Help to Self-help
More than 50 percent of farmers in the areas where Better Globe Forestry Ltd (BGF) operate live below the UN poverty line of $2 per day. It is in these areas that we together can make the largest difference; far more than by the classic means of charity and aid.
To give people help when they need help is perfectly natural and very important. However, it’s worth considering the true meaning of help, and if some help is more of a hindrance.
Purchasing power is the foundation of the economic cycle
Creating jobs is one of the important elements of BGF’s total concept to tackle poverty and corruption. Those living in the areas where Better Globe Forestry typically chooses to establish operations usually lack opportunities to find paid work. When they start working for BGF it is usually the first job they have that allows them to get what is called purchasing power.
Those who have a salary and money in their pockets can buy things, and use their purchasing power to buy from someone else that needs customers, who in turn, gets money for the family, and so on. We are living in a completely different world, where we sometimes forget what drives our whole world. Our way of life is only possible because we have purchasing power, and money flowing through society.
In many parts of the world, like the semi-desert areas far way from cities and communities, there is no purchasing power or flow of money. As a result, the areas become even more depopulated since those who can, move to areas where they think there are jobs. The jobs are seldom found and shanty towns are instead growing around the big cities, crime increases and with that corruption and vice versa.
Purchasing power is crucial for the adults to be able to resist the temptation to leave the elderly and, in some cases, one’s own children, to move to the slums around big cities, in search of a livelihood.
The attraction of purchasing power
All the communities in the world today, ranging from the smallest fishing village to major cities like New York, exist because trade is attracted to purchasing power. The small villages in the areas where Better Globe Forestry Ltd operate seem to grow in size.
Some villages have doubled or multiplied in just a few short years simply because people live and move to where jobs and potential customers can be found. They provide a service that gives them an income, that they can live off because others have the ability to pay for it.
This is why we no longer live in villages but instead have towns with schools, police, hospitals, libraries, and many other services that exist – thanks to the merchants being there and because there are employers who are creating purchasing power by giving salaries to those who work. For families to be able to stay together in the village where they are born, they have to be able to make a living there.
One way to support the people in these communities to find new ways to make a living is through microloan banks, where those who choose to become members receive a basic training in economics and conserving of resources and/or creating a business that allows them to pay back the microloan.
After that they are able to take an even larger loan and create better conditions for themselves, their families and the community where they work. These microloan banks are owned and operated entirely by the villagers themselves, but they are funded by Better Globe AS’s customers via the donation package.
As the villages become larger and purchasing power increases, the same goes for the collective opportunities and political incentives to build infrastructure, roads and water channels, etc. In this part of the world, they currently have basic needs for roads and water supplies of various kinds, but in the long term there are other issues to consider, like healthcare, supporting education, culture, etc.
This way of working, where BGF’s contribution is the engine of this continuous change, ultimately leads to sustainable communities. Since it is based on business activities carried out by the locals themselves, out of their own initiative, it becomes a sustainable system for help to self-help.
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