Waste overwhelms our lives - wasted time, wasted resources, wasted skills, wasted waste. We plan to change that. Our online community, which systematically pools under-utilized resources and matches them with ongoing projects through a streamlined user interface, will provide members with a positive social network and increase environmental, economic and social sustainability. We will connect available resources, skilled workers, laborers and materials with projects in need. TogetherWeCan tackle initiatives with profound impact in communities around the world.

Together we will develop The Ultimate Collaboration.

A farmer-to-farmer teaching model


A farmer-to-farmer teaching model was implemented, allowing farmers to participate in field days and to work with more experienced peers. A “motherbaby” strategy was used to educate about the management of all the legume technologies used in the study. In each participating community, trials of all five legume options were grown in central village plots maintained by the FRT to allow direct observation by farmers (i.e. the “mother” plot). Individual farmers simultaneously tested one to two of the legume options in “baby” trials (10x10 meter plots) at their home and compared them to their normal cropping systems. All farmers were instructed to plant their chosen legume technology at uniform planting spacing or density.14

Affordable & portable water storage tanks

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Whether alone or used as part of a larger system, the water storage tank allows for a readily-available supply of water (doesn't require water at the moment of usage to be pumped from the well). The latest of Proximity design is the Pyit Taing Taung, or "Sturdy Boy", a 250 gallon capacity tank designed for complete portability, durability and affordability. Made of PVC impregregnated canvas with a plastic rim, the Pyit Taing Taung is stored flat and grows into a freestanding tank as it is filled with water. When connected to a pump and a hose, or a drip set, it can help make irrigation a one-man, or one-woman, job. Whether alone or used as part of a larger system, the water storage tank serves an

Build a Farmer Research Network

This solution addresses An agricultural R&D system dominated by a centralized, transfer-of-technology approach in West, Eastern + Southern Africa, Andes for smallholder farmers, researchers and development practitioners

Colaboratorios – Public Experimentation Workshop

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A Colaboratorio is a citizens’ meeting place to “hang out”, share knowledge and learn, which is coordinated in four topic areas: Be, Do, Tell and Think. It is a project open to all in the city but focused on young people, it is equipped with tools and areas for research, experimentation and co-creation in different fields of knowledge such as robotics, astronomy and biodiversity. In the future, it will be designed to be a physical place in a building with a friendly, flexible and diverse environment.

Coordinate Existing Actions


Once trust is established, people are more likely to notice, seek out, and follow through on opportunities to partner with other members of the collaboration. Therefore, the next step in cultivating an effective collaboration is to identify the work that participants are already doing to address the problem that has brought everyone together, and to connect the dots and coordinate these activities. In this way, members can collaborate around common goals, avoid duplication of efforts, and leverage their organizational resources.

Creative Financing

At under $100, the cost of most alternative energy solutions is too low to access consumer credit, even micro-loans. Mercy Corps has worked with suppliers, distributors, and sellers to encourage bundling products or partnered with existing micro-finance institutions to create new loan products.

Designing Experiments with Farmers

Design with farmers

The involvement of farmers as equal partners in the entire research process is one of the objectives of the Farmer Research Networks (FRNs). In this building block, a tool for facilitating the process of designing farmer-led experiments with farmers is presented.

Ecosystem Marketplace

The Ecosystem Marketplace is a leading source of news, data and analytics on markets and payments for ecosystem services (such as water quality, carbon sequestration and biodiversity). We believe that by providing unbiased information on policy, finance, regulation, science, business and other market-relevant factors, markets for ecosystem services will one day become a fundamental part of our economic system, helping give value to environmental services that, for too long, have been taken for granted. In providing reliable market information, we hope not only to facilitate transactions (thereby lowering transaction costs), but also to catalyze new thinking, spur the development of new markets, and achieve effective and equitable nature conservation. The Ecosystem marketplace is a project of Forest Trends.

Evaluating empowerment

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It is important to have tools to evaluate complex initiatives and their outcomes.

Gender Equality Continuum Tool


Uses a classification framework for initiatives as: Gender blind, ignores: • the set of economic/social/political roles, rights, entitlements, responsibilities, and obligations associated with being female & male • power dynamics between and among men & women, boys & girls Gender aware: Examines and addresses these gender considerations and adopts an approach along the continuum Gender exploitative: Reinforces or takes advantage of gender inequalities and stereotypes Gender accomodating: Works around existing gender differences and inequalities Gender transformative: Fosters critical examination of gender norms and dynamics; strengthens or creates systems that support gender equality; strengthens or creates equitable gender norms and dynamics; changes inequitable gender norms and dynamics

Intentional Subsidies

Market actors may need to have their risk reduced in order to change behavior. In one clean energy program in Timor Leste, Mercy Corps worked to improve energy services and reduce household energy costs by promoting solar lanterns and improved cookstoves. We provided a 50% cash subsidy to 26 micro and small businesses to purchase their initial stock of clean energy products. By the program’s end, 25 of these initial 26 businesses had reinvested capital into additional product stock.

Livelihoods and Sustainability Best Practices


It is necessary to ensure that an environment (forest, marine, field, etc) be understood as a place where people live and where sustainable livelihoods can be maintained. This is a place to list best practices that accomplish the twin goal of sustainable livelihoods and sustainable environement.

Market Systems Development Approach

Mercy Corps takes a system-wide view of energy access, identifying key actors (i.e., small-medium entrepreneurs, industry, government regulators or households themselves) who can unlock the potential in a market to better serve the poor. Rather than distributing solar lighting and fuel-efficient stove technology directly, we work with distributors, finance groups, and business support services to overcome the barriers to market penetration and help build a sustainable supply chain.

Network building

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This BB has several resources attached for thinking about how to build and maintain effective networks.

Umbrella Organizational Structure

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This organization utilizes a structure that allows it to act as an incubator, churning out creative and fresh ideas that fall under the umbrella of a parent org. but also reaming unique entities onto themselves. Besides creating clear branding for these offshoot entities or programs, this structure allows organizations to be agile and not be constrained by past precedents. Finally, separate organizations can take on separate leadership and therefore increase their sense internal ownership.

Working with a data manager

Role of data manager in frn

Large n trials and other research with large numbers of farmers generate huge data bases that present challenges to usual data management practices. Hiring a data manager can be a worthwhile way to deal with these challenges. This building block shares some on-going learning about working with a data manager. FRN-NGO engagement with a data manager has brought a lot of learning on the bigger picture of data management in the FRNs. The experience emanates from one and half years of struggling to collect and manage large datasets from multi-environmental pest control and sorghum trials. Before you can do any analysis of an experiment, you first need to deal with data management. Not everyone participating in experimentation can handle different aspects of data management even though every participant can be involved in all the different data flow stages. An overseer is required to ensure that data preparation, data governance, data quality, data collection, data analysis and data feedback and dissemination agreements are adhered to. This means that a data manager needs to be involved in every aspect of data flow to ensure that available data is relevant, can be accessed when needed, is accurate, current, clean and complete... and is ready to support research analysis.