1. Marked by or resulting in radical change (American Heritage Dictionary)
2. Outside or beyond established procedure (Dictionary.com)
3. Paul Polak and his book Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail
To put a human face on global poverty and IDE's work, Polak weaves the story of Nepalese farmer Krishna Bahadur Thapa throughout the book. Using IDE's affordable micro-irrigation technologies, Thapa increased his income from less than $1/day to $4,800 per year. With this increased income, he has been able to provide the necessities of life for his family. See below for a breakdown of how small-acreage farmers in one Nepalese village invest the new income they earn from growing vegetables:
- 38% Additional food to meet family's needs
- 17% Reinvested in agricultural production
- 13% Education
- 9% Clothing
- 8% Festivals
- 7% Home Improvements
- 6% Medicine
- 2% Savings
- The biggest reason most poor people are poor is because they don't have enough money.
- Most of the extremely poor people in the world earn their living now from one-acre farms.
- They can earn much more money by finding ways to grow and sell high-value labor-intensive crops such as off-season fruits and vegetables.
- To do that, they need access to very cheap small-farm irrigation, good seeds, and fertilizer, and markets where they can sell their crops at a profit.
After reading Out of Poverty, I am planning an international field trip so I can speak with people who are living in dollar-a-day poverty. I plan to go to where the action is, as Paul encourages us all to do. I don't yet know how I'm going to help a million people out of $1-a-day poverty, as I set a goal to do nearly two months ago, but Polak's advice will help me on the journey. Out of Poverty joins Mountains Beyond Mountains and Leaving Microsoft to Change the World as the books (other than scripture) that have been most influential in shaping my life's work.
Let the revolution begin.