Let’s say you were tasked with the job of lifting 100 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years. What would you do? Who would you talk to? What system, method, technology, tools would you use to get the job done?
When we look at the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), we have been moving in the right direction with regard to reducing poverty and hunger and related challenges, but the growing populations in places like sub-Saharan Africa have brought us to an inflection point requiring we do things differently if we are going to be successful. So, we have been on a continual search for the best models for creating replicable, sustainable agricultural ecosystems that can be massively scaled.
We have studied organizations that are on the ground working directly with small farmers on a daily basis to teach them the skills and practices for growing more and better. We studied hub and spoke farms, including our own, where we were able to train and support thousands of farmers with the education they needed, and we connected them to micro-finance institutions that funded their purchases of high quality soil amendments, seeds, fertilizers, and irrigation systems while we guaranteed a minimum price to ensure their success and to reduce credit risk.
Now we have found an organization whose capacity to train millions upon millions of farmers at the same time has been proven, and it has shown to be more than 180 times more cost effective than some of the other successful programmatic approaches to date. Moreover, this tool can be a catalyst for the success of hundreds of other projects and programs operating around the world today.
This organization was founded by a social entrepreneur who had worked with DFID for 20 years before dedicating his life to this venture. The leadership team is directed by two brilliant women who are passionate about reaching small family farmers with a practical and comprehensive understanding of good practices for every crop or type of livestock they may be raising customized for their region and climate. The company is called Mediae. Having won several awards from groups like the Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, USAID, DFID and others for their ability to educate and entertain in a way that has lifted millions out of poverty so far, this television and radio programming team is now prepared to expand their following from almost 10 million regular viewers to more than 140 million viewers over the coming 5 years.
According to studies done by Reading University in the UK, farmers who had dairy cows increased their average production from 2.1 liters per day to 9 liters per day in less than one year. Maize farmers who watched the show and implemented what they had learned more than doubled their production of maize. Since much of the show is funded by corporate sponsors, the value of donor dollars goes a long way. In fact, if we look at the total donor cost divided by just the number of farmers who adopted the products and practices on the show, we find it to be less than $1. These farmers now know how to produce more and better in a way that will steadily improve their soils, reduce erosion, sequester more carbon, and provide a sustainable income that in less than three years will propel them into middle income. Middle income farmers drive other farmers to adopt similar practices, and they are the key to regional food security, and growing food processing, animal feed production and added value market development.
- Intentionality: Mediae has a track record for delivering positive impact, especially related to sustainable practices, farmer yield (+46% maize for Mediae viewers), and income (+$24M increase for dairy producers).
- Investment with Return Expectations: With an established program development team and distribution model reaching 10 million viewers, Mediae is already well-positioned to generate a financial return on capital.
- Range of Return Expectations and Asset Classes: Taking a blended finance approach to its operating and capital raise, Mediae’s expects to provide a 23% IRR to early stage debt and equity investors.
- Impact Measurement. Mediae’s impact measurement system is based on the GIIN IRIS+ metrics and tracks to SDG targets and indicators.
If you can see the value of Mediae and would like to see if your company or organization could plug in or partner, please feel free to reach out. We are all in this together!