MEND’s first foray into sustainable investment is earning us up to 100%-200% profit per annum which is very exciting. This stretches our capital and multiplies the grants we are able to give out to those in need.
Encouraging our partners to set up sustainable investments also shows us and them what they can do in both social services and in the business world!
These investments will lead to the creation of our own MEND Grameen-style bank with micro loans for poor people so they can earn a decent income.
MEND’s Current Sustainable Investment Projects:
Hydrabad, India – Lok, our KoolSkool website manager, also manages our buffalo herd producing buffalo milk which fetches good prices at the local market (see more info and video below)
Meru, Northern Kenya – with MEND’s help our partner, Shepherds of Light (SOL), leases farm land in the Samburu (Maasai) area and employs tribal women to grow crops of capsicum, onions and tomatoes to support the school. See recent updates from James, the Co-ordinator at SOL.
Also in Meru, Kenya – we bought a cow to start a dairy herd. The cow is managed by Doreen who runs a dairy farm. Profits each month from this white gold, milk, helps run a disability care centre in Meru.
South West Kenya – Our new partner, Hearts of Orphans and Disabled Children (HOADC), manages a school for 128 children. MEND is funding new facilities; water, toilets and beds plus sustainable investment. The team at HOADC have hired oxen to plough the lower part of land so they can plant maize and cowpeas for vegetables.
Gulmi, Nepal – Hope Disability Centre is the first centre MEND built. Today the manager, young Ganga, an amputee and former patient, manages the centre so well, they are now happily independent. Their latest sustainable investment is creating and selling large Teddy Bears!
Masaka, South West Uganda – Robert our Phoysiotherapist in Masaka now has two MEND funded pigs and 4 piglets but is hoping to extend this farming venture (and also sell hearing aids) to help fund his own Masaka Centre.
Buffalo Farming in Hyderabad, India
Our milking buffaloes are looked after by our young member, Lok, in Hyderabad. The sale of milk from each buffalo earns NZ$175 per month. Plus we get a calf each year that grows into a milker within 18 months.
We are depositing NZ$85 each month into Jyoti’s bank account, and when she is 18 she can buy some buffaloes or start a business to break her family’s poverty cycle.
Advice from Lok: “The buffalo dairy business is a very good business. I am also planning to increase the production of milk. I am planning to grow green grass in 1 acre of land because buffaloes love green grass and they will be happy eating.
Green grass helps us to increase milk production by up to 2 liters per buffalo a day. That is an extra 60 liters a month which is 2400 rupees (NZ$50). Buffalo farming needs experience and knowledge of Buffaloes. It is not easy though. On our dairy farm we milk the buffaloes with our hands. I milk 5 buffaloes twice a day.”
Planting Crops in Northern Kenya:
Our partner SOL Shepherds of Light looks after 7000 orphans and vulnerable children in Meru, North Kenya.
To support their work they now plant crops on land in the Samburu ( Maasai) area of Kenya near Nanyuki. MEND is sharing the costs to grow capsicum, tomatoes, and onions. SOL and MEND employ local women in this dry arid area of Kenya, which is lucky to have a river passing through that waters our crops.
This scheme was a success with the first crop of onions! We made US$1000 on an investment of US$1000 in planting costs.
Our next 3 acres onions gave us profits too of about Ksh 350,000 (NZ$5100, US$3458). Part of the profits we invest back in the farm while the other balance is dedicated towards healthcare and living costs for the children. For example, the profits paid for school fees for some of the children who did their primary school education last year and now join high school.
Sustainable Investment is very important to SOL:
- the crops ‘grow our grants’!
- creates employment locally for Samburu/Maasai people
- 100% more profits to help people with disabilities
- they can not achieve their work by relying on donor funding alone
James, SOL’s Co-ordinator gives an update:
“I visited the farm last weekend and we are doing great! In the next few weeks we should be getting to the market with our tomatoes and capsicum, our onions are also doing well though they take more time compared to tomatoes.
It is our hope that we can scale up this model so that we are able to support all our social community programs locally. The farm will be able to support our Physiotherapy center and other interventions.
The farm is employing more people and by the time we get to harvesting we will be employing more local women from the Samburu community on our farm. This a good element for they are able to support their children from the daily income, of Ksh 300 per person.
If we able to invest in purchasing our own land we would make more income and add more value to our farm produce.”
Dairy farming in Kenya:
This is another sustainable investment between SOL and MEND. Our first cow is looked after by Doreen on her dairy farm.
The latest news from James:
“I visited the farm and must say I was so impressed by the passion and great interest with the family to daily farming.
The area is in an agricultural location, just on the slopes of mount Kenya and very ideal for dairy farming. The mount Kenya forest is just a few meters from Doreen’s farm.
The mother has vast knowledge of dairy farming and record keeping. She took me round the farm and even visited a neighbour doing dairy farming on a larger scale. It was great learning for me. Dairy farming in Kenya is an ideal business venture with a milk-ready market throughout the year. It is a stable business model.
This is a family that is willing to partner with us in sustainable development and may even have a few more cows on the same farm. I highly support the venture.”