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Monday, 31 August 2009

Sustainable Roots for Zambia (Guest Blog)

Greetings Zambian Economist Community!

You may remember me from a Guest Blog in Jan. of this year; I run a US-based non-profit for Zambia and in a second post would like to invite feedback from all interested and experienced readers.

As a review, after 3 years of living in the villages of Eastern and Northern as a Forestry Extension Agent, I returned to the US and began Color Me In! in 2008 to address the issue of community empowerment and environmental conservation that I saw as intimately paired. I was able to witness the often short-lived and debilitating effects of easy aid and have been determined to devise a micro-finance program that places the character development of the individual at the center while helping communities to generate their own long term sources of income and addressing the urgent issue of deforestation by allowing groups to pay back 50% of their loan through the planting of trees.

I am writing now because Color Me In! is at a stage of development where we have funded several micro-loans that are experiencing success and as we expand our services, I want to review, revise anPd improve our current methods of implementation, monitoring and evaluation to activate the best strategy possible.

How do you go about building sustainable development? It is a complex, multi-faced issue and the answers also require a similar multi-dimensional approach. I have started a blog called Sustainable Roots to serve as a forum for an online community passionate about true community empowerment, the environment and for those with the desire to image a better way. I lay out CMI's current method of micro-finance and tree planting and present a number of questions critical to developing an improved strategy. While run in the US by many who have spent 2-3 years in the rural areas of Zambia, we are limited both as a small collection of individuals and by our current office position in the US. It is my hope to invite anyone who is interested in sharing feedback, ideas or who may like to explore working with us to visit our blog and spend 5 minutes starting to help us make a more effective difference.

Note: while our web site is currently being re-vamped, I can be reached at and the blog contains the essential outline of our mission and direction.

Thank you sincerely for your time. !! (Zikomo kwambili, Natotela Mukwai.....sorry, I only learned Nyanja and Bemba). :)

Sarah Grant
Color Me In! Founder, Executive Director

Empowering human development and rural poverty alleviation through micro-loans for business development and tree planting.

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