Yesterday, BBC released a story about a group of students using capital and beehives to create a system of financial mobility for Tunisian beekeepers. This process works by investing in beehives and supplies for each beekeeper, taking a reasonable cut of the profits made from honey for three years, and then letting that beekeeper keep the beehives and all of the profits forever.
This is fantastic, and both private and public charitable efforts should begin to transition in nature from simply tossing money at a country and giving it to interests and governments that sometimes have no infrastructure or care to support the most vulnerable among them with that money to using money smartly to connect capable farmers on the ground in poor countries with financial capital and investment expertise somewhere else in the world.
Much of the world is under-farmed, and so much labor in the world sits initialized because jobs just aren’t available in these struggling economies, and the capital certainly doesn’t exist to jumpstart them either. If we used a paltry amount of our foreign aid budget, $100 million, to the simple idea of beehives for farmers in this model, we could support 1.1 million farmers in the developing world, giving them the money they need to sustain themselves and their families for a smaller investment than the sum it takes to feed a country year after year.
So, let’s invest our charitable dollars in poor countries, and give them the tools to support themselves.