In August 2015, 25 students from 17 different countries spent two weeks on an organic farm in Switzerland, discussing the question of how to feed the world and how to do it without harming human health, the environment or people’s communities.
With members and hosts in almost 100 countries, there is very little international oversight for WWOOF. Instead, it is truly grassroots, with national WWOOF organizations in over 50 countries, and 45 more countries with independent hosts who are willing to take on volunteers. For a national membership fee, volunteers get access to anywhere from a few dozens to over 2,000 in-country hosts. After that, no money, not a single dollar, changes hands.
Social projects that once depended on aid from donor agencies are shifting to what are known as “sustainable businesses.” But to stay sustainable, they need funding. Fortunately, as social issues arise, investors have changed how they invest capital. Instead of the biggest profit revenue, they are looking for the biggest impact—not to mention the healthiest snacks. ISTANBUL, Turkey — Somewhere in the middle of the lush, green mountainous region of Ecuador, groups of farmers are harvesting tons of potatoes, beetroots, parsnips and plantains. But instead of selling them as raw crops, they convert them into certified healthy snacks.
As with other impact investors, the rate of return is not the key issue for Root Capital. Poverty reduction and empowerment of small enterprises are highest on the wish list for this investor company based in Boston, USA. The company has for 13 years been focusing on smallholder farmers primarily in Latin America, and since 5 years, also in Africa. They have provided 1100 loans of an aggregate amount of $350 million to 350 different enterprises. The repayment rate of these loans is 98%, an impressive rate commercial banks have a hard time beating.