Sonas World (Sustainable Farming)

Sonas World (Sustainable Farming)

CambodiaUnited Kingdom
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Sonas World operates in Cambodia with the aim to empower families by building sustainable bio-dynamic farming communities in the hard-to-reach rural areas. Once we have identified the farmer/aspiring entrepreneur, we offer them microcredit, training and peer-to-peer mentorship.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In Cambodia there is a large problem with food security for 1/3 of the population which has a detrimental effect to the overall health and wellbeing of the family. This is caused by a lack of education & traditional business resources as well as a lack of sustainable agriculture which as a sector over 70% of the population rely on. There is a need to source food sustainably & in doing so protect the environment and our planet's natural resources.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Sonas World's solution addresses the problems of food security and overall lack of sustainability in farming by offering the hybrid business model of microcredit, business training & peer-to-peer mentoring to farming communities in Cambodia. We organise and facilitate their training needs by utilising local experts in sustainable farming. We offer a microloan to the farmer which enables them to pay for the materials and livestock needed to kickstart their microenterprise. Also, part of our training & mentoring includes connecting the farmers to the markets through commercial partnership collaborations. This ensures the sustainability of their microenterprise which we will measure the impact of in their families and local community.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Once meeting with the farmer & understanding their needs, we help source and facilitate adequate training for them on sustainable & biodynamic farming. The training includes livestock growth & maintenance, production of organic compost & growth & maintenance of fruit & veg. We also offer the family a microloan which they use to buy the resources & livestock needed to start their microenterprise. Thirdly, we facilitate peer-to-peer mentoring for the entrepreneur to support them on a longer term basis. Our solution makes a difference by offering food security, financial independence & an environmentally safe & sustainable method of business. We are able to closely measure the impact of our work through the peer-to-peer mentoring service.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are MFIs in Cambodia offering financial support to farmers although this does not tend to be in the hard-to-reach rural areas nor with the very poor famers as they have no collateral. There are CSOs who provide training in sustainable farming although they tend not to provide microcredit or longer term mentoring & marketing to the farmer. There is a need to offer the complete value chain of financial support, education & training of the farmers as well as peer-to-peer mentoring which connects the farmers to the markets. Sonas World offer the complete end-end-end solution.
About You
Organization:
Sonas World
About You
First Name

Keeva

Last Name

Murtagh

About Your Project
Organization Name

Sonas World

Organization Country

, LND

Country where this project is creating social impact

, TK

How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

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Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

After travelling to Cambodia this year & living in the rural communities, we realised that 72% of the population relied on rice farming to generate income. Aside from rice farming 3-4 months out of the year, the majority of the women had no other work. There was a clear opportunity & huge potential for the families to utilise this time to gain financial independence for themselves & ensure food security for their family through sustainable farming. In order to make this happen, we would have to find local experts to train the families & provide them with a microloan to pay for the resources needed to kickstart the microenterprise.We knew once we established the first exemplary projects, we could start a multiplier effect in the communities.

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Nutrition, Sustainable Agriculture, Smallholder Farmers, Supply Chain Micro-entrepreneurs.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

Sonas World works with women from the most poor & disadvantaged communities including those affected by land-mines & single mother families. We believe that by targeting the poorest families, we are helping them to escape the poverty cycle & the many social problems that come with it . To date, we have connected to 100 families by spending time living in their communities & establishing a relationship with local CSOs & community & village chiefs, which is scalable to over 500 families in 2 years.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

To date, we have successfully completed our pilot project which has impacted 12 families, built & established a local training centre, sourced 2 local trainers & raised funds through our crowdfunding website. As we live on the ground, we can measure the social impact (SPIs) through criteria such as, ensuring children in the farmer's families are sent to school & a responsibility to the environment & natural resources.We have successfully partnered with CSOs such as Bookbridge (bookbridge.org) & CLA (clacambodia.org) who work with over 1500 families in Cambodia. Through our partnerships we have identified over 250 families who we can work with in the next year. These partnerships strengthen our infrastructure & reach to the people. In our first year, we aim to reach 250 families who we will help train, mentor & provide them with an adequate microloan to get their microenterrpise started.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

We intend to scale our activities over the next 2 years through the network we have built & are continuing to build on the ground. These include CSOs, local experts & educational establishments such as Bookbridge & universities. Our robust model is transferable to other provinces throughout Cambodia & also in other countries in South East Asia. Over the next 2 years, we will grow our portfolio by expanding our CSO network to 5 CSOs. We will partner with each CSO to run 4 projects per month on average which will total to 500 projects over 2 years & will impact 250 families per year. The prize money would help facilitate our growth & the brand publicity will help us attract more resources such as crowdfunding & knowledge from corporations.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

The Sonas World business model is based on the Ashoka Hybrid Value Chain which aims to generate sustainable social change by reducing poverty & unlocking wealth. Our revenue model consists of income from microcredit interest & CSR funds from partner businesses. Our break even point is reached in approximately two years time. The prize money will help manage our cash flow & support our operations &marketing needs in order to accelerate the impact.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

This year, I spent time volunteering in Tanzania where I led a school group of 21 students & teachers. Whilst we were there I established an entrepreneurial opportunity for the local Massai women to produce jewellery which could then be sold back in the developed markets. I also supported the Bookbridge capability programme (http://bit.ly/17yXtC2) in Cambodia which involved hands-on leadership development & setting up a social business.

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