A good model for rolling out the Micro Investing concept will save cost, time, and enable international coordination. The rollout is divided in two; a setup in project mode that leads to a launch of a regular operation with well-defined activities.
DISTRICT BY DISTRICT
Malawi is divided into three regions. In the Central region, Dowas is one of nine districts that are subdivided into Extension Planning Areas (EPA), which will also be selected one by one. The setup project has three main processes running in parallel. To find lead farmers that will agree to function as innovators is an essential goal. In the end, this process merges with another process: the recruitment of agronomists. Demo sites are used during the training of both agronomists and agri-preneurs.
‘Exit partners’ are mapped and selected to prepare for the day when the NGO intervention is phased out. Logistics partners that will participate from the start can reduce the activities of the NGO intervention and shorten the time needed to become a fully market-based operation.
A CLOCKWORK OF ACTIVITIES
To assist farmers, one-to-one would be expensive and unsustainable. Therefore most activities will be organised around a Micro Investor Meeting held every three weeks. By establishing a fixed schedule, the service becomes predictable for the farmers and the agronomists can establish good working habits. Time-critical support like pest control must, of course, be handled on-demand, with lead farmers and local agri-preneurs as the first responders.
TEAMS WITH GRIT
Grit is defined as ‘firmness of character; indomitable spirit’. Angela Duckworth, a researcher of self-control and grit, tweaked this definition to be ‘perseverance and passion for long-term goals’. The achievement-oriented individual is one who works tirelessly and completes the task at hand even among unforeseen shocks and surprises. This resilience is a dynamic combination of optimism, creativity and confidence, which together empower one to regulate emotion. A person with grit believes that both positive and negative experiences will lead to learning and growth.