Why We Sell Our Technologies
Emerging Opportunities for Sustainability (EOS) International is certainly not your typical charity. When EOS was started as a 501c3 nonprofit, we made it clear that we were committed to having a positive impact on the lives of Nicaraguans, but we were not just looking for a short-term fix, we wanted to create long-term solutions.
EOS believes in empowering rural families by investing in them as partners and customers, not charity recipients, giving hand-ups instead of handouts. While large-scale aid is a necessary component of international development, EOS has seen handouts drive communities to become dependent on outside aid. Our approach is different. EOS believes in providing simple, locally-sourced technologies to families in these communities, so they can lift themselves out of poverty by empowering them as customers rather than recipients of charity. Technologies have the ability to dramatically improve lives but are often extremely expensive and out of reach for the rural poor. EOS, however, has developed life-changing technologies that are within the price range of families living in extreme poverty.
With the proper technology, installation, training, and supporting business skills, EOS empowers farmers and rural families to overcome the challenges of poverty. We create deep, cost-effective impact through our program approaches including income generation, health improvement, and environmental preservation. And most importantly, we never leave. We have a dedicated, experienced staff of Nicaraguans ready to assist our technology beneficiaries anytime of day or night.
Selling our technologies, instead of giving them out for free, creates a strong investment from the user or the community purchasing the life-changing products. Ownership translates to a stronger sense of responsibility. But we also understand that money does not come easy to these families, so we are committed to providing access to our technologies through credit and microloans to those who may never have enough cash on hand to make a small investment like this.
A common example: EOS sells a fuel-efficient barrel oven for $130. The EOS technician then installs the oven in collaboration with the family, teaching them the basics of operation and troubleshooting, this way they are able to bake with confidence. This family can now bake using 80% less firewood and in a third of the time. With this new technology, they can sell a portion of their baked goods, and pay for the cost of the oven in as few as seven weeks. On week eight, the family is now generating additional income, breaking the cycle of poverty. And this doesn’t even include the money saved from buying less firewood with the new oven or the positive effects of reducing deforestation!
So if the farmer pays for the oven, where does my donation go? The materials for an oven may cost $130, but that is only half the expenditure. EOS is devoted to the successful implementation of the technology, which includes installation, training, evaluation, and promotion. Many rural families have never seen EOS’ innovative oven, so promotion is a big part of our value proposition. EOS has a squad of motorcycles that traverse the mountainsides of Nicaragua to spread the news of the positive impacts of our technologies. As a donor, your money helps us reach these remote locations and provides the support to ensure a positive, sustainable impact.
Sustainability, it’s in our name. We pride ourselves on our unique approach, with the knowledge that we are not only creating investment from communities, but we are creating opportunities. We want the work we do today, with the help of our donors, to last far into the future. We want to be innovative. We want to be change-makers. We want to be different. But most importantly, we want to allow the people we serve to lift themselves out of poverty.