In 2003, founder Paula Shirk adopted a Cambodian child, then later found out his birth family was homeless. She saw entrepreneurship, not aid, as the way out of poverty. She provided the family a motorcycle to transport and sell vegetables at the market and they were soon able to buy their own house. Once you help a family, the village is next. Paula set up a business that helps communities improve health, increase access to food, grow local economies, and help kids spend more time in school. The key is simple: automated and affordable irrigation systems that enable farming families to grow cash yielding vegetable crops during the non rice growing season.
BB2C designs and manufactures their own human powered, low cost, low tech, and highly efficient irrigation pump. Their pump and sprinkler system replaces the back-breaking work of hauling water to the fields in heavy sprinkler cans or buckets. Farmers have to carry 60 to 200 buckets a day, often pulling their children out of school to help irrigate their fields. With BB2C's product, rural farmers use the pump to irrigate an acre and a half of crops on their own. Before, the farmers could only raise crops during the rainy season. Now, they can raise two sets of crops and more than double their annual incomes.
After Synergy's philanthropic investment, BB2C hired a business development manager that built rural marketing teams and formed partnerships to help expand their distribution network. Through their loan program, they have helped 270 farmers afford the initial cost of the pump and have a 100% repayment rate. So far, BB2C sold more than 300 irrigation pumps which has impacted the lives of over 1600 people. The organization has also continued product development aimed at increasing small holder farmer productivity. The latest product is a rice seeder, which not only speeds up the laborious rice planting process but plants rice in neat rows allowing for use of a weeder.
The video below show's BB2C's RUDI pump in action.