Operating out of a small office at 2441 18th St. NW, Partnership for Productivity (PfP) has become such a factor in Third World entrepreneurship that Peace Corps volunteers are routinely assigned to work with PfP in the field.
"PfP works consciously to develop the contribution an individual human being, with the right training and motivation, can make to his own society and productive economy," said David Scull, founder of Partnership for Productivity. "It is our belief that the best, and most lasting, development will be the sum of such individual contributions."
Established in 1969 after six years of investigation and planning by Scull, an American Quaker and businessman, PfP is a nonprofit, private, voluntary organization dedicated to human and economic development in the Third World. It provides management and credit training, investment loans and technical assistance, individual and group business start-ups and vocational training in several commercial areas and agriculture. PfP has over 100 employes in programs in Africa and the Caribbean and is working on projects slated for Central America and the Middle East.
Over the past decade, five basic "program models" have evolved from the work of PfP in underdeveloped nations. The Rural Enterprise Extension Service (REES) recruits and trains citizens of the country served to become small business field advisers. REES was devised in Kenya, and includes marketing and business planning, accounting, inventory control and pricing. The Rural Market Loan Scheme (RMLS) works through small revolving loans to clients of REES.
Self-Development Village Projects administered by PfP employes allow local people to choose their own goals and create projects to achieve them. These programs are designed to add "community development and a marketing focus to rural subsistence economies, without sudden jolts to traditional ways of life," said Scull.
The Viable Economic Community Model (VECM) brings together four autonomous PfP approaches: management advisory services, small revolving loan funds, Appropriate Technology Centers and small, self-help community projects. When these four elements coordinate, they bring together producers, suppliers and consumers.
Finally, PfP is working with the Liberian American Mining Company to encourage and support development of the population surrounding its mining site. This cooperation between an organization such as PfP and a multinational firm is unique, according to PfP officers, and provides a model for their multinatinal program. PfP identifies and coordinates contributions by the local populace, the multinational corporation and the host government to help foster a stable coommunity rather than "a boom town that could become a ghost town."
"I think that private initiatives, applied with a real since of social purpose rather than exclusively for selfish ends, represent the biggest untapped potential that developing countries have today," Scull said.
"Since this is being increasingly recognized both in the U.S. and abroad, we look forward to a greatly increased use of our 10 years of experience with skill and dedication such as our staff has shown."