Systematically identify opportunities for money- making products for rural households;
Design in-country with world class collaborators;
Secure best option for low- cost manufacturing;
Target marketing campaigns to reach the rural poor;
Sell through multiple existing sales channels.


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