This issue brings together a collection of ideas to help in working together to raise income on a small scale. There is sound advice for anyone thinking of setting up a micro-enterprise, useful contacts and plenty of ideas for new enterprises. We have tried to focus on micro-enterprise which benefits the community rather than just making one person wealthy. Though the opening articles give emphasis to producing goods and crafts, the principles are just as useful for other services, such as producing foods or offering transport.
The report carried out by Hulme and Mosley (page 5) highlights the concerns many credit organisations have on lending to those who have very few resources. However, by working as a group, members provide a safety net and make micro-enterprise more likely to succeed. Rather than simply buying and trading, balanced micro-enterprise should take locally available materials and add value to them by processing.
A participant at a workshop held in Jacmel, Haiti was surprised to hear that Footsteps was free of charge to people working in development. ‘What about Footsteps’ message of participation being the key to development, with everyone having some resource to contribute?’ he asked. Well Footsteps actually does have a price. You can pay your subscription either by sharing the information with neighbours, friends and community members or by writing to us about your experiences. Information is power and by sharing it, you help to break part of the cycle that keeps the poor isolated. So if your copy of Footsteps sits on a shelf and is not read or used by anyone, please pass it on to someone else or cancel it so that Footsteps can be sent to someone else.