Jim and Debbie moved to Myanmar in 2004 to start iDE-Myanmar -- with no intention of starting their own organization. With the ever-changing environment and shocks to the system like the 2008 cyclone, they continuously adapted their products to help move Myanmar's poorest farmers out of poverty -- and thus Proximity Designs was born.
In a country where 70% of the population depends on agriculture, improvements in farming technology and techniques - and the credit to access them - are vital to improving living conditions and ending poverty. Proximity Designs treats the poor as customers; they design, market and sell income-boosting products and services that farm families can afford. Debbie and Jim set up a design lab in Myanmar that combines the best ideas the world has to offer with customer feedback at the village level, and they market the resulting products through existing sales channels. Using true empathic design and a robust distribution network, Proximity is getting the best products to the poorest people in Myanmar.