Our 2022 Annual Report

Greetings from the Board Chair & CEO

“It’s her time to grow!”

The rural communities, entrepreneurs and farmers with whom we work have been saying this for years. While life in rural villages is hard for everyone, women in particular bear the brunt of that hardship. Carrying water, carrying children, carrying the weight of responsibility for so many demanding tasks, many women are just barely carrying themselves through the day.

And yet, your support is lightening that load.

With innovative technologies, better services and access to information, women are breaking through the “grass ceiling” of rural poverty. We see women joining savings groups to pool their resources and share ideas. We see entrepreneurial women connecting those groups to seed suppliers, training on improved production techniques and new markets for what they can grow.

We see women stepping into non-traditional roles, like Ghanaian toilet entrepreneur Adam Adamu, who entered the concrete business and helped our Sama Sama brand reach the milestone of 10,000 toilet sales this past year, transforming the health and dignity of families across northern Ghana… and doing it in style, in her burkha and heels.

With your support, and in partnership with Global Affairs Canada, we launched the Her Time to Grow project in 2022, creating new opportunities for women through agriculture in Ethiopia, Ghana and Zambia.

Thanks to your support, and in partnership with the Fund for Innovation and Transformation, women producing vegetables using integrated pest management in Nepal found that they could sell more, targeting health conscious, middle class customers with low/no-pesticide produce.

There is still a long road to inclusive and equitable opportunities for all, and women in particular face significant social and economic challenges around the world. But by powering women entrepreneurs, you are partners in that journey.

As you read this brief report, take a moment to reflect, not only on the road ahead, but also how far we have already come. 

Thank you for your support over the past year. Thanks to you, it is truly “her time to grow”.

Len Penner, Board Chair and Stu Taylor, CEO

Inventing a Better Mush-Room

Canadian donor support for the Paul Polak Innovation Fund, launched in 2021, allows iDE teams to develop early-stage solutions with the potential to create big impact. Some of those innovations are bearing fruit… or in this case, spawning fungus!

Straw mushrooms are a popular item in Cambodia and a market opportunity for farmers on small plots of land. However, traditional cultivation methods are unreliable and energy intensive. Poorly-ventilated mushroom houses are prone to contamination, which can quickly wipe out a whole crop. Farmers use inefficient steam boilers to sterilise beds, burning through large amounts of firewood.

With support from the Paul Polak Innovation Fund, a small team from iDE Cambodia has been developing a modular mushroom grow box, with controlled ventilation and humidity control. The unit uses off-the-shelf materials for easy assembly and cleaning. Early results have been promising, but the path to market requires a lot of iteration, working very closely with users to test and modify the design. This is the essence of iDE’s Human Centered Design approach – ensuring that users guide the journey.

The mushroom grow kit is just one example of innovation that you make possible with your support for the Paul Polak Innovation Fund. As with the mushroom project, each innovation develops in deep conversation with users, focusing on their preferences and priorities.

Thank you for powering innovators to enable people to thrive on their own terms!

Ti Pagya: We Appreciate You!

2022 was a year of celebrating breakthroughs in improved sanitation for people living in northern Ghana. Breakthroughs made possible by your partnership, along with support from the Government of Canada.

iDE created the Sama Sama brand to promote improved sanitation and help local businesses sell safe, durable toilets, designed for rural households. Boosting the business of sanitation is succeeding where traditional public health efforts have failed in ending the epidemic of diarrheal disease, which continues to be a major cause of illness and death – particularly among young children.

In March 2022, the iDE Ghana team celebrated the milestone of 10,000 toilet sales. By the end of the year, the Sama Sama brand had sold over 13,000 toilets, dramatically improving health and dignity for over 100,000 people.

Sama Sama’s “Shitmaster” service took off in 2022. Shitmaster truck operators safely empty and dispose of the waste from rural toilets, protecting families and communities from contamination. With your support, the team also made progress in piloting the use of black soldier fly larvae to turn toilet waste into safe compost and chicken feed.

And we are seeing many women stepping into non-traditional roles in sanitation sales, finance and manufacturing. Over 400 women have found employment in the sanitation market thanks to your support for the Sama Sama brand.

In the local language of Dagbani, the iDE Ghana team says “Ti Pagya”… We appreciate YOU!

Click below to read the full report.

Her Time to Grow 2022 Annual Report