Heading into fall 2021, AGILE-International (Action to Generate and Integrate Local Economy) and our partner enterprise, Djimi Djama, are pleased to report that we are going strong and growing stronger than ever in carrying out our mission. As we emerge from under the weight of the pandemic, we are using this moment to expand our notion of what is possible. Read more...
We remain steadfastly rooted in our fundamental mission even as we gaze skyward imagining the tomorrows that we are destined to shape.
A quick refresher for our old friends and an introduction for our new friends. Through our collaboration model, AGILE-International, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and Djimi Djama, a social impact enterprise, work with the existing culture to transform millions of lives across Africa by promoting equality, opportunity, sustainability, growth, self-reliance, and dignity.
AGILE-International exists to empower rural women farmers while returning West Africa to food security and restoring the cultural wisdom that underlies traditional sustainable agriculture. We seek to break free from the endless cycle of foreign aid and food imports by producing nutritious food, and preserving the cultures and customs that create strong families and communities.
We are succeeding through sustainable food innovation, industry education, and entrepreneurial empowerment to secure families’ future for generations to come. Through our partnership with Djimi Djama, which donates 30% of profits back to AGILE-International, we have established a vibrant, prosperous, replicable model for female entrepreneurship that is fully engaged in the global marketplace.
AGILE-International’s vision is to create a legacy that will endure for generations of women, one that brings them ever-closer to equality and advances the evolution of women’s rights in West Africa. In parallel, Djimi Djama’s vision is one of creating social impact and economic transformation in Africa by providing a dynamic global marketplace offering high-quality, authentic African goods to a global market, while supporting African businesses, embracing inclusivity, closing the digital divide, and promoting gender equality.
As depicted to the left, our non-profit, AGI E-International enables women in Mali to stand up by becoming land owners and entrepreneurs, bringing food to the table directly from the farm, all while strengthening their families’ futures through educational and economic opportunity and keeping cultures alive and relevant.
Djimi Djama’s artisans across Africa create beautiful, high-quality African handbags and wallets that are sold in Northern America and soon, the world over. By donating back 30% of its profit, a steady funding source for AGILE- International programs is in place.
By nurturing the innate resourcefulness and work ethic of African women, offering training in technology, business practices, and eCommerce, and forging pathways for new trade partnerships around the world, we make possible a scenario where everyone wins. Sustainability, growth, and prosperity are realized.
We are actively engaged in driving post-pandemic recovery.
The global pandemic was, and continues to be, an eye-opening experience, as it underscored the inter-connectedness of everyone who shares this planet. If a microscopic organism can traverse the planet and affect every human being on Earth, surely we can find ways to “join hands” around the world to leverage our resources in more humane, equitable, and sustainable ways.
We chose to not be buried under the tumult of 2020, but instead to use it as a springboard to reach higher and seize the opportunity to do more, smarter, better. In 2021 and beyond, we are accelerating our efforts to develop additional partnerships, donors, and supporters across the private and public sectors. Even through the height of the pandemic, our organizations continued unabated and undeterred, to move closer to realizing our shared visions.
We planted okra, beans, moringa, and peanuts, producing record yields. The numbers of women in our program continued to grow. Food security improved along with income generation. A new microloan project was launched, opening doors for more women to start businesses. Two street business innovation projects got underway. New jobs were created and thousands received training via radio on business practices and entrepreneurship. We established new partnerships. Hope, confidence, and self-esteem among our women have never been higher, decision-making abilities have never been stronger. Women are taking on more positions of leadership. Djimi Djama has added additional product lines and is preparing to launch phase II pilot project of its e-Commerce expansion, making its goods available in new markets across Africa, and soon, globally.
Even though the pandemic limited in-person forums, trade shows, and speaking engagements, AGILE-International’s leadership accelerated its virtual outreach and stayed on track with day-to-day operations, with training of women and young interns, and with fund raising activities to support its ambitious agenda. A high funding priority is the drip irrigation project which stands to significantly increase crop yield and efficiency. An overarching 2021 priority centers around accelerating a shift within the African diaspora from one that perpetually sends aid in the form of financial remittances and goods to one that invests in projects that empower women to stand up and lead Africa.
Hear the voices from the field, on the ground, where change is happening now.
As we experience success, we are eager to share our stories and re-shape the perceptions that prevail with respect to Africa. We seek to replace the images of untamed jungles and vast tundras with roaming herds of wildlife with a clear picture of how local communities are actively striving to innovate, grow, and prosper.
Our focus is on African women who are stepping up to the challenges -- applying cutting edge regenerative agriculture practices, promoting a healthy farm to table food supply, embracing technology, participating in global trade, and achieving a more prosperous life for their families and local communities.
We wish to open eyes and foster attitudes that will inspire more than a fleeting nod from distant corporate boardrooms, largely disconnected from the earnest efforts on the ground that are producing tangible results. Seeing is believing. We share this demonstrable progress as an invitation to businesses, public entities, and government institutions to step up their level of engagement in this journey from which all parties stand to benefit. By forging fair and respectful trade relationships, securing investment in promising initiatives that support a more equitable world, preserve the Earth’s resources, and protect the environment so that future generations may thrive, all of humanity is lifted up.
These past 18 months have been a clarion call to businesses, the world, over to re-examine their purpose through a new lens.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
The world has changed. It is not going back to “normal.” This period has laid starkly bare so many perilous issues urgently confronting our global family -- food scarcity, income inequality, racial injustice, gender inequality, educational deficits, healthcare and infrastructure deficiencies, environmental degradation. Family units and communities have seen disruptions that pose a threat to the cohesive fabric -- woven by tradition, customs, storytelling, history, cultural identity -- that is meant to be passed from generation to generation.
Let us look through the lens of “conscious capitalism.”
We invite our readership to consider the synergy that can be activated when AGILE-International, Djimi Djama, and values-aligned partners like Yes-We-Can, and Bougouni City combine our efforts and resources to greatly amplify -- even exponentially grow -- what we have put in motion since AGILE- International’s founding in 2012. Juxtaposing the tenets of conscious capitalism on our mission and that of our partners, present and future, we:
create value, not just profit,
optimize for purpose,
grow better, not just bigger,
create a lasting, socially conscious legacy, and
demonstrate awareness of environmental impact and take concerted action.
Businesses have the immense capacity to become a force for social good in the world. Public sector resources can be invested in social enterprises around the world that elevate all of humanity. AGILE-International and its partners have the resolve to create enduring, positive change in the lives of millions across the African continent because they have seen its untapped potential. Let’s join hands.
Ultimately… we all breathe the same air, are warmed by the same sun, are sustained by the same earth. By lifting up our fellow man, woman, and child, we lift ourselves up.
We are thankful for the successes we have achieved so far and grateful to those who have opened their hearts and extended their generosity in support of our cause.
We invite all of you, who see the same hopeful signs of progress that we do, to reach out and become part of the movement today!
With thanks to all who took the time to read and consider all that is possible when we join hands. Kind regards,