The bottom line

Self Help AfricaEnterprise Development

the bottom line, A letter from our CEO

As we approach the 30th anniversary of the foundation of Self Help Africa by some remarkably visionary people, I am happy to be able to report that 2013 has been our most successful ever year. Our programmes are reaching more families across Africa than ever before, all thanks to the continued goodwill we receive from you, our supporters.

I was talking to a group of women farmers in Zambia recently, finding out how Self Help Africa’s work has changed their lives for the better. One of them left me with a thought I simply can’t forget. “What you taught us to do,” she said, “is to calculate what our bottom line is. Before you came, I went to the market with my livestock and my produce, and just took the best price on offer. Now, all through the season, I calculate what I have invested in my produce, so that when I go to the market, I try to never sell below that bottom line.”

A simple story, but a remarkable one. Right across Africa, we’re helping tens of thousands of poor families to become better small business people. In effect, we’re teaching them how to turn small family businesses — most of them farms — from loss to profit.

This involves helping them to increase and diversify production, to spread their risk, to identify new markets, to access credit. Ultimately, we try to help them to grow more and earn more from their work. Helping the poor to make a profit will lead them out of poverty for good.

Indeed, while Self Help Africa is a ‘non-profit organisation’, we’re focused on ensuring that others make a profit. That’s our bottom line, reflected in the stories across these pages. We’re so grateful for your support in making this work possible.

Ray Jordan, CEO, Self Help Africa