Innovation: A Plant With Purpose Core Value

Written by Becky Rosaler on December 18, 2014 in General


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This blog series explores the six Core Values of Plant With Purpose: Faith, Collaboration, Stewardship, Sustainability, Empowerment, and Innovation. Today we share the final post on how these values play out across our international programs and how they inform our approach to community development. Up next: Innovation. 




Noun: a new method, idea, product, etc.



For any organization to stay relevant and on top of their game, they must be innovative. At Plant With Purpose, we see this playing out in a number of ways. For example, by utilizing appropriate technologies, we are improving the health of families through ecological latrines and providing cleaner air through the use of fuel-efficient stoves. Enabling farmers to safely save and take out loans through the Village Savings and Loan Association method has allowed for unprecedented growth in the amount of cash reserves families have and increased standards of living around the world.


Our program partners in Tanzania continue to innovate in numerous ways including: weekly radio broadcasts focusing on organic gardening, a certification program to label produce as organic, and pushing the government to invest in alternative energy to halt tree cutting. By embracing healthy competition, in the form of an annual tree-planting competition, Plant With Purpose Tanzania has grown exponentially in the past two years planting more than 2 million trees to help restore creation. These innovations are allowing the field program to impact even more lives.

One area where Plant With Purpose has made some of the greatest strides toward innovation this past year has been with the use of GIS (geographic information system). Our technical department is utilizing this mapping tool to layer indicators of need to pinpoint communities, regions, and watersheds that would greatly benefit from a Plant With Purpose partnership. That’s a complex way to say we’re using things like census information, topographic maps, population data, and areal images of tree cover (NDVI) to figure out where we should focus our efforts. And it’s working! When discussing program expansion with the Dominican Republic staff, the GIS data complemented the local team’s extensive knowledge of the country. Expansion into specific regions was easily agreed upon.


William Pollard once said, “Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” Plant With Purpose holds innovation as one of our core values. We are committed to tracking industry best practices, refining our processes, and utilizing the tools available to make the greatest impact on ending poverty and environmental degradation.

For the curious, read Technical Director Robert Morikawa’s paper titled “Remote sensing tools for evaluating poverty alleviation projects: A case study in Tanzania” to learn more about our efforts in utilizing GIS and NDVI.

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