When an individual/community is self-sustainable, they have the ability to provide for their needs with the resources that are at their disposal; they are not reliant on aid from others. Self-sustainability is advanced by a stable economy, an absence of armed conflict, access to natural resources, and a willingness to be innovative.
At Kutoa, we are not only concerned with meeting short-term needs, but with empowering people to help themselves (and others) for the long-term. In September, we;ve chosen three projects from our partners who are promoting self-sustainability within the communities that they serve. Each project has a different approach and appeal. Laos Outreach Mission is running a business that is doubling the income of subsistence farmers. They provide farmers seed for a "superfood" and buy the harvest at a fair price. This helps the farmer. Then they sell the product locally and by export, which makes the organization more sustainable. We don't often talk about how grassroots organizations can support their staff sustainably. This is a great example of that. At BBCF Bangladesh, we are looking at their Savings-Based Finance program. This approach to creating self-sustainability is built on the beautiful principle of sharing, and is not depend on any outside source of capital for loans. 100% of the loans come from the local people who share their money with each other. Our partner only helps to organize the people, teach them to keep good financial control and encourage them. Our third project this month is micro-finance for women in financial poverty. JKPS gives small loans of $100 to women after training them with some basic business skills. The program has a near 100% payback rate and loans circulate as much as 5x in 6 months. That means a donation of $100 is multiplied to $500 in half a year. It's going to be tough to choose one of these three great sustainable solutions when it's time to vote.