Monthly Archives: December 2012

Feature Article: Protest and Invest

–       Rodolpho Carrasco

Christians need to change the way we teach and preach economic justice. Most of us have been to the one-hour workshops where the leader spends the entire hour pointing out injustice, highlighting the negative side of democratic capitalism, cautioning against the misuse of America’s superpower status, explaining various ways to protest injustice, and overall emphasizing that the glass is half empty. There is great truth to this perspective, but let’s give it half our time. And then let’s give the other half to affirming the ideas that can lift people out of poverty – ideas that include free enterprise, long-term investment, societal conditions that encourage prosperity for all, and certain aspects of globalization.

Let’s protest AND invest. Let’s give equal time to each aspect of economic justice – half to the protest, then half to investment strategies that focus on what is possible rather than on whom the enemy is.

The problem is that few urban ministers or justice fighters are equipped to teach the second half of the workshop. We’ve got our protest speech down pat, but we have little data to offer when it comes to teaching how to lift people out of poverty. The typical justice fighter in urban America is often a person of relative or serious privilege who is captivated by a vision of justice. This is wonderful, but too often the focus remains on them and their experience, and they fail to understand – or accept – some basic truths.

Let me cite David Batstone’s defense of an instance of child labor, from a June 2003 issue of SOJOMAIL, as an example. Batstone shows how, in the light of day, the concept of and need for “just child labor” emerges out of on-the-ground necessity. In his article, he writes about how a highly respected center for street kids in Lima, Peru, actually puts kids to work. Most American progressives would immediately decry the injustice of child labor, but Batstone wrote the following: “The director of [the center] argues that work does more than put money in kids’ pockets – it gives them a discipline otherwise absent in their lives. Placing them in a school – even if that were a viable option – is untenable, says the director. There are no breadwinners at home…?

Batstone makes the case that this particular circumstance of child labor is a blessing. However, if progressives believe that child labor is always bad, they might be moved to protest against the center’s practices. Batstone’s conclusion is something every justice fighter in America should memorize and apply: “Political progressives need to be careful not to turn their own privilege into a road block for those who are not so lucky.”

Are there times when we unwittingly do likewise? When our particular view of justice gets in the way of accomplishing the justice that the poor actually need?

As a college student I took part in a small group Bible study. One night I shared that I was no longer interested in returning to my poor East Los Angeles neighborhood immediately after graduation (my long-professed goal). I had grown up with little in the way of resources, and I was feeling the need to make some money and establish myself first.

One woman in the group cautioned me about the temptations of money. I took her words seriously and questioned the wisdom of my thinking. Later, however, I learned that this woman was sitting on a large inheritance. She was struggling to make sure her financial concerns did not override her obedience to the gospel. She had grown up with investment thinking, and she was striving to learn protest thinking. In her zeal she looked at me but saw herself – and advised me accordingly. But I did not need the same speech she needed. I needed a speech tailored to my life’s experiences.

I was a person who knew a lot about justice, about God’s heart for the poor, about the need to sacrifice and commit all. My family had been poor, I understood what it was to be poor, and I understood how the poor are often locked out of our systems of prosperity. I didn’t need a reminder or admonishment about the protest. I needed to learn more about investment, about the things that would help me break the cycle of poverty in my own family, about how I could establish a financial base through which I might bless others.

Thank God that I did not follow this woman’s advice. If I had, I would have continued to close my eyes to the investment side of life. Instead, I continued forward with my hunch about ways that I needed to grow personally. Today, as I steward resources beyond what I ever imagined, I am grateful that I have 15 years of experience in studying and practicing investment principles.

I pray that this woman now understands how to look beyond her own issues to the true plight of other people, and then to practice justice in both spheres. But this caution goes for me as well. Once very poor, I am now, years later, a member of the middle class in the wealthiest nation the world has ever known. I have youth in my community who talk about getting rich and making money. I’m afraid they will lose their spiritual bearings if they overemphasize or glamorize money, if they believe that money can do for them what only God can do. It’s been easy for me to speak to these young men in the same way the young woman in college spoke to me, and I’ve heard their reaction on more than one occasion: “You can say that, but you’ve got money.”

What I believe I need to do instead is to match my words of biblical caution about wealth (protest) with teachings of the principles that will help them rise out of poverty (invest).

This balance of protesting and investing is critical, because the average teen in my community does not believe his life circumstances can change. For example, there are jobs available – tough and low-paying jobs that, when done well, can be springboards to better jobs – but many teens do not believe they can ever rise out of poverty by working hard, saving their money, keeping away from all sorts of trifling behaviors, and investing wisely.

I spend a lot of time trying to convince them to take the long, persevering road. My list of speeches sounds oh-so-square. Don’t spend your money. Start with an old, cheap car. Work two jobs, even three. Get some college. Start a business on the side. This is how people all over America, regardless of ethnicity, get ahead. But it’s a hard sell because these principles go against human comfort, and they are especially hard to embed in a young heart. So, extra time and attention are needed to convince poor urban youth that this is the way to go.

What I do not need to put extra time and energy into is teaching them about the existence of injustice. They already believe they have to fight for themselves against what they view as a cold, prejudiced system. They know that greedy capitalists often get away with massive, multi-million-dollar crimes, while many poor people are sent to prison for years for relatively minor offenses. This and other anecdotes about economic injustice are easy to come by on the streets of the city, and city youths’ hunger for them is great. Some kids have already participated in protests against police and educational administrations, lobbied city councils, marched in demonstrations against war, walked out, sat in, and held the line in union-led strikes.

But from the vantage point of my home, next to a corner store in a black and Latino neighborhood, what I see is a generation carrying picket signs in their hearts but running no businesses, owning no property, creating no wealth, tempted to commit crimes, and doomed to wallow in poverty. The very kids who should be disciplining themselves, saving money, working long hours, practicing how to write a business plan, and learning how to win investor confidence, are instead walking around complaining. They talk about what can’t happen and who is against them, preoccupy themselves with endless conspiracy theories, and otherwise squander their God-given time, talent, and opportunities.

Urban youth today know the protest side. They need to be taught – and practice – the investment side.

Let’s think about it another way: We go into the city and teach a poor kid how to fight for justice, but not how to invest for the future. A better-off kid gets trained to invest, then comes into the city and learns about injustice and how to fight it. The better-off kid is well-rounded because she knows both investment and protest and thus is able to take care of herself and her community as she seeks what is right. But no one stands up to teach the poor kid about investment, so that kid grows into an adult who does not know how to effectively take care of herself or her community. Is that just?

Rudy Carrasco is the U.S. Regional Facilitator for Partners Worldwide, an advisory board member of TechMission and the Christian Community Development Association, and managing director of Two Forty Group, an urban ministry consultancy. His articles have been published in Christianity Today, Forbes, the Los Angeles Times, Discipleship Journal, and Youthworker. He is a member of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s Alumni Hall of Fame and lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Feature Article: Coffee Conundrum: Toward a Missional Just Trade Movement

–       Dave Price

Moving beyond the ideas of fair trade and direct trade, a discussion during a “Coffee as Mission” workshop at Partner’s Worldwide’s recent Chicago gathering birthed the idea of forming a new marketplace entity, Just Trade Movement International (JTMI). The vision behind JTMI is to infuse hope into every life touched by coffee – from producers to consumers – to empower the lives of everyone in the value chain, by creating connections, value, and mutual benefit, and inspiring confidence, dignity, and trust between all parties involved.

While fair trade and direct trade hope to financially benefit coffee growers, just trade hopes, through the development of relationships, to benefit all the players in a holistic way. Most especially that this movement, as a Christian endeavor, will make Christian disciples all along the trade routes and in every nation connected by coffee.

Coming to Here . . . some coffee history

Coffee, after only oil, is the most traded commodity in the world. It is said to have been discovered by a 9th century Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi. Coffeehouses began to spring up in the Middle East and by the mid-1600’s it had spread throughout the Arab world and into Europe. Its popularity has continued to grow and coffee has become a well-travelled, highly-coveted, sometimes-prohibited, aggressively-traded, globally-consumed commodity. Coffee sales in 2011 in the United States were around $32 billion, a little less than half of the global total of $70 billion (International Coffee Organization, 2012).

Coffee growing followed the popularity of the drink and, as consumption grew, coffee trees and coffee bean processing spread around the globe. But consumption regions and growing regions have not been consistent with one another. While consuming markets grew, especially in developed economies, coffee growing was introduced to the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Indonesian by the early 1900’s. It has since spread to other regions of the southern hemisphere.

Coming to Here . . . the kind we drink

As coffee has grown in popularity, palates have become increasingly discerning and new classifications of coffee have been created. According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), the phrase “specialty coffee” was first coined by Erna Knutsen in 1974 and originally referred to products from “special geographic microclimates [that] produce beans with unique flavor profiles.” Today, that phrase means much more as it incorporates factors affecting coffee quality at various points in the supply chain from the farm to the cup. Various controls of those factors have been put in place creating industry standards to ensure consistency and quality throughout the process (SCAA, 2009). Specialty coffee has become the benchmark by which all coffees are judged. Over the last thirty years, the specialty coffee industry standards have spread around the world and established the baseline for coffee quality in cafés, for roasting, barista skills, and the coffee supply chain itself (SCAA, 2009).

Coming to here . . . some foundational problems

Historically, the price of coffee was kept low as the labor-intensive growing activities were performed by slave labor, initially Africans (Wikipedia, 2012). In some growing contexts, the use of slave labor is still at work. Free and independent growers are, unfortunately, often met with impoverishing wages because coffee commodity prices remain low. In coffee consuming regions, consumers typically do not significantly change consumption patterns based on price. However, growers must sell their products at market fixed prices, globally between one and five percent of the consumer retail price. Those commodity prices do not cover the costs of production. When transportation or other costs waver, coffee cartels and large companies, to keep prices as low and consistent as possible to consumers, manipulate their margins on the backs of growers. This creates an unjust economic imbalance within the coffee supply chain, though consumers remain largely unaware.

The Rub

One might assume that in coffee production the party performing the most work, the farmers, would glean the greater share of financial benefit. They do not. As mentioned, globally they receive between one and five percent of retail prices. If a one pound bag of coffee sells for $10.00, the farmer will only receive $0.10 to $0.50. It typically takes one coffee tree to produce one pound of coffee. Coffee prices are largely determined by the commodities market based upon global supply. Surpluses in one growing region then can wreak havoc on farmers’ incomes in other parts of the world.

More than 25 million people in over fifty countries (many considered developing countries) worldwide depend coffee farming for their livelihood. At the same time, 48% of the world’s population lives on less than $2 per day (Population Reference Bureau, 2011), a majority of whom live in coffee growing regions.

The disparity of income between producing and consuming regions and nations was the impetus for the Fair Trade movement. Edna Ruth Byler is claimed to be the founder of fair trade when she began selling handmade products from Puerto Rico in hopes of alleviating poverty there. She and Ruth Lederach sold products at the Mennonnite World Conference in 1952, efforts that would eventually create the Ten Thousand Villages project (Ten Thousand Villages, ND).

Coffee came under the purview of the fair trade movement in 1988 in the Netherlands and expanded when TransFair USA became a third party certifying agency. TransFair USA set certification standards and established a “minimum fair trade price” for coffee at $1.26 per pound (FOB) to be paid to growers. When world market prices rose above the floor price, growers would receive an additional $0.05 per pound (Coffee Research, 2006). In 2010, TransFair USA became Fair Trade USA and redefined their mission. According to President and CEO Paul Rice: “Fair trade is about so much more than price. Fair Trade is a comprehensive approach to sustainable development that supports farmers with quality improvement, environmental stewardship, business capacity training, access to credit, and community development funds to help improve lives” (Fair Trade USA, 2010). Fair trade now encompasses many producers and products beyond coffee, and many other certifying organizations and labeling practices have entered the market, with varying degrees of success.

Fair trade labeling and certification practices have come under fire in recent years, accused of being ineffective due to offering farmers very little gain but at higher (certification) costs. Fortunately, the fair trade movement has at the very least raised awareness of the income disparity between coffee producers and consumers.

Next Steps

As fair trade has evolved, the notions of “Fair Trade Plus+” and “direct trade” have gained popularity. According to the Fair Trade Plus+ website, it is a “partnership between family farmers and the companies that bring the farm’s produce to market.” In this model, raw materials are purchased at market prices plus an additional three to five percent for the producer (Kestral Growth Brands, Inc., 2008). Just Haiti, and other organizations, have redefined fair trade plus by committing all profits from the sale of their coffee be returned to the farmers. Just Haiti reported that farmers received two thirds (67%) of the price of a bag of coffee (Just Haiti, Inc., ND).

In many of these relationships, farmers must still work through third parties (such as freight consolidators) to move their product from the farm to the consumer. However, an increasing number of organizations are developing direct trade relationships where middlemen between the producer and consumer are being eliminated. By reducing the number of middle points the costs of the supply chain are lowered allowing for greater returns to the farmers. While these models are increasing in number, pressure can come in the relationship between the producer and importer / roaster as many small lot farmers are unable to fill container loads.

More Holistic Model Still Needed

Rising awareness of the coffee famers’ plight has sparked action and confirmed that producers’ needs extend beyond the financial. New approaches need to focus holistically on people, not just products and markets. But despite efforts to date, many farmers, their families, and communities still face debilitating poverty and starvation. “After the Harvest” is a documentary that illuminates the economic hazards of the “thin months,” exposing food insecurity and starvation in coffee growing regions. The film’s makers propose sustainable solutions and partnerships to address these challenges (After the Harvest, 2011).

There are a wide variety of challenges in both coffee producing and coffee consuming regions of the world. Whether the challenges are political, physical, emotional, financial, social, familial, or spiritual, they foster feelings of helplessness and despair. While a holistic approach, taking into account the whole person, is not a new concept, it requires a new approach. At the foundation of just trade, as a holistic model, is commonality. This commonality is a poverty shared across borders, cultures, socioeconomic boundaries, and the human race. Only God can restore the poverty that we all share and meet our every need.  So, can coffee help solve this deeper issue?  And can it work practically?  We believe it can, especially with God’s help.

Coffee growing regions are typically also the most impoverished (where, in some cases, coffee represents a substantial percentage of GDP) and the least evangelized. That is no coincidence. Historically, mission-minded Christians have been the voices of advocacy to rattle the conscience of those benefiting from injustice against other humans, whether be they the victims of slavery, brutal colonization, persecution (such as the Jews in Nazi Germany or ethnic cleansing), or the economic injustice of unfair trade.

Today, many Christians are joining together to create models of holistic mission, not simply to address issues of economic disparities but to be the voice of the Gospel among marginalized coffee producers.

A New Approach

At the beginning of this article, I introduced Just Trade Movement International (JTMI) as a new vision aimed at bringing greater hope to everyone coffee touches. By leveraging a methodology and set of principles central to the business-as-mission (BAM) movement, JTMI seeks to empower every life in the coffee community, to createconnections, value, and mutual benefit, and to inspire confidence, dignity, and trust.

JTMI proposes a holistic approach through global life-saving partnerships, leveraging relationships to bring efficiencies, products, services, and needs-based solutions to BOTH producers and consumers in the coffee value chain. Solutions will be locally grown within partnership areas, focused on solving local problems. There are still poverty, corruption, oppression, and the lack of hope in consuming regions. While the problems between producing and consuming regions may appear dissimilar, many are rooted in common cultural and personal issues.

JTMI will leverage technology, creating an Internet portal similar to the model used by, the fast-growing peer-to-peer system for borrowing and lending, to link producers with technical and financial services, to facilitate product tracking from farm to market, and to follow the cash-back value chain from the consumer back to the producer.


The logistics of undertaking this endeavor within the coffee supply chain are complex involving numerous activities. Consider that every aspect of the coffee supply chain has a set of needs, products, and services that are addressed in this process.  This includes every step from developing relationships with the producers, cooperatives, importer/exporters, warehousers, roasters, and retail outlets.  Within this process, there is the movement of money where products or services change hands, projects are funded, and microloans and saving programs are established.  In addition, the holistic aspect of this endeavor seeks to promote the value of the individual by creating jobs, developing job skills, training for quality, teaching sustainable agricultural and business practices, and addressing poverty alleviation. By consulting, connecting, and collaborating in the business and ministry relationships, the first goal is to increase revenues. By developing efficiencies and economies of scale, the second goal is to reduce costs within the supply chain, including product sourcing (finding the farmers), purchasing (which involves banking, ie., money transfers and a lot of bookkeeping if dealing directly with large numbers of small farmers), importation (acquisition and shipping logistics and costs, plus import duties and quality control management), warehousing, roasting and packaging, marketing (finding retailers), and distribution logistics and costs. Trying to squeeze margins out of any or all of the processes may prove daunting.

JTMI, as a business proposal, recognizes the newness of this discussion, but is encouraged that there are many organizations, corporations, individuals, and experts already engaged in life-transforming efforts in the coffee world. Several of these – Thrive Farmers, Hemisphere Coffee Roasters, Theta Ridge Coffee, Long Miles Coffee, Mobile Barista, and Guido’s Coffee – took part in the panel discussion in during the Chicago workshop.

There are many other agencies and individuals working in direct famer / ministry relationships that are yet to be discovered and invited to the conversation as potential partners. There are even some, which cannot be named here, working in coffee in creative access countries.

So what is JTMI’s overarching aim? To bring about just trade that is hope-filled, holistic, and empowering. The idea of just trade is founded on nothing less than the unfailing love of God and our eternal hope in Jesus Christ. It is only upon this humble foundation that trusting and enduring relationships can exist and be cultivated.

David Price has more than twenty years relationship-building experience in corporate, start-up, and non-profit entities. He is energized by people, relationships, and connections. Between the Internet, banking, and higher education, Dave spent two years in the coffee industry which God used to create a passion in him to see coffee used as a vehicle for hope. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with wife, Kristi, and son Brent. He enjoys photography, world travel, music and food. And lives to glorify God.

Works Cited

After the Harvest. (2011). After the Harvest Fighting Hunger in the Coffeelands. Accessed November 25, 2012,

Coffee Research. (2006). Fair Trade Coffee. Accessed November 25, 2012,

Fair Trade USA. (2010). Fair Trade Certified Coffee Review 2010-2011. Accessed November 25, 2012,

International Coffee Organization. (2012). The Story of Coffee. Accessed November 24, 2012,

Just Haiti, Inc. (ND). Fair-Trade-Plus. Accessed November 25, 2012,

Kestral Growth Brands, Inc. (2008). Fair Trade Plus. Accessed November 25, 2012,

Population Reference Bureau, 2011 World Population Data Sheet. Accessed November 29, 2012,

SCAA. (2009). About Us. Accessed November 24, 2012,

SCAA. (2009). Article by Ric Rhinehart: What is Specialty Coffee? Accessed November 24, 2012,

Ten Thousand Villages. (ND). Ten Thousand Villages – Our History. Accessed November 26, 2012,

Wikipedia. (2012). History of Coffee. Accessed November 24, 2012,

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Feature Article: Sometimes the Widow and the Orphan Own a Business

–       Daniel Jean-Louis and Jacqueline Klamer

Three Ways to Help without Hurting Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Following the earthquake on January 12, 2010, thousands of people traveled to Haiti to assist in the recovery of the capital cityand neighboring regions, bringing food, water, medical supplies, and free services provided by foreign medical professionals and construction workers.

And thousands of Haitians lost their jobs.

In the weeks following, local corner store pharmacies couldn’t compete with the donated pain relievers, hydrogen peroxides, and vitamins imported and distributed by international non-profit organizations. Many shops that usually have a consistent client-base were wiped out. Other small businesses, including corner stores that filter water in 5-gallon buckets, couldn’t compete against free water distributed throughout the temporary tent camps and houses intact.

Yet, it wasn’t just the corner stores that were impacted by the influx of free donated products. It was also the Haitian hospitals and Haitian doctors, nurses and therapists. Months later, when non-profit organizations argued that the Haitian clinics needed to continue providing their services for free (even though patients were no longer coming in for emergency care, but rather normal annual check-ups or a mild sore throat), many doctor’s offices and even hospitals went out of business.

People around the world chose to help Haiti through aid. But these efforts produced many unintended consequences that hurt Haitians.

It’s important to note here that we are not aid-bashers. Aid is not a problem in itself. In fact, Christians are called in Scripture to care for their neighbor, the weak, the widow and orphan. The issue is the way current aid models are practiced in Haiti’s market-based economy. After all, sometimes the widow and orphan own a business.

In the Past, Haiti Helped Itself

Following its independence over 200 years ago, Haiti operated as a market-based economy that encouraged free enterprise and small businesses. The entrepreneurial spirit was alive. Small farms sprouted throughout the country as post-colonial property was redistributed to families as subsistence farms and a means to achieve ownership, economic stability, and perhaps even grow a small business.

Haitians also invested back into the country, developing sectors such as agribusiness to feed its own nation staples including rice, beans, plantains, and an assortment of enriching vegetables and fruits. Businesses in Haiti also expanded in manufacturing products such as baseballs and textiles that were often exported to the United States and other developed nations.

As a ripple effect, the nation’s economy grew slowly but surely through business growth in the private sector. But whether in the marketplace, restaurant, or store front of the factory, it all took an exchange of currency for products or services—the sustainable business model within the market-based economy.

Today in Haiti, the same economic structure still remains. For example, business owners and their employees have to get to work each day. To do so, a person might pay the driver of a public transportation tap-tap vehicle to get from house to marketplace, factory, or office. The driver of the tap-tap might then purchase gasoline, put some money in the bank, pay tuition at the local school, and give the rest to his spouse to purchase fresh foods at the local market for the coming week. The ripple effect of local purchasing continues: teachers, bankers, farmers, and gas station workers all earn an income for their work, and on it goes.

This simple example of one day’s transactions indicates that products and services cost something in Haiti. Yet, when aid doesn’t fit the current market-based model, the implications have a downward spiral effect.

The Spiral Effect is Often Unseen . . . Until too Late

Following the earthquake in January 2010, Haitian medical professionals (who were also aiding the injured—it wasn’t just expatriates) knew that at some point they needed to pay the electricity bill to continue providing medical services at their clinics. They needed to pay their personnel working day and night to care for the well-being of patients. They needed to purchase pharmaceutical goods and medicines from local suppliers, especially as the flood of free products would soon run out or wouldn’t fit their needs—a typical case with donated goods.

Ultimately, when the dust had settled and the trauma and emergency relief was no longer needed, Haitian medical professionals knew they needed customers to pay. They needed a profit. Yet when they proposed to transition their businesses and clinics back to a profit-based model, many were roundly criticized by the non-profit sector: How could a clinic stop providing free services? Haiti needs our help!

More so, Haiti’s entire private sector was under siege by free aid.

Whether producing pasta, peanut butter, coffee, mango juice, vitamins, backpacks, or solar-paneled streetlights, many business owners we spoke with following the quake simply stated that they hope the NGOs’ methods wouldn’t detrimentally wound the local economy. All these businesspeople wanted was to tackle the current situation from a business standpoint; to protect the jobs of their employees and staff (many of whom returned to the workplace the day following the quake); reach out and employ a neighbor who had lost her home or family member; and, at best, to identify new opportunities to meet the needs of their community through a new product or service.

It’s what business owners still want for their communities today. If you are listening to the voices of these Haitian businesspeople and would like to align your personal mission, your church, your NGO, or your government with this vision for self-development through business, here are three ways that your help can more effectively help.

 1.               Purchase Locally Across Sectors

A market-based economy needs local transactions, which are often inhibited due to the donated goods and services that many non-profits offer. Yet, to connect the dots, we propose that aid is not the problem in itself. As many of us believe, Christians are called by God throughout Scripture to care for others. In the book of Ruth, harvesters were not to gather everything on the field, but instead offer an opportunity for the poor to glean behind them, working and gathering what remained. Yet, according to Evelien de Gier, owner of cabinetry production company Maxima S.A. in Port-au-Prince, “Many people these days tend to work the whole field, bag the excess, and then hand out the bags to the poor.”

The problem of aid is oftentimes in the methodology.

Around the globe, common aid models today are incompatible with the market-based economic structures in which they operate—structures that are designed to function as a result of supply and demand and a price mechanism through transactions. In fact, in those market-based countries life is sustained through daily transactions. In other words, utilizing aid as a central mechanism in a market-driven economy is like utilizing human blood in an automobile, or petroleum gas in the human bloodstream. It’s not the petroleum or human blood that is bad in itself. It’s that neither is suitable when used in the wrong context.

In a world of well-intended donors, ministries, and non-profit organizations (of which there are over 10,000 registered in Haiti alone), those transacting locally are few and far between. When aid pours in and undermines an existing economic structure—in the case of Haiti, a market-based economy established over two centuries ago—it deflates the potential that Haiti’s economy has to grow.

Now, here’s the redemptive twist. Non-profits using donated funds can redeem themselves by purchasing goods, services, and general labor within the existing structure of the local market. That simple decision, in turn, stimulates the local economy as purchase prices and wages become capital in the hands of the local population. Though aid is harmful when used unsuitably, aid itself is harmless and even beneficial for the long term when used in the appropriate way. Through transacting locally, non-profits will achieve their mission; businesses will meet their bottom line; and oftentimes, contracts such as these lead to more jobs created that directly impacts the lives of employees, their families, and communities!

Furthermore, one local transaction between an NGO and business typically leads to a multitude of additional transactions. For example, workers rarely hide their income under the mattress or bury it in the ground. Instead, they might pay their child’s school tuition, pay rent or daily transportation, or purchase the services from their doctor or food at the local market. The sustainable impact of one local purchase is the potential that aid holds. By spending wisely and locally, aid can redeem itself.

Evelien de Gier goes on to say that the first year after the earthquake was a crash course. In the first three months, her cabinetry production company saw the need for over a million people homeless, and innovatively began producing transitional housing. Starting with 59 employees, the company grew to employ 275 Haitians full-time, fulfilling contracts with non-profit organizations who adapted to local purchasing, totaling more than 7,000 transitional housing units distributed throughout Port-au-Prince and Leogane, a small town west of the capital city most severely affected in the quake. Today, the company has stabilized around 150 employees, returning to their specialty product line of cabinetry and venturing into interior design, a perfect fit for the growing market as Haitians rebuild and renovate their companies, businesses, and homes throughout the city.

Mission of Hope, a nonprofit organization that equips local Haitian schools through capacity building of Haitian teaching professionals and school administrators, is another example of aid being redeemed. Since it began in 1998, Mission of Hope has purchased as much of its food supplies locally as possible, namely the whole grain rice and beans from local Haitian farmers. Seeking to also strengthen the Haitian economy, the organization has committed to increase its local purchasing strategically from its current 5% of supplies to over 25% by 2025, equipping Haitian rice farmers to grow their businesses and eventually compete once again on the market against cheap imported white rice from the United States.

Local purchasing, which leads to local capacity-building, is essential. And, with results like these, it’s evident that businesses play an essential role in the sustainable recovery and long-term development of the country. Even more, market-driven innovation through local business plays a psychological role in restoring Haiti’s culture, including the sense of independence, dignity, and ownership of the process.

 2.               Advocate for the Local Economy

Haitian President Michel Martelly recently stated that no country has ever pulled itself out of poverty through charity. Additionally, support for local businesses is not effective if consumers (much of the client-base being non-profit organizations in Haiti) are not purchasing locally. In line with that, according to the IMF’s mission chief for Haiti, Boileau Loko, many authorities and donors are prioritizing efforts to improve the health of the business environment and to attract investors—not just donors—in order to continue building the growth rate of the GDP.

Already, Haiti’s GDP has successfully grown from 3.5% prior to the earthquake, followed by a negative 5% immediately after the earthquake, to a positive 5.5% growth rate this year, thanks to the local purchasing and tapping into the local market. With a population growth rate of only 2%, the per capita GDP is increasing! Yet advocating for these sustainable steps forward must continue. Input and output are essential recurring steps in operating a profitable business—and a healthy national economy.

Even in the midst of unfair trade, inappropriate economic policies, and a flood of charity, an economy can grow. It’s critical, however, for international and national non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses to not only to adapt and collaborate through contracts—as Maxima and Mission of Hope have both done—but also to advocate for local balanced transactions in which customers are satisfied and businesses make a profit. Failure to support local businesses will perpetuate deep problems. When local businesses are not viewed as worthy—or even capable—of competing, the floodgate of NGO opportunists opens wide.

Here are some ways to consider how you can use your voice to advocate Haiti’s sustainable development and wellbeing:

— Advocate on behalf of the “orphans” in Haiti. Estimates of 80% of “orphaned” children in Haiti have at least one living parent who simply can’t provide for their family financially  because they are unemployed or under-employed. Find and share a story of a Haitian parent who ound a job at a local business and was able to bring their child back home.

— Advocate alongside the Haitian business sector. Share the story of Haitian peanut farmers and local “mamba” peanut butter businesses who cannot sell something for free—the way boxes of tons of peanut butter donated from other countries is distributed for free. This event has occurred many times following the earthquake. People need to make a profit to keep a business running, and to employ others from their community. Advocate that not just fair trade, but free trade, is an essential element for a country to grow its economy and overcome poverty.

— Advocate just policies and procedures that have true sustainability in mind. Aid “dumping” undermines local purchasing, and did so in 2010. Undermining local businesses, most NGOs in Haiti can distribute food and products with 0% taxes required upon entry. They also face no restrictions on the quantity donated. Because of these policies, many non-profits flooded the country to satisfy people’s natural need for food, clothing, sandals, medicines, and everything you can imagine following the earthquake–preventing the marketplace from satisfying those same needs. And for the thousands of Haitians who typically sell items such as food, clothing, sandals, and medicines for an income each day, their client-base was no longer purchasing from them as usual.

But those in the retail sector weren’t the only ones affected. Of the more than sixty percent of Haitians who rely on the agricultural sector for their livelihood, many mountainside subsistence farmers traveled to Port-au-Prince the day following the earthquake to sell their vegetables. Yet, that day and for many months to come, they found that most of their customers were consuming free donated food from their non-profit competitors.

In addition to today’s non-profit methods, various trade policies have been undermining the agribusiness sector, particularly the Haitian rice industry that underwent attack in the 1990s. At that time, import tariffs on rice dropped from 35% to 3%, allowing the farming industry of the United States and countries within Asia to flood the Haitian market with cheap imported white rice. With very little economic protection and an absence of advocacy on behalf of the rural sector, the industry was decimated and still struggles today.

Furthermore, when local industries are damaged, the ripple effect eliminates ancillary and complementary industries as well.

The second implication of the post-quake import policy is that many production companies in Haiti couldn’t even retrieve their own supplies from the harbor when needed. Since donated goods were seen as most urgent, non-profits were given priority to retrieve their shipments.

Within the first months following the quake, many Haitian companies had to lay off employees who were otherwise healthy and ready to work.

— Advocate sustainability to your donors, ministry partners, or organizations you support. Advocating can be as simple as communicating with organizations and charities you respect. For example, write to the organization that equips the child you sponsor and encourage them to purchase locally. Share the issue on Facebook or other social media networks. Don’t cancel the support, but challenge them to realign the support you’re providing to the local market-based economy!

Whether or not you have funds or skills to offer Haiti, the greater need is to ensure the advocacy for supporting local economies proliferates among those who are walking alongside others through a non-profit organization or ministry.

 3.               Affirm Business for Its Own Sake

At its best, business for the sake of business can equip society to grow.

According to Adam Smith, the 18th century philosopher and leading theorist of market-based economics, the rationale behind a butcher’s decision to explore opportunities with the assets he has applies directly to the reform of non-profits and for-profits today. Smith says, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity, but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages” (The Wealth of Nations, 1776).

At some point, we have to accept that a butcher doesn’t kill a calf to benefit society. He kills it to benefit himself by ensuring a steady profit from his business, which is his livelihood. Satisfying customers means more will return, and he will make more profit. By lowering the cost per unit and, thereby, prices, his business will likely grow and the butcher will soon need to hire a second hand and purchase more cattle from local farmers. Each balanced transaction has two main components: customer satisfaction and profit maximization. Yet the profit, though beneficial to the butcher himself, also benefits the church he attends and the government to which he pays taxes—both entities are funded by the profit of his business, and then directly impact society with that very revenue his business generated. None of this would happen if it were a non-profit model supplying people’s needs for fresh meat from the butchery. When customer satisfaction and profit maximization are both valued, businesses create wealth.

This is vital in the development of any society. But these principles need vocal champions and to be taught to emerging generations. Unfortunately, too many well-intentioned people and organizations are operating from an aid and charity point of view, and too few understand and utilize a business approach. This is the focal point of necessary change, and now!

Already at Work

These three ways to more effectively help Haiti over current aid practices may seem overly philosophical or idealistic or even too good to be true. But these practices are already in operation and having a significant impact.

Partners Worldwide has networked hundreds of local Haitian businesses with numerous non-profit organizations that are adapting and committing to local transaction and more sustainable practices. After hosting just three networking conferences since 2010, Buy Haitian, Restore Haiti, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been injected into the local economy through local purchasing by this network. These purchases of locally grown rice, transportation and printing services, pharmaceutical products, building construction, and the infamous Haitian peanut butter mamba, are reciprocated to other local businesses. The result? Hundreds of jobs have been created and businesses are growing.

This focus on Haiti’s market-based economy will empower and lead the next phase in Haiti’s recovery, especially as a country with immense potential to generate employment and growth within the leading industries of tourism, manufacturing, and textiles. We want to encourage non-profits and supporting groups to be active buyers from local companies in Haiti. If all goes well, the Haitian economy will continue to develop itself enough—truly reaching self-sustainability—that someday NGOs will achieve the oft-stated goal of “working ourselves out of a job” because more Haitian businesses and Haitian leaders will be taking care of their own country.

Daniel Jean-Louis is a business owner and professor of entrepreneurship and development at Quisqueya University in Port-au-Prince. He also serves with Partners Worldwide through the 100,000 Jobs in Haiti Initiative that equips NGOs and the Haitian business network of Partners Worldwide through business training, mentoring, access to capital, and advocacy.

 Jacqueline Klamer served with Partners Worldwide for a year in Haiti and today provides global partnership operations support for Partners Worldwide and its affiliates in Ghana, India, Haiti and twenty other countries. Her articles have been published in Sojourners and UrbanFaith.

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BAM Focus: Lausanne Global Think Tank on Business as Mission

– Jo Plummer

 Turning global conversations into fruitful action

“How can I connect with others that are considering the same approach? I’d like to dialogue with others who are doing it!” There is a movement of Christian business men and women who are intentionally starting businesses to be an agent of God’s Kingdom transformation in the marketplace around the world. That question came from one of them, a business owner who had recently pulled out of an extremely hostile country due to terrorist threats. His business had started to bear fruit both commercially and in terms of its growing impact, but it had attracted unwanted attention. The team is now reconsidering their strategy with a new business approach and a thirty year plan for multi-generational transformation in that society.

The Global Think Tank on Business as Mission is a one year collaborative project providing a forum for global conversations on business as mission. The Think Tank opens up these essential conversations, helps us learn lessons from experience, and enables more effective practice in the future.

The Think Tank is structured that we can listen and learn on a number of levels. Through more than thirty Regional and Country-focused groups, we are hearing from parts of the world that have never before had the chance to share their business as mission expertise with the wider movement. We will hear from a group of seasoned Korean practitioners each with more than ten years experience and from the emerging business as mission (BAM) movement in the Chinese speaking world. We will connect with what is happening through business in greater detail in a small nation like Haiti, all the way to insights from the growing Latin American BAM movement as a whole.

Apart from the geographically-focused groups, there are 16 Issue Groups that are topic or interest-focused. These Issue Groups are drilling into some hot current issues in business as mission such as: What metrics do we need for measuring business as mission impact?  How can we effectively replicate or franchise existing business models to more rapidly mobilize and deploy new BAM enterprises? Other groups are looking at the application of business as mission to particular contexts or strategies, such as prevention and restoration for victims of human trafficking or the integration of business with church planting strategies. A complete list of groups is available at

All these groups will be sharing their findings and making recommendations from their collaborative process so that others can build more solidly in the future. Each group will produce a report that contains outcomes, but also practical help and advice, recommended resources and case studies. Some groups will be launching new initiatives out of the process or presenting their outcomes in other creative formats.

One of the most important objectives of the BAM Think Tank is to connect people. Apart from the Think Tank process itself, we expect many new initiatives and partnerships to be generated from the relationships that form through it.

The Global Congress on Business as Mission is a three day event in April 2013 and will be the first opportunity to access the findings of the Think Tank presented at Congress workshops and keynote sessions. The Global Congress will also be a unique opportunity to interact and network with global leaders in the business as mission movement.

Global Congress on Business as Mission, 25-28 April 2013 in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Jo has worked in training, communications and facilitation for business as mission for over 11 years. From 2002-2004 she served as Facilitator for the first Business as Mission Think Tank process under auspices of the Lausanne Forum and co-edited the Lausanne Occasional Paper on Business as Mission. In 2004, Jo launched the first website focused on business as mission ( She is currently Co-Chairing the Global Think Tank on Business as Mission along with Mats Tunehag. Jo is English and has been living in Thailand with her husband and their three children for the past 4 years.

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BAM Focus: Business as Mission

– Mats Tunehag

Business as Mission is not a new discovery – it is a rediscovery of Biblical truths and practices. In one sense it is like the Reformation and its rallying cry: ad fontes – back to the sources.

Business as Mission, BAM, is a term widely used today. The term is new but the underpinning concept is nothing new. During the Reformation old truths were highlighted and contemporary assumptions were challenged. This is what the global BAM movement is doing today. We are revisiting Scripture, questioning jargon and traditions, and assessing the situation in the world. We are also revisiting history and highlighting untold stories of Christians who were instrumental in societal transformation as they engaged in business.

Many Evangelicals often put an emphasis on the Great Commission, but sometimes make a great omission. This is only one of three mandates we have. The first one God gave us is the creation mandate, Genesis 1 – 3: we are to be creative and create good things, for ourselves and others, being good stewards of all things entrusted to us – even in the physical arena. This of course includes being creative in business – to create wealth. Wealth creation is a godly talent: “Remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” (Deuteronomy 8:18) As Christians we often focus more on wealth distribution, but there is no wealth to distribute unless it has been created.

The second mandate is the great commandment, which includes loving your neighbor. In the first and second mandates you find a basis for what modern day economists call Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). It is about creating wealth and producing products and services in ways that consider ‘your neighbor’. CSR recognizes the importance of serving several constituencies through business – not just the owners, but also staff, suppliers, clients, community and the physical environment. CSR includes three bottom lines and looks at the impact businesses have economically, socially and environmentally for the various stakeholders.

BAM also recognizes the importance of the triple bottom line as it is based on the God given mandates about being a creative steward and serving people. But BAM goes beyond this, to CSR+, as we include the third mandate – the Great Commission. We are to glorify God and make Christ known among all peoples. This is the fourth bottom line. As we integrate the Great Commission into our business goals, we develop a global and missional perspective. BAM is CSR+ where the + can also be seen as a cross – putting everything under the Lordship of Christ.

Our mission and success criteria must include transformation. We want people and societies to be transformed – holistically. What does it mean?

It is about a good and lasting change. And that takes time: we need to have an inter-generational perspective. BAM is an intentional praxis of faith at work in all relationships in and through business. BAM is about practicing business based on ethical principles. It is about following Jesus in the market place to see people and societies transformed.

We also need to give priority to small & medium size businesses (SME’s). They are strong transformational agents – not only economically. They are in many ways the backbone of developed economies. SME’s are often missing to a large extent in the poor countries and regions.

We are all people with physical, social, spiritual, emotional, economical and other needs, operating in a political and cultural context. So transformation must be holistic – for people and societies. Our mission is and must be more than evangelism and church planting.

Mats Tunehag is a freelance consultant, speaker and writer from Sweden. He is a Senior Associate on Business as Mission for both the Lausanne Movement and World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission, having lectured widely and published numerous articles and papers on Business as Mission. Mats initiated and co-led the first global think tank on Business as Mission (BAM) 2002 – 2004, and is now co-chairing the second global think tank on BAM: His BAM articles and papers are available in English and 14 other languages at .

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From the Publisher’s Desk…

Merry Christmas and Welcome to Exchange: The Journal of Mission and Market!

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The marketplace is the most pervasive institution in human experience. The division of labor and exchanges of material, as well as intellectual, goods have occurred since the Garden of Eden. Everyone, everywhere is, by varying degrees, connected through the thoroughly globalized marketplace. And, modern communications technology drives our inter-connectedness deeper than ever before. Fortunately, that same technology allows us the opportunity to drive the conversation deeper as well.

Exchange is your journal if you are involved in marketplace ministry or missions, are a Christian working in a “secular” occupation (a misnomer if ever there was one), or if you have ever been a been a customer in the marketplace! This journal is dedicated to exploring the movement of God in our financial relationships and interactions, the theology that guides our marketplace ethics, and, most especially, advancing the Kingdom of God to His glory through marketplace mechanisms and initiatives.

Exchange comes from many years of collaborative research, especially on the business-as-mission (BAM) movement, and the realization that no consistent and open communications vehicle existed within the broad-ranging conversation on the integration of Christian faith and the marketplace.

In this first issue, you will find a variety of contributors, including theologians, business practitioners, mission agency  leaders, missions practitioners, academics, and however else we might classify anyone interested in the topics we broach. I am proud to be able to include submissions from Mats Tunehag and Jo Plummer, the Co-Chairs of the Lausanne Global Business-as-Mission Think Tank, and Rudy Carrasco, a tireless, “irresistible force” in both international and domestic missional work.

There are articles on theology, profiles of practitioners and agencies,  stories about marketplace ministry models, books reviews (or teasers for new one’s coming soon), and provoking challenges from thought leaders within the intricate and vast network of all involved. Hopefully, this journal will become a venue for discussion on any topic from the influence of post-modernism on Christians at work to cross-cultural and incarnational business ministry to the issues surrounding marketplace stewardship as witness and proclamation of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

For the foreseeable future, the submission policy will remain wide open. About the only criteria is we ask articles not exceed 2,000 words. We also invite suggestions for articles we can research and resource in-house or through our wide range of contacts and connections. But please submit your articles and ideas . . . this is a place where you voice is needed and welcome! Rebuttals and alternate views concerning articles published here are welcome but please make them sound theologically and logically. The Church is overrun with emotionalism and dubious ideas. We need strong critical thinking to face the challenges of our day.

The copyright on all articles will remain the property of the original author to use / reprint as they see fit. By assenting to inclusion in Exchange, the original authors grant Exchange also the right to use / reprint articles at will.

The intent is to use this publication as a launch point for compiling research and encourage connections. We all have a lot to offer to the conversation and the more widely we throw open the doors, the more can come in. Beyond granting the freedom to print and share, or email / forward, this journal to anyone and everyone you know, I would ask that you do so intentionally and extensively. Our only request in sharing Exchange materials is that appropriate acknowledgment be given to the author’s and the Journal.


Dave Doty

Eden’s Bridge, Inc.

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This journal is downloadable in its entirety in .pdf format and all articles are available individually online at for ease of sharing.

Exchange: The Journal of Mission and Markets is a copyrighted publication of Eden’s Bridge, Inc. (a not-for-profit corporation) of 991 Lancelot Drive, Norcross, GA 30071. Exchange and Eden’s Bridge can be reached at Permission is granted to redistribute or reprint all or portions of Exchange with the single restriction that the original author AND Exchange receive appropriate acknowledgment in any printed or electronic publication or redistribution.

To learn more about Eden’s Bridge, please visit our blog at Tax deductible support for Eden’s Bridge or sponsorship for Exchange may be mailed to the Eden’s Bridge address above or contributed via the PayPal account of

Thank you for your support and please keep our ministry in prayer. Shalom, Dave Doty.

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Cover – Exchange: The Journal of Mission and Markets


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Exchange 1.1: The Journal of Mission and Markets (December 2012)

Volume 1, Number 1 – December 2012

View / download Vol. 1, No. 1 in .pdf format here.

Cover Illustration

Table of Contents

         From the Publisher’s Desk – Dave Doty

BAM Focus

         Business as Mission (BAM) Overview – Mats Tunehag

         Lausanne Global BAM Think Tank – Jo Plummer

Feature Articles

        Sometimes the Widow and the Orphan Own a Business – Daniel Jean-Louis and Jacqueline Klamer

        Coffee Conundrum – Dave Price

        Protest and Invest – Rudy Carrasco

Thinking Theologically

        Marketplace Theology: Holiness, Exchange and Profit-Making – Dave Doty

Agency Profile

          Life in Abundance International  – Anne Landers

Ministry in Business Practice

        Car Deals and Distance Learning – Chris Patton

        Profiling: Caroline Mendez – Dave Doty

Off the Wall and Off the Cuff

        Game Theory and Moral Economics – Dave Doty

Off the Shelf – On Books

        Group Genius by Keith Sawyer

        The Field Guide for the Hero’s Journey by Jeff Sandefer and Rev. Robert Sirico

Back Matter

        Sponsor Exchange: The Journal of Mission and Markets


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Exchange: The Journal of Mission and Markets is ALIVE!!!

The first issue of Exchange: the Journal of Mission and Markets is now live right here in .pdf format.

Or view articles for online reading at the Table of Contents here.


Dave Doty

Eden’s Bridge. Inc.


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Supporting Eden’s Bridge & Exchange: The Journal of Mission and Markets

Individuals Sponsoring Exchange: The Journal of Mission and Markets

Please make contributions via PayPal to email address or mail checks to:

Eden’s Bridge, Inc.

991 Lancelot Drive

Norcross, GA 30071

All gifts are tax deductible.


Organizations Sponsoring Exchange: The Journal of Mission and Markets

Not only is Exchange designed to spread ideas and conversations within the variant practices integrating mission and marketplace activity, it is a networking device to help individuals and organizations connect to collaborate on specific initiatives. Let others know who you are and what you are about via “sponsorship” ads in upcoming issues of Exchange.

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Copy must be “camera ready,” complete in .jpg format, as close to proportional dimensions given. Email .jpg to and complete PayPal transaction to before deadline dates below, or mail checks to address given above.

Deadlines for quarterly publications are:

March 1 for Q1 (Mid to end of March publication)

June 1 for Q2 (Mid to end of June publication)

September 1 for Q3 (Mid to end of September publication)

December 1 for Q4 (Mid to end of December publication)


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