02/08/2013 03:41 pm ET Updated Apr 10, 2013

How to Design Products for People Making $2 a Day

Proximity Designs is a for-profit design company whose goal is to create products cheap enough -- and good enough -- that they can be bought by poor farmers, instead of just giving them aid.

Proximity Designs -- led by Debbie Aung Din and Jim Taylor -- works to reduce poverty and advance the well-being of rural families in Myanmar, where the Taylors have worked since 2004. They design, produce and distribute products, like their foot-operated irrigation pump, that are affordable for low-income farmers and help to increase their income and productivity. To date, they've sold more than 110,000 items to Burmese farmers, using a model of designing and producing tools that are affordable to those making less than $2 a day.

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