Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Final Countdown

As November comes to a close, our involvement with this project must also wane. Having spent the last five months working in Shimbwe on this project, we are confident in its capability for long-term sustainability. We are on great terms with all stakeholders (NGO, community groups, primary school, local government) who have consistently voiced their intention and desire to maintain this project. Thank you all for reading and keeping up with the project.

Below is a link to the first draft of the final project report.

Final Project Report

Here They Are

in all their glory:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Goats Have Arrived!

The goats have arrived and are beautiful!

Check out the Picasa link for more pictures.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Company Store

In the antebellum South, former slaves, lacking funds to purchase land, were often forced to return to their former masters in search of employment. This marked the beginning of sharecropping. Former slaves were required to produce a certain amount of crop; the rest they could keep themselves (however the demanded output was often higher than feasible putting the sharecroppers in spiralling debt). The former slaves were required to purchase seed, sow, and all farming equipment from the white landowner at prices marked up 100 to 300 percent - a process that came to be called "The Company Store."

Here in Shimbwe, we have our own rather mild form of the Company Store. Adolf (not even joking ... real name), the owner of our house, runs the most luxurious bar in town (i.e. it has a second floor). Beneath the bar, he runs a store that sells beverages, rice, beans, soap, and other odds and ends. Further from the main road and closer to our house, Adolf owns yet another store named London. The proximity and stock of his stores make frequenting them logical and easy. However, we often feel a pang of guilt for consistently patronizing stores owned by our realtor rather than spreading the wealth. Luckily, our company store doesn't jack up the price.

-Posted by Sam

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Business Ethics and Development Intervention

I am fascinated by the ways that our development intervention engages with Chagga economic culture. We've done our best to invest artfully and to allow our project to interface with local ways of doing business. This is very much a practical concern: the more room we leave for people to apply their own conceptions of economy and business as they engage the project, the more likely the project is to be incorporated successfully into the community once we leave. At times, we must have been hamfisted and have inadvertently trampled on the Chagga way of doing capitalism. But our general approach is to make objective-specific money allocation decisions and allow local people to execute the task at hand. We have two basic systems to minimize our vulnerability to graft. First, we meticulously check facts and prices with as many people as possible before making a purchase. (Yesterday, we went to a wedding. I don't have dress shoes, so I asked a friend if I could borrow some. He lent me what appear to be a pair of second-hand, alligator skin Gucci kicks, but they were dusty, and he instructed me to get them shined prior to the wedding. I asked the chef at a local restaurant how much a shoe cleaning normally costs. I ordered the shine, handed him a small bill, and asked for change based on my well-researched understanding of the standard fare. The shoe shiner clearly anticipated a juicier-than-usual shining fee from this young traveler, and was visibly surprised at my command of local prices.) Second, we are working with multiple stakeholders to produce the physical project, and they often have conflicting interests. We exploit these differences to make sure we are getting the right prices, timely services, and good information. (Mwalimu Richard, for example, is a chronically behind-schedule wood chopper. His lateness started to delay construction, though he insisted he was doing everything possible to get the job on time. The construction workers disagreed and said Richard was just too busy to chop our wood on time. They hired their own chainsaw operator and to Richard's consternation, started chopping wood on-site, and at the right price.)

The downside of our conscious decision to leave most of the execution to local actors (and to pitch in physical help whenever we can) is that several ethical quandaries arise in the process. We're not doing anything evil or malicious, and we're doing our best to shed as much moral baggage as possible. I don't lose sleep over this stuff, and I'm not uncomfortable about it. The reason I raise the issue on this blog is because these ethical issues are both rich in information and they're interesting; I thought I'd share some of what we deal with as a way of soliciting readers' thoughts on the issues in general and possible ways of dealing with them.

Today, I'll start by kicking around the issue of kickbacks.

Everywhere, socially savvy entrepreneurs have mastered the art of the kickback. Whatever kickback institutions prevail in a given locale, the most successful operators are equally adept at seizing opportune kickback moments, and at gracefully accepting kickbacks sent in their direction.

Here's a rough sketch of what I mean when I write "kickback": a nugget of value left over from an economic exchange that one party to the exchange returns to the other following the original or primary exchange. That cash makes everything freely convertible to everything else might render the "value left over" part of the definition functionally irrelevant. But the general idea is intact: an exchanger makes a profit and, for whatever reason, returns some of it.

Sure, kickbacks can be a form of financial credit. They can also consist of a payment for some under-the-table service as in the most widely publicized kickback cases: shameless cases of government or corporate cronyism. This kind of publicity gives kickbacks a bad rapport. But I think most day-to-day kickbacks, the kind that take place innumerable times in markets all over the world, are not ethically problematic. In Luo markets in western Kenya, vendors seal sales by adding an extra couple of vegetables to whatever bundle they've negotiated. The kickback helps vendors retain old customers and capture new ones. It's a marketing tool and its function is social.

It seems to me that kickback ethics get murky in cases where value gets transferred from one domain of economic exchange (DOE) to another. I'm not exactly sure what I mean by DOE--anthropologists have been wrestling with these apparent phenomena and developing concepts to deal with them for a century now. But examples from our medical system illustrate the point. First consider medical referrals. Although their matrix-like, (at-best) interminable nature makes them slightly more complicated than a classic kickback, referrals fit the general mold: an endocrinologist refers a patient to another, the second doctor profits. Eventually, if Dr. 2 holds up her end of the deal, she'll "kick back" a second patient to her colleague Dr. 1 down the line. Presumably, there are several endocrinologists to whom Dr. 2 might refer a given case, and they'd all do a good job. Therefore, Dr. 2's decision to refer back to Dr. 1 is not just medical but also social; it helps her build a professional network, it helps her ensure good care for her patient, and everyone benefits. No ethical qualms here.

Until recently, a more problematic kickback system thrived in doctors offices as drug representatives bought lunch for office staff and supplied piles gimmicky pens with drug logos as well. Those of us who have enjoyed those lunches might not relish the ban on such practices, but the ban is an ethical no-brainer. We all know that at Big Pharma, the bottom line reigns supreme. Furnishing office supplies and lunches was part of an elaborate kickback cycle in which healthcare providers got freebies and drug companies expected favorable treatment when the pen hit the prescription pad. (Whether or not they got it is someone else's debate.)

We finished paying Richard for lumber last week. He earned a significant portion of our grant. At the end of the exchange, he told us not to forget about him when Duma implements additional projects. We paid him in full, but he didn't have change for our cash. First, he said he'd pay it back the next day. Then he thought hard, reached into his new wad of bills, and kicked us back 10,000tsh, about $8, and told us to buy ourselves a soda. It was uncomfortable, but Richard is a teacher at the Lata School and we didn't want to refuse the kickback if this is indeed the way business is done in Chagga land. Following Chagga business etiquette seemed the most prudent path at the time (more on conflicts of interest later). Furthermore, if we were building our own animal shelter, there would be absolutely nothing wrong with accepting the kickback. The ethical dilemma stems from the fact that we are managing money on someone else's behalf, and since we are leaving in three months, we are not reliable business partners as private operators. This dynamic made the kickback feel like the grafty kind you read about in the Times. We decided to err on the side of moral intuition and reinvest our portions of the kickback into the project.

So should we have bought the sodas? What are your thoughts?

I'm not sure about citing sources on blogs. If you want to learn more about the social function of credit, or the ways in which economic entrustment operates in African markets, Parker Shipton's The Nature of Entrustment, on the Kenyan Luo, is a good place to start. The book inspired a lot of the thought behind this post.

Posted by Jake

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ethnography and Alcohol

Although we officially began building the shelter last Thursday, the real work started Wednesday morning at the home of Mwalimu (teacher) Richard, who is selling us the timber for the shelter. Throughout this process, we have attempted to show our commitment to the community: initially by moving up to Shimbwe and later by participating in the building process. Wednesday morning offered the first shot at the latter. We arrived at Mwalimu Charles' home just past 8 a.m. prepared to help load hundreds of wood planks onto a massive lorry to be transferred to the building site at the school.

Yet to grasp the slowing effects of dirt terrain and extreme inclines and declines, we were a few minutes late. The four carpenters had already started loading wood of various widths and heights aided by hordes of school children currently on vacation. While we had been warned that school children would be assisting us, we were slightly taken aback at the sight of tiny bodies hoisting large planks on to their shoulders. Uncomfortable though we were by the idea of unpaid child labor, we felt it wasn't our place to challenge the local customs and traditions. To do so might contradict our desire for a grassroots development project and possibly place a wedge between ourselves and community members.

With the lorry loaded to the brim, we joined the carpenters atop of the surreptitiously placed wood and drove up and down a gravity-defying hill. (To our parents and friends who have visited: we're talking about the final massive hill to Leta School). Sitting on all the wood and waving to idlers and passer-bys, we looked like kings in a castle - an image with which we are hardly comfortable. We loathe coming off as "white knights" riding in and saving the day (though a lorry is far less picturesque than a white steer). However, riding on top of the wood that would eventually become the goat shelter, we acknowledged that there was little use to getting caught up in such imagery and be content with the grassroots nature of the project itself.

Having arrived at the school in one piece, we started the entire process over - this time unloading the wood. The school kids, unable to reach the wood in the truck, were given a break. Exhausted, we all agree to call it a half way (though it was only 10:30) and begin the real construction on Thursday. Content with the day's labor, we joined Mwalimu Richard and Mwalimu Sebastian for a stint at a local bar (ran by the owner of our home). Although we thought it a tad early for drinking, we didn't want to be ...err... culturally insensitive as the teachers bought us round after round. Drinking with the two teachers turned out to be a tremendously captivating anthropological experience. As the engagement ended, we rushed home eager to type and remember everything we could. The following paragraphs was our attempt to recount the evening's conversations. We have left the writing in the same frantic, slightly intoxicated form as when it was first written. Please forgive any lack of clarity.

- In response to our slightly perturbed reaction to child labor, the teachers explained: the children work as a group. They can't be legally hired until they finish primary school, but they can work for free before that. The teachers argued that working builds a community, ushers development, and brings profit. It adds to their education, their strength, and character.

- Mwalimu Richard asked how America came to be? To me, he said, "You don't seem to like talking about America." I explained that the teacher was welcome to ask question, but I had difficultly talking about it without prompt. We talked about England's ownership of America. They asked why England and America are allies. We said because they trade a lot and both speak English. They have a common natural interest. England owned America. The teachers suggested that it seems like whatever America's leaders say, England's leaders go along with.

- Mwalimu Charles talked about Mwalimu Richard's second car to which Richard shushed him and said that "That's my secret." Jake said, "But you already told me about it." But Mwalimu Richard said he told us because he wanted to use the car to pick up the goats. Jake asked why Richard didn't want other people to know about the car. Richard said it's because people are jealous. They want to know why you have something that they don't. And they might try to harm you. Richard said jealously is normal. It was as if he was rationalizing and understanding the jealousy.

- Where did the grant money came from? What is a foundation? There was confusion about whether our country sent us here or the foundation did. They didn't understand what the foundation got from sending us here. We explained that foundation is just happy to see a good project. Somehow that turned to receipts. We explained how the foundation needed know where its money went since we were spending someone else's money. And how we could get in trouble and brought back to the US for spending money without accounting for it. It appeared to be a epiphany moment for the teachers who may have understood why we were hesitant to give Mwalimu Fisher the money for his dala dala ride to see his mother. Jake explained to them that we took the teacher's write up and translated it to grant language and that's how the whole thing came to pass.

- What does America get from your project? What do we get? Why did the Foundation choose our project? We said that we get to learn Swahili, development, and help people. Jake explained how interesting the question was and how we had no idea. He said it would be worth it to ask the foundation why we were chosen. Mwalimu Richard said that people wouldn't do anything without the possibility of profit (child labor not included apparently). The concept of altruism seemed completely foreign to them during our conversations.

- We discussed our idea of starting a micro-credit bank. I asked whether they were using SACCOS (a local micro-credit bank here that takes objects such as bicycles as collateral). They explained that they use Teachers Saccos (which allowed Mwalimu Richard to purchase his lorry) rather the the KNCU Saccos (farmer saccos in Shimbwe). Malissa left Pride (another micro-credit foundation) because they didn't offer high enoughs loans. He couldn't take loans from the National Microcredit Bank (a major bank in Moshi) because it was too risky and collateral is too high. They don't give him another chance. He failed for the first two years after purchasing the lorry, and SACCOS allowed him more time to repay.

- At some point, Mwalimu Richard and Charles criticized Duma for not doing anything productive. They may have noticed us glance at each other with because when discussed later, they were loathe to critize. The teachers said they didn't want Duma or us to turn against them. We explained that we were with the people. They said that Duma pretended to help but was just trying to make a profit. We explained how while there was interest in the goat loans Duma is making to the school, Duma wouldn't be making a profit itself. The teachers said that we needed to work with individuals rather than Duma. Jake explained how since we are mzungus, we need to work with an NGO to get access to the community and make sure that nobody screws us over (perhaps ironic since we may have been thoroughly screwed over by Mwalimu Richard that day). But we are learning, Jake said. I explained to Mwalimu Charles that the reason we moved to Shimbwe is because we did want to work with individuals. Charles drunkenly approved.

- Jake asked how we could make a profit and help people. Jake asked about the poorest of the poor who have a quarter of an acre of land. Mwalimu Richard said that there is nothing you can do for them since they have so little land. He described himself as middle class. Richard takes his crops (as well as for-fee cargo) to Dar es Salaam where it sells higher than in local markets. He says it's not worth it to sell to Moshi. Richard's idea for making money and helping people was since he had 20 acres but could only use five, if you brought the expertise and the capital, you could use his acreage and give him some of the profit (he suggested 3-10 percent). So Richard would be renting out his farmland and he would learn from those people with the capital and the expertise (who were presumably Western). We explained how that concept was similar to Islamic Banks whose customers are religiously forbidden from interest-accruing loans. Jake asked why, if he were to start a business here, he should come to Kili? Why not go somewhere else where he could buy a lot of land for very cheap and make the profit himself. Richard responded, "I have an answer for you. You wouldn't be helping people." We felt this a fantastic point. Jake asked again about the poorest of the poor. Richard suggested that after seeing the expertise that foreigners brought to his middle-class farm, the Westerner could bring poor farmers together and do a similar sharecropping system. He also mentioned that people like him, they have the education and know-how and the skills to be able to implement a system given a right amount of capital. But the poor people who we are talking about don't know anything and wouldn't be able to do it (according to him), which is the reason why organizations like Duma are necessary.

- Used to frequent complaints in Uganda about a lack of market, I asked Mwalimu Richard and Charles what they could do with the capital. The teachers discussed how they would use it to increase their output by expanding the means of production. I asked Mwalimu Richard whether there was a market for an increased output. Richard was secure in his belief that the markets were far from saturated. That being said, he owns a lorry and take his goods to the largest city in Tanzania. However, I was shocked to hear this discrepancy between Uganda and Tanzania. After my experiences researching self-help groups, credit and loan groups, and farmers associations, the issue seemed to be powerless farmers and producers undercutting each other to obtain a market (third world beggar thy neighbor policies). The crux of the issue is not how to capitalize on high volume but how to generate high volume in the first place. That is to say that demand exists but only for those who can supply. The lingering question is whether or not once these farmers are capacitated, they would run into the same sorts of marketing issues that I observed in Uganda. In our project, for example, we're very conscious of marketing. One of Duma's main future roles will be to search out markets for the high quality Toggenburg goats. Small owners will not be able to generate the same sort of market interest that Duma may be able to. We're also encouraging the community to work with Duma to sell their goats in order to avoid undercutting prices.

- Mwalimu Richard talked about how people talk more when they drink. Jake said we're not that drunk, we're just talking normally. Mwalimu Richard said that people become abnormal when they drink too much.

We've had a difficult time negotiating alcohol and anthropology here in Shimbwe. On more than two occasions, we've had fascinating conversations with community members over many a beer. On the other hand, we are consciously trying to stay in shape. Shifting from white rice to brown and removing fatty oil from our cooking preparations does little when we're drinking multiple beers a day. (It's worth mentioning that these aren't normal American or European beers - these are half-liters bottles ranging from 5.5 to 10 percent alcohol content). However, one could make the argument for the necessity of development workers cracking open a beer and taking it very seriously. It's not that you're drinking to get drunk, but rather that you're drinking to do participatory observation (or at least that's how I'd like to justify our all-too-regular drinking habits).

Since our last drinking date with the teachers, we have decided to limit ourselves to drinking the occasional beer on Friday and Saturday only. Whatever gains we make in physical health, we can't deny the anthropological loss this decision has resulted in. However, sometimes it's important to remember that we're not anthropologists. Yes, part of the purpose of being here is to have as culturally in depth an experience as possible, but the primary goal is to get this project done well and efficiently and set it up for future success.

Posted by Sam

Issues Covered in Meeting with Duma Members Interested in Receiving Goats

The purpose of our second meeting with Duma members was to tackle several issues revolving around the mechanics of loaning with women who were interested in receiving goats. First was the question of how to pass loans within bounded groups. It is becoming clear that the one-size-fits all model that we envisioned -- where each uniform group receives a goat and passes it down a line of women until they pay the loan back -- is not going to work within the Shimbwe context. One group, for example, has scrounged the money and materials to build a shelter but doesn't have enough pasture land on their personal plots to build shelters or plant sufficient fodder crops. Instead, they've asked a wealthier neighbor with an uncultivated field for permission to plant fodder on his farm. He agreed. They plan to initially build one shelter on one of their plots and to share fodder. Their approach clouds the clear-cut Grameen-esque model Sam and I once envisioned. On the surface, it also goes against the grain of the way women normally like to work in Shimbwe, namely, alone and on their own plots, independent of others. My gut reaction to hearing this plan was to welcome it as a rare instance in which Chagga women were willing, even keen, to work together. But my instant impression that the one shelter/one pasture pasture per group model these women proposed would undercut the concept of individual ownership that last year's research showed to be prevalent in Shimbwe, and that our model (really the Grameen model) of incentivizing the repayment of credit hinges upon.

I brought the issue up with Francis, asking if we need to to take collateral out on owns in cases where group ownership is the norm. In consultation with her members, Francis clarified the issue saying that although a group might start with one shelter, they plan to save money and will build shelters for the other women in the group as resources become available. Furthermore, individual women will retain ownership over specific goats, which will indeed be passed from one group member to the next (even if ownership is marked cognitively rather than by physical location). What appears to be emerging are a cluster of small groups, each of which has a unique set of capabilities, social dynamics, ecological limitations and corresponding solutions that lead them to a particular methodology of caring for goats and exchanging them between individual members. The groups, as I understand them, are going to operate as bite-sized savings and loans organizations. These have formed based on women's knowledge and experience in hearing about and participating in such schemes, and in response to our outside intervention. This intervention appears to have generated what women perceive to be a strong economic opportunity, and to have incentivized the formation of hybrid collectives (with individual ownership and some shared work, credit, and resources) that women find distasteful under most other circumstances.

The internal politics and resource-sharing within each group will therefore depend on the nature and composition of the group in question. Group members themselves will be responsible for determining how to pass goats and how to pay loans back. Duma will work individually with groups, which will in turn operate according to unique verbal bylaws. The women present seemed to like this way of doing things. I do too: It allows us to leave as much to group members as possible while allowing them to respond to a basic set of financial rules and conditions. These meta-rules will be flexible and dependent on factors such as group size and financial capacity. Most remarkably, this approach is actually Francis's idea, which signals her faith in poor women's capacity to manage their own affairs. It suggests her commitment to a participatory process.

The meeting itself was generally participatory - women responded to our various questions and continually posed their own, mostly assuring us that our concerns could be addressed through group work and shared responsibilities. For example, we asked, "What should be done with male goats?" Women replied in various ways: (a) pass within a group, and mandate that recipients of male kids raise and exchange them for females, (b) raise and sell for profit which can be divided in various ways within a group or for individual profit. But Francis suggested women simply sort the issue out in groups. This seem fine to us and we welcomed what amounted to a method for decentralizing the power structure of our loaning program. Personally, I feel the fairest approach to male goats is probably to sell them and reinvest in the group by building shelters or otherwise investing in group capacities. We can suggest this, but ultimately such decisions will be left up to groups.

Another point of controversy we expected to have to deal with was the order in which groups ought to receive loans. Sam and I expected fierce contention over the pecking order. But as different groups discussed their disparate preparations, the solution to this would-be conundrum materialized quickly: groups will receive goats in the order they are ready to receive them. This is an obvious solution in terms of animal husbandry - you can't give a goat to women who can't house or feed them. It has the added advantage of ensuring those who receive goats are (a) serious about the project and making personal investments in order to participate, and (b) that their seriousness is manifest in sufficient group cooperation to get the group off the ground.

One thing worth nothing about the participatory process: a group of relatively wealthy teachers dominated most of the conversation save for a few select others. In terms of project methodology, this suggests that a more inclusive financial strategy might (a) organize meetings so that the poor, rather than the rich and powerful, sit front and center and (b) use smaller group meetings or individual interviews rather than clunky meetings with all interested parties. Since we are going to work with small groups,we will eventually hear those whose voices went unheard in this initial meeting. Another lesson: imploring women to speak when they're feeling overpowered and alienated is futile. When I tried this, several women insisted they agreed with everything said and that they would chime in when necessary.

More on these poorer women to follow. First a note on haves:

Sam and I took an exploratory walk around Shimbwe as women continued to arrive two hours past the announced starting time. We ended up arriving at the meeting a few minutes late. Francis animatedly informed us that there was a group of women already ready to receive goats. These were the teachers who are ineligible according to the loaning criteria I had announced at the first meeting. It was precisely this type of public outburst that, given the criteria, I expected Francis to steer away from. Sticking firmly to the guidelines already in place, I exasperate Francis and the ineligible group which had been angling for the first loan since we announced the project. Sam and I suggested some alternatives to a loan: talk to the Leta School and see if you can get seed goats for your own school after a few years, or get a loan from Duma after the eligible members get theirs. (Given our pending departure date, we can accept a statute of limitations on our criteria if necessary). At first we suggested teachers by goats from successful groups which would both bolster the project and give the teachers some time to raise cash. But they liked the idea so much that they decided to buy goats immediately through Farm Africa. At the same time, they are keen in maintaining ties with Duma. They also seem keen on launching a project that helps their own local community of Materuni, a village just outside Shimbwe, so working with them might help to extend our own reach. In any case, this elegant solution reaffirmed the efficacy of using criteria.

Another potential problem emerged in the course of laying out the criteria which directly affected the poor. When I announced loanees can't operate on under half an acre, women got nervous because most of them have plots of between zero and a half an acre with about a quarter acre being the norm. This could constrain their ability to build a project if they work off their own pastures only. But when it comes to pasture land in Shimbwe, there seems to be something more complex operating beneath the surface of land ownership. The women assured us not to worry about pasture area apparently they get the bulk of their fodder grass for free by cutting it from public hillsides. Unaware of exactly how this process operates and whether or not the available grass would be healthy for Toggenburg goats, we told them we would reevaluate this policy with consultation with Dr. Lockhart. It would be preposterous to loan modern dairy goats to people who can't provide them with the diet they need to provide milk in the first place, but maybe if they buy some feed, cut some, and grow the rest, they can run profitable home dairies.

During the last stage of the meeting, women physically organized themselves into their groups. We asked each group to name a leader to be responsible for attending all training seminars, training fellow group members, and to be the liaison between Duma and their group. During the course of arranging themselves, the women who had already formed groups and formulated plans to participate in the project gravitated into pairs or triplets, many of whose third or fourth members were absent. Among the women who had not yet joined groups arose a vortex of instantaneous group formation. Many of those who came to the meeting without partners thus left as members of groups which coagulated mostly according to seating proximity. Faith, a very poor woman who I interviewed last summer, was seated adjacent to a pair of women who were standing side-by-side to indicate their intention to work together. Faith hovered on an incline slightly above them. Francis asked her what group she was in, and with a two-handed parting motion, Faith attempted to displace the space between the established pair and root herself as a fellow member between therm. The original pair denied Faith's opportunistic attempt to join their group with shaking heads and firm feet. Eventually, Faith ended up joining one of the groups that formed as a consequence, rather than as a prelude to the meeting.

There is something to be said for groups forming continuously as the project proceeds but the last few groups that formed exemplify the sort of transitive, impromptu social interactions, instigated by a poverty-burning peer-pressure cooker, that would likely lead to dysfunction down the line. One good thing about our system: there is already a mechanism in place to deal with such groups. If they are indeed transient and dysfunctional they will fail to aggregate the resources necessary to proceed with the project; they just won't get a loan. If on the other hand, women inspired by the success of original groups successfully form new ones, we will have established just the type of social organization we intend to. Our financial product will be powerful enough to incentivize productive group work in a place where women tend to avoid collective business activity. We are not aiming to destroy the individual ethic that motivates women here. Instead, we are working with an intensely individualistic economic culture to develop the kind of collectivization that might allow women to get past some of the economic hardships they face alone to allow individuals to improve their livelihoods. As groups return loans, they might fracture into individually-managed projects. But at this stage of the game it is hard to think of ways for women to manage these goats alone.

Posted by Jake