CRS, Farmer to Farmer Program (USAID), 2014
Business support for a small grain milling service and retail business operated by a women’s community group
Gathered relevant information from stakeholders, including group members, suppliers, and local government agencies
Analyzed financial situation, product line, organizational structure, internal capabilities, and local market
Met with the group weekly to obtain their input/feedback on strategy development
Met with other women’s groups to offer assistance
Developed a plan that included a recommended organizational structure, suggestions for product line and profit improvement, marketing and promotion tactics, business expansion, and potential sources of funding
At the end of the assignment, Huruma (the women’s group I worked with) gifted me with the most memorable sendoff I’ll ever have. We would meet every week under the grandest fig tree on the planet. Our final meeting was to review my report and recommendations. I certainly wasn’t prepared for what came next.
Some of the woman stood up to comment and thank me in Swahili. I was so proud of the women and touched by their dedication and gratitude. One spoke for some minutes. I wondered what she was saying, as the project manager from the CRS home office kept uttering, “Wow. Wow. Wow.”
After she finished, and after the applause, I turned to him for a translation. “I’ve never seen anything like this, ” he said. “She very much appreciates the help you have given to Huruma. She said that she was no longer of childbearing age, but if she were to have a daughter, she would name her Donna Rosa.” Wow indeed.