Open Team is as social venture with the mission to provide know-how and tools to replicate successful projects with clear climate and social impact. To achieve this goal, Open Team has developed a collaborative tools and methodologies during the last three years, and is now launching its first program, the "Scale School", that aims at replicating an impactful, socially responsible climate solution. Open Team's first replication program is being prepared to be launched in South Nepal to replicate an established model of organic, permaculture farm. The local technical knowledge is brought by the selected tutor farmer, Sudarshan Chaudhary, who has successfully made the switch to... read more Open Team is as social venture with the mission to provide know-how and tools to replicate successful projects with clear climate and social impact. To achieve this goal, Open Team has developed a collaborative tools and methodologies during the last three years, and is now launching its first program, the "Scale School", that aims at replicating an impactful, socially responsible climate solution. Open Team's first replication program is being prepared to be launched in South Nepal to replicate an established model of organic, permaculture farm. The local technical knowledge is brought by the selected tutor farmer, Sudarshan Chaudhary, who has successfully made the switch to organic in the past 6 years. Other national and international experts will also be engaged locally during the training process. The program addresses three major local problems/ needs: -Farms have generally no specific business model, have a very poor yields, and generate very low income (which in turn stops them from sending their kids to quality education, and from making investments) -There is little/ no consciousness or knowledge about healthy, organic farming practices, and a lack of access to the information, low development of tech and knowledgeable and willing institutions to offer it -Farmers have no capacity to finance the required investment to modernize their farm and switch to healthy, regenerative practices The program is planned to last 3 years, and is divided into three distinct phases : experimentation, capacity building, and scaling. Phase 1 (1 year) : Experimentation - 200 farmers During the first year, we will experiment the training with a small network of farmers who will learn to become trainers as well, in partnership with national and international agroecology experts. The aim is to create a chain reaction where the trained farmers can then in turn train successive batches of farmers. We start with 8 "lead" farmers who will then each train 2 batches of 6 farmers, reaching 200 within the first year. The hands-on training program combining agricultural and entrepreneurial/ business skills, will last 1 year for each farmer (with 3 first intensive months) plus 2 years of follow up. The combination of the broad set of skills taught and the long lasting training enhances the chances of success. We will also train "technical referees" who will have a key role to evaluate the quality of the training and of the agricultural techniques implemented, compare the yield and quality of replicating farms for their first organic produce, and follow up other indicators that will be easy to both add and analyze on our collaborative platform. We expect each trained farmer to reach a yield close to what the tutor farms manage to generate by the second year of practice. By leveraging proven farming techniques to achieve high yield, thanks to the best-in-class knowledge made both accessible and implementable by all, the micro-farms are expected to become high yield organic food production units. They thereby will produce more and sell more, which will improve their livelihood, while increasing the access to healthy food in the nearby cities at a price affordable for all. The main objective of this phase is to evaluate the success of the replication process (a knowledge transfer methodology) that we will have experimented for the first group of 200 farmers. Phase 2 (1 year) : Capacity Building - 1000 farmers During the second year, we will experiment an updated version of our methodology taking into account the feedback of the first phase. We will broaden the scope of the training by teaching the most motivated lead farmers how to train other trainers, thus aiming at training a larger scope of farmers, targeting 1000 farmers thanks to the chain reaction created. The outcome of this phase will be to validate that the "train the trainer" process for a growing number of clusters of local farmers is fluid. We will progressively increase the number of "technical referees" being trained for the support and tracking of farmers results. Phase 3 (1 year) : Scaling - 5000 farmers Based on the learnings of phase 2, we will focus in year 3 on scaling up the initiative at very large scale, targeting the switch of at least 5,000 farmers to organic farming thanks to our methodology and the "chain reaction" initiated in years 1 and 2. Our innovative, inclusive and decentralized methodology relies on 3 pillars: capacity building, financing, and access to market. -Capacity building: The innovation of our approach lies in the principle of efficiently documenting and transmitting, both online and "on site", the practical, technical and business model knowledge of the mature organic farmer, the tutor. The farmers learn how to progressively apply organic, agro-ecology and permaculture farming practices, as well as how to turn their farm into a viable farming business, starting with basics like accounting and marketing. We call this process "the replication process". This documentation takes the form of a practical training booklet, both in paper form and as a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) accessible to all other interested farmers based in similar regions/ climates. -Financing: To afford the necessary small investment costs required to make a serious, long term switch to organic farming, we will facilitate the access to a starting kit for each farmer trained, thanks to a micro-loan. The starting kit will include access to seeds, preliminary organic compost, solar panel to solve the recurrent lack of stable electricity supply, a borehole and water pump (using the solar panel, not diesel as can be seen everywhere), as well as to a small biogas plant, thus upcycling agriculture waste. The aims is to shift the farms towards sustainability and autonomy. The funding will also help compensate for possible loss of production during the transition phase to organic. We finance the "switch to organic" by linking trained farmers to Western individual "impact investors" who will help to fund the starting kit to thanks to a zero interest rate loan, and to whom we will reach out through a "crowd-loaning" campaign. -Access to the market: The program also works on ensuring the access to the market for the farmers switching to organic, to ensure that their produce can effectively be sold to consumers. . Concretely, this will be done in two ways: -by launching participatory processes to meet supply and demand through an organic consumer "food club". The survey we led in Saptari demonstrates strong consumers interest to engage with farmers. Consumers become members and commit to purchase the organic farmers produce. The commitment is mutually binding, which also motivates the farmer not to give up during and after the training process, on the longer run. -by supporting the creation of an organic food cooperative to mutualize food production and answer the needs of city markets that require a regular and important production capacity. The cooperative will facilitate storage, distribution, and marketing, at local and regional levels, thus enabling to drive the change from bottom-up on a national scale Our key value is to identify and build partnerships with specialized stakeholders all along the value chain (training, awareness raising, financing, local authorities, access to market etc.). The program is developed in close relationship with our tutor farm through an MOU, as well as a number of local partners and with the endorsement of the French embassy in Nepal. Key partners include the Saptari rural municipality of Agnisair Krishna Sarwan, the Environmental Department of Kathmandu University, the NGO RDEN, and a set of organic farms and training centers from other districts of Nepal, such as the Himalayan Permaculture Center, HASERA, Almost Heaven Farm, Sunrise Farm and Everything Organic Farm. To enable the development of our mission to scale successful climate solutions, Open Team also relies on the power of digital as a leverage for impact and has therefore also developed a set of digital tools: -A digital platform to document and viralize access to knowledge -A digital data aggregator to connect existing project databases and be searchable with a unique index -A micro-crowdfunding application that works with text messages, the goal being to democratize funding and make it possible for anybody, in particular people in developing countries, to contribute to projects he/she supports.
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