Recipe For Hope

Turning poor countries into wealthy ones

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"Recipe for Hope: Turning Poor Countries Into Wealthy Ones—here’s how"
 --A Model--
Dr. Jerry Dean Epps (Ph. D.)


The goal is to End Poverty (at least 80% or more of it) by creating the economic conditions that enable families to have more money to spend and thereby move out of poverty into the working class.  Author believes there is no good reason for widespread poverty existing in the world—no reason for having entire countries be extremely poor.  All that is lacking is political will to change it.  

Author suggests ending poverty one “Target Area” at a time.  Area leaders, primarily in business, come together in an Exploratory Group to choose a Target Area in which to promote and apply the model.  Dr. Epps coaches the Exploratory Group in model application.  The model applies four poverty-ending activities.

1) Macro activity focuses on investment, job creation, and market analysis/demand creation.
2) Microbusiness activity aims to assist people with entrepreneurial spirit to start microbusinesses.
3) Methods for abundant food production: rural farming and urban gardening.  
4) Skills Training in construction trades, car and motorcycle repair, and computer.

Vigorous application of the four activities for a few years will lift the standard of living in the Target Area.  It will bring investment, jobs, money, spin-off businesses, decreased hunger, and general opportunity to them.  This will measurably raise the per capita income and Gross Target Area Product. The Target Area was selected and defined by the business people in the Exploratory Group. Their experienced, dedicated, and determined leadership in successfully applying the model is key to economically redeeming their Target Area.     


Q  How will the Recipe For Hope turn poor countries into wealthy countries?

A  The RECIPE FOR HOPE purpose is to focus on countries we usually associate with massive poverty and turn them into countries of thriving commerce.  We want to show that there actually is a recipe for hope!

The Recipe for Hope model is to work with business leaders in countries where poverty dominates. I will help them to apply the activities that will turn those countries into centers of both thriving commerce and abundant food production.  The commercial activity will be both macro enterprise and microbusiness.  The methods of abundant food production will be enacted on both small plot farms and tiny urban gardens—thus serving rural small plot farmers who eke out an existence the world over and the urban poor who are also found all over the world.  The task of taking on an entire country all at once would be logistically and emotionally overwhelming.  Local business leaders will define small “target areas” in their communities on which to focus.

There are several ingredients to the Recipe for Hope model: Initial survey, entrepreneurship, investment, emphasis on use of local unskilled labor, production of locally and internationally desired goods and services, marketing and sales.  There will be coaching by successful business people who are experts in their fields to work
side by side with local entrepreneurs.  Microbusinesses will be encouraged and funded. Hunger will decrease and quality of life increase as wide range of rural and urban folks grow  their own food using sustainable and high production yield methods.  Not only will these families be better fed, they will have more money to spend as result of selling extra food they harvested.  The efforts at all levels will lift the Gross Product of the target area and the standard of living for its residents—likely within in 18 to 36 months.  

After target areas have been successful they will be an inspiration for how much of an area’s poverty can be eradicated and how once poor people can achieve a higher standard of living.  It does not stop here.  Once people are not worrying about having enough to eat, once people have discretionary money to spend, they tend to feel empowered and want more say in the politics going on around them.  They start wanting to control their destiny.  And that which is so  disabling about poverty—shame and despair, can drop away as people start coming into their own.  They develop their creative talents and their country benefits.  There is a recipe for hope!  

Letter: Here Is A Way To End Poverty

Read the attachments—I ask that you read and not “scan quickly” as a lot of info is packed into each.  If you like them, then read the other attachments including the 6 page description article that explains in more detail.

When I read a certain book last year (War Front To Store Front, Brinkley, Paul, 2014), I had a major insight:  there really is no good reason that we have major poverty in the world—we just have undeveloped economic units!  Brinkley worked in Iraq before the current president pulled the US out.  In 5 years there he created hundreds of thousands of jobs for Iraqis, introduced a modern banking system (allowing interface with the international banking system), developed resources, supported green farming methods etc. and economically revitalized much of the region.  

If he and 5 good assistants went to any poor country in the developing world, and had 2 million for seed money, and spent 3 years there, they would turn a poverty country into a viable economic production unit participating in the world market and would employ the current jobless masses.!!!  Brinkley knows how to make it happen!  But others can do it too.  If the will is there, business leaders can get rid of most poverty by economic development.  There will always be some poor, but widespread poverty can become obsolete.  And add to that the wonderful land restoration activities taking place all over the planet—barren lands restored to abundant grasslands in just 3 years, etc.  There is good documentation for this. 

Sustainable/green methods of food production on the farm and in tiny slum gardens can  produce a lot of food.  Again, it just needs leadership and a will to do it to reduce poverty—not by handing out money!  No, by sustainable methods of food production and by economic development.  The business people who lead the way in this will end up making money as well as move their country forward, one “target area” at a time, to eradicate poverty! 

I do whatever works to get more money into the hands of the lower classes.  That is why I am working with Watson Clair Jeune in Petion Ville, Haiti, to set up microbusinesses.  I do not put money into staff salaries or studies.  I use my personal money to fund individuals starting small microbusiness—usually USD$225 and see if  they can successfully operate a microbusiness.  IF they can make a profit with that, I can invest more.  We have a few of them operating now in Petion Ville—individual people with good reputations who have convinced Mr. Clair Jeune that they can make a go of it, selling items such as soap, vegetables, clothes, shoes, raising chickens or rejuvenating automobile batteries.
I want to take another step beyond starting microbusinesses.   I hope Watson will be able to find business owners with “big hearts” and lots of business experience.  I want them to commit to working to help end poverty in small, manageable, specific Target Areas.  If local business owners are committed, I will conduct a 4 day seminar in which I will coach them to undertake, 1) in an effort to make more money for themselves and 2) to use economic development to help get rid of poverty in the Target Area.  They will need to 1) have business ownership or investor experience and 2) be altruistic in nature and want to help eradicate poverty.  When these big hearted and business experienced people focus on an area, they will transform it, in little ways and in big ways, and the standard of living is lifted for everyone.  This is one way to turn a “poor country” into a prosperous one.  This is the role of Recipe For Hope.
I am influenced by the work of individuals like Dr. Paul Polak, Muhamad Yunus, Paul Brinkley, and organizations like Heifer International and Women Helping Women International.  I am not in favor of donations and giveaways (except in most extreme cases and for very short time).  I am in favor of economic development at all levels.  I also support sustainable gardening and small plot farming practices that grow food for families to eat and to sell.  Growing potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, squash, beans, lettuce, and carrots, in permaculture fashion is something everyone can do—on the ground or in buckets and pots.  This is basic level economics, but important to people who lack money, so they can feed themselves.
I know how to make money through commerce.  It still takes initiative and hard work.   I am willing to help interested persons make change right where they are if they are willing to work hard.  I put the Recipe For Hope model together as a way for local business owners (with the help of some farming and gardening people with experience in sustainable growing techniques) to select a small Target Area of people (300, 500, with a top of 1,500) and vigorously work in the boundaries of that Target Area to apply my model and lift the area up economically.  This will take hard work, but it will pay off! 

I am aware that I am not Haitian, nor live in Haiti, and Haiti needs to rebuild herself without foreigners doing it.  I am trying to help the process along.  I plan to eventually spread the Recipe For Hope model to all developing countries.  There really is no need to have huge amounts of poverty in the world—energetic and caring people with business experience can transform sectors of poverty into thriving economic units—the poor are not stupid, but they need to be shown a way out of poverty.  I realize that a small % will likely always be poor, but there is no longer any pressing reason that large portions of society stay in poverty.

Dr. Jerry Dean Epps (Ph.D.)
Marietta, Georgia, USA

Do You Believe We Can End Poverty?

Maybe some people believe that poverty can be eradicated from the developing world, but I think most don’t—not really.  “Good idea sure, … but let’s be realistic.”  I think that is the prevailing sentiment.  But of those who DO believe, they hold the belief in a very general way—they have no plan and know of no plan to bring the belief into reality.  Almost like, reaching back many decades, “Sure, I think we can get to the moon someday”—but they don’t know of an actual plan to do it.  People in the permaculture and green movement probably believe it—but have no action plan.

But I keep coming back to “There is actually a practical way to do it!”   I realize that many folks are familiar with a high powered CEO coming on board a company and expanding it, or a company invents something new, or tries a new technique in employee relations.  But these are aimed at bettering the company.  In reality, if the country in which the company operated got better, it was a  pleasant by-product—not the driving intention.   This is the difference between ordinary business successes and what the Recipe For Hope model calls for the country to experience thru the efforts of it’s Exploratory Group which is applying the Recipe For Hope model.  My point: key to the Recipe For Hope model to actually work, business owners who apply it in a Target  Area have to actively and strongly hold the INTENTION that they are applying it to ERADICATE 80% OF POVERTY & LIFT THE STANDARD OF LIVING in the Target Area for EVERYONE! 

We will see lots of business success stories.  However, that is not where we are headed.  Yes, there will be a lot of those stores, but that is not the main thing we are offering.  What we are offering is the umbrella, and not the objects covered by the umbrella.  The umbrella is the Recipe, the “tool”, the model, that we offer.  This intention, this belief, must be held by each one who is allowed to serve in the Exploratory Group: they intend that by economic development and strong leadership sustained over time that they can eradicate most of the poverty in the target area in which they focus.

This intention coupled with an action plan is almost revolutionary!  As far as I know, only Brinkley’s book (From War Front To Store Front: …, 2012) and perhaps a handful of others describe this umbrella phenomenon.  There probably is a ministry or department of economic development in most every poor country…. and, to support of my point, it has been there for decades and very little is different about the amount of poverty in that country now than it was  decades earlier!  Hmmmm!  Something must not be working!

A new wind must blow.  It must produce results, some of which of course will look like standard business successes.  BUT,  THE BELIEF THAT THE RECIPE FOR HOPE MODEL IS EFFECTIVE, PRACTICAL, WORKABLE AND CAN DELIVER SIGNIFICANT RESULTS IN LESS THAN 10 YEARS, … that IS the HOPE birthed by the model.  That is what makes this economic model different.  It brings hope, inspired by an increase in the  standard of living in the target areas where it is applied.  We can move beyond generational and socially expected poverty—there is a way!  That is what I want to promote.  That is what Paul Brinkley did in Iraq.  Recipe For Hope is a poverty-ending model.

Description of the model

Dr. Jerry Dean Epps, (Ph. D.)

I    Introduction
Haiti is a country with wide spread poverty.  How, dear reader, could you start to change that?  By you and a few business associates picking a very small area in which to work.  You would look to see what that area needed and start a for profit business to fill that need.  You would do it with small investment using the unskilled labor of locals rather than fancy expensive machines that increase start-up costs and eliminate people jobs.   This would raise the standard of living in two ways: 1) by providing the item or service that fills the need and 2) by hiring some locals.  It is about increasing jobs and money to spend.  It is also about teaching families in your area how to use enhanced farming/gardening methods so they can grow enough food to feed themselves and have extra to sell.  If improving the standard of living in even one small target area intrigues you, read more.

Here is the basic question:  How do you orchestrate an economy to become a strong economy capable of providing a good standard of living?  Eventually it boils down to: focus on a target area, survey existing conditions, then develop available resources, focus on unskilled local labor, design products and services from those resources, and promote wide spread acceptance, use, and sale of them.   Essentially, discover where there is a need, make products and services to fill that need from resources and labor at hand and create a market demand for them.  

Entrepreneurs should be encouraged to start microbusinesses.  Lenders should grant them micro credit.   Learning the skills to feed one’s family by using sustainable methods of farming/gardening that yield a huge harvest on very small spaces eliminates a lot of hunger.  Training the jobless in construction, building, car and motorcycle repair, and computer trades is a winner too.

A few supportive investors will be needed along with coaching from successful business people, perhaps from outside the country, with experience in the same production activity.  Someone is needed with experience in obtaining government permits, licenses and other matters of government compliance.  This cannot be overlooked.  We need some friends in government, or with political clout, who support the project.  They can lessen the effect of government interference and possibly even get its support.  I was pondering these and related issues when I started reading War Front To Store Front: Americans Rebuilding Trust And Hope In Nations Under Fire, 2014, by Paul Brinkley.   See my experience below.

II    My “ah ha!” Moment
I had been reading Paul Brinkley’s, War Front To Store Front …., 2014, on and off for several days.  At some point, my jaw dropped open, I laid down the book, and just stared out the window!  “Oh Dear God!”  I waited, as if stunned, for the words to form in my throat to express the earth shattering insight that had, for the first time ever, just flooded into my mind … “Oh my Goodness!  This means we don’t have to have poverty anymore!!  We can be doing this all over the world!  Brinkley did it in Iraq—we can do it in other countries too!  Developing countries no longer need to have poverty!”  

I thought, “Pick a poor country, send in a team as explained by Brinkley, and two million dollars for seed money.  Let them do what they do!  In 3 to 5 years, if proper conditions are met, the once poverty laden country will be a thriving economic unit!”  A big light had gone off in my head that would not go away!  I knew this would be a marked moment for the remainder of my life.  A large part of the human family’s suffering could be relieved.  And I had just glimpsed how it could be done.

I had already read about Muhamad Yunus’ exciting work founding Grameen bank and using peer group pressure and support rather than material collateral to secure loans.  I knew they had a percentage rate of repayment in the high nineties.  They were successfully allowing the very poor to have access to credit—and it was uplifting lives.

I had read Dr. Paul Polak’s work on making profitable businesses work for the poor so they could lift themselves out of the dollar or two a day class and improve their standard of living.  Small plot farmers, who make up 1/3 of the world’s population, were learning sustainable methods that earned them more money.  Polak made a convincing argument that you can’t donate poor people out of poverty.  Entrepreneurial spirit at work in free markets is the way to help the poor get out of poverty!   People will buy affordable equipment and work to earn more money for their families if they can see it will pay off.    

But in my personal experience, it was not until I read what Brinkley did in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006-2013, and wrote about in his book, War Front To Store Front: ……… , that it occurred to me: we really do not have to have poverty!  There actually is a very real way to end it.  We just have to have the will to do it.  Oh my Goodness …. the human family has reason to hope!

In the paragraphs ahead you will be introduced to the “Recipe for Hope” model that builds on Brinkley’s work and offers a way that local business people in poverty ridden countries can select target areas and apply the “Recipe for Hope” model to measurably change the standard of living in the target area.  Then it can be done in other target areas in their country, and finally, the model can be applied throughout the entire country.  

The world really can change and widespread poverty can become a thing of the past.  What is needed is business determination and leadership, political will, and savvy application of established economic principles. By applying the Recipe for Hope model, we can take the human family and go where humanity has never gone before—to a place where widespread poverty does not exist.

III    Goal, end poverty (80%)

The goal is to End Poverty (ultimately ending at least 80% or more of it*) by creating the economic conditions that enable people to have more money to spend and thereby move out of poverty into the working class.  Area leaders, primarily in business but also in activity 3 and 4, come together in an Exploratory Group to learn how the model works.  Then they choose a Target Area in which to promote and apply the model.  They determine the size, shape and general location of the target area.  It will likely be an area they are familiar with and in which they do business or would like to do business as the target area prospers.  Dr. Epps will coach the Exploratory Group in model application until the goal is reached. The four poverty-ending activities of the model are:  

1) Macro activity focuses on investment, job creation, and market analysis/demand creation.
2) Microbusiness activity aims to assist people with entrepreneurial spirit to start microbusinesses.  
3) Sustainable Growing Methods activity focuses on small plot farming and urban gardening.
4) Skills Training activity focuses on building trades, car and motorcycle repair, and computers.

The greater goal is to end poverty in the target area by application of these 4 activities.  The lesser goal is for them to earn a profit as they invigorate the target area’s economy.  They will lead in all steps of model application: the initial survey, the development of Guiding Principles, the goal setting, establishing of the actual activities, and on-going monitoring and overseeing.  They are not just planners—they are doers!  The metrics they establish will let them know when they have reached the goal of ending 80% or more of the poverty that existed in the target area when they did the initial survey.

*(It is nearly impossible to end ALL poverty.  For measuring a number is needed.  A reduction of “80% or more of the existing poverty” is operationally defined in the Recipe for Hope model as “ending poverty.”  Ideally more will be ended, but a reduction of 80% justifies declaring the model valid.)  

IV    The Poor and Geopolitics
1) The poor tend be uneducated.  They often have little stake in current economic-political system because they are not reaping any of its rewards.  They feel they are “outside” of the system.  They may be unaccustomed to critical thinking and objective political analysis.  This makes them prey to, or at least easy to mislead and persuade, by persons of ill intent.  If the system provides them employment and supports their having adequate money and food to live above and beyond poverty, they will be vested in the system and want to preserve it.  They will not be so likely to join those who want to tear down the system.  This alone makes it worthwhile for leaders at all levels in poor countries to give serious thought to ending poverty and promoting success for most of the citizens.

V    Target Area concept
No one can take on the whole world.  No one, not even a small group, can take on an entire country—the task would be overwhelming.  But a motivated small group could change a target area with 350 to 2,000 people living in it.  Business owners can form a local Exploratory Group to put the Recipe for Hope model to work to lift up the standard of living in the target area.  The local Exploratory Group will be comprised of the 3 “Chief Servants”, the leaders of the 4 activities and general members.  This group will set the boundaries for a Target Area that has meaning to them, since they are the business people who will actually be doing the work for the many months ahead.  Within that target area they will apply the model.  Being people of integrity and having business experience, they will find fair ways to make money for themselves as they stimulate economic development in the target area by making investments.   They are not doing this primarily to make profits.  They are doing this to bring a higher standard of living by ending poverty to the people of the target area.  Secondarily, they will make a profit.  The ventures they create uplift the target area and allow the people living there to earn more money and grow more food.  Investments may be initiated by individuals or sub-groups from the Exploratory Group—perhaps even outsiders if approved by the Exploratory Group as helping meet the Group’s goals.  Economic development will financially benefit the residents of the target area and it will benefit the owners and investors who initiated profitable ventures.  

The principles apply to both large and small target areas.  These principles operate regardless of the number of people in the target area—be it 350 people or 5,000.  I want to teach the model in such a way that it becomes clear that it can be duplicated in other places.  

The Exploratory Group will have to both 1) pick and choose what is needed in their target area and 2) prioritize which business projects come first, after the initial survey, which ones come second, and which ones can be done simultaneously.  Perhaps a rural target area will never need a factory or a new bank.  An urban slum Target Area may not have space for large gardens so will use pocket-sized gardens and container gardens in pots hanging on a wall.  The leaders in the Exploratory Group are empowered to decide what culturally acceptable activities will most quickly and efficiently put more money into the hands of the people.  This is always the goal: to have people bring in more money so they can have a standard of living that takes them out of poverty.

VI    The Four Activities

    A)    Here They Are
The Recipe for Hope model to end poverty is comprehensive.  It establishes in one target area at the same time, macro business, microbusiness enterprises, and sustainable farming/growing methods, and training — four powerful approaches to end poverty.  The “top” “middle” and “bottom” of the economic ladder are addressed simultaneously along with relevant job training.

    B)    Macro
1) The Macro activity focuses on jobs, investment, new and expanding markets and of course larger scale production of goods and services in demand by world and local markets.  This is more or less modeled after Paul Brinkley’s approach used in Iraq and Afghanistan—where he was responsible for putting thousands back to work.  Those working in this activity will develop the skills for determining, based on physical and human resources, 1) WHAT is in demand on the world and local market and 2) HOW to produce and deliver products and services in a cost effective manner. 

    C)    Microbusiness
2) The Microbusiness activity focuses on encouraging and assisting people with entrepreneurial skills to start micro businesses.  An example is selling beauty products from a corner of a room or the porch of their house. Others may sell food, clothes, operate a moto taxi, or raise chickens.  There are several at least partially relevant approaches to learn from:  Heifer International, Women Helping Women, Kiva loans, Kickstarter funding, and Grameen Bank.  The approach most encouraged here is the Microepps project in which the funder becomes a partner and coach to the microbusiness owner.

I will continue the micro business/partnering/coaching work in Haiti through Watson Clair Jeune—we’ve refined it and got it to a place where it is workable.  I now invest less money ($150) at first level with new folks, more as they prove their honesty and ability to make a profit, and move up levels through I to VI, increasing by $150 each level.  Profit generating entrepreneurs are encouraged to expand their businesses and are encouraged to use internet crowd funding to expand their operations after they are established.

    D)    Sustainable Farming/Gardening Methods
3) Sustainable Farming/Gardening Methods (Small plot farming and urban gardening) activity  focuses on those with a strong desire to feed their families, and sell any extra harvest, with healthy food at a fraction of the cost of store bought food.  They are willing to learn how to tend plants and small animals.  They want to develop their wealth themselves, by not having to pay others for what most people spend a big portion of their incomes to obtain.  This is true for those in the city and in the country. They learn how to produce food, tend small livestock, and preserve food they produce.  Some may want to build their own small house out of natural materials.  Some actual “Urban Homesteads” exist on a small city lot in a large city and offer a model for what can be done.  Others are the growing food using “Urban Gardening”, on tiny pieces of ground or public property by roadways, etc., overlooked because they are so small. 

Internet searches for “Urban Gardening” yield helpful examples.  Also, go to the blog of Dr. Owen Geiger and use the search function to find “urban gardens” and “urban homesteads” for helpful how-to information.  Initially intense training will be needed for inexperienced people to learn the skills associated with sustainable growing methods to grow and harvest what the earth has to offer.  Less training will be needed for those already working small plot farms.  Sustainable methods (permaculture), in addition to being sustainable, are less work and yield healthier foods (no pesticides) and larger harvests.  They will learn how to increase water supply for crops, spend less time pulling weeds and the how-to’s of water saving and increasing production with highly effective drip irrigation.  Everyone can learn to do this, even if all they have is a roof top or very small plot of ground to plant.

    E)    Skills Training
4) Training for jobs: focuses on setting up training in the building trades, car and motorcycle repair, and computer literacy and mastery.  In order to make money in today’s world, one needs to be able to use a computer.  Also, the world needs more brick and block-layers, plumbers, carpenters, motorcycle mechanics, and electricians—everything in the building trades and mechanical repair that are used in Haiti.  Training in the areas of building trades and in computers will be needed and should be encouraged as jobs for such are available. 

VII    Organize Exploratory Group

Here are the basics of the Recipe for Hope model:  these steps outline the scope and sequence of what they need to do.

1  Conduct survey (demographics, needs, and social and physical resources) from which to develop a relevant action plan.

2  Determine overall purpose(s) [a] and list strategic observations; [b] from there, identify key arenas of action, and then develop specific goals per arena.

3  Identify key Players in accomplishing arena goals.

4  Pair, when needed, experienced out-of-country businessmen with in-country key Players to establish and operate businesses that can sustain themselves and provide jobs.

5  Encourage and assist the paired teams to obtain capital as needed.

Leadership in application of the Recipe for Hope model:  “Chief Servants” is the title given to the 3 people upon whom the implementation of the culture and quality of the economic development model depends.  They must cherish and embody its ideals.  They have the authority of directors, but an attitude of humbly assisting. They encourage, overlook and manage the implementation of the model in their target area.  They guide, advise and consult, even hire and fire when need arises, the leaders of the 4 activities and the general members.


With the guidance of Watson Clair Jeune, the Haiti Supervisor for Microepps, a project starting  micro businesses in Haiti, I hope to make connections with business owners/leaders, other microbusiness leaders, farm and garden leaders, computer leaders, car and motorcycle repair leaders, and building trades leaders.  I want them to be seriously dedicated to ending poverty.  I want to meet with those who share an interest in the type of projects I am funding and coaching in Haiti but would like to see macro level economic development too—larger businesses that offer more jobs for the people.

I want them to make up the membership of the Exploratory Group.  I will be teaching/coaching the members of that group in the practical application of the Recipe for Hope model in a target area.   I want to have at least one experienced person in the Exploratory Group from each of these areas: microbusiness, small business, large businesses, the building trades, sustainable farming/gardening, car and motorcycle repair, and computers. Experience in the business operations aspect of their field as well as hands on experience is vital.  I will be working with this group for a long time.  With group discussion, I will try and appoint the 3 Chief Servants that I feel I can work well with and who can work well with the other members too.  Experienced people with strong reputations for honesty, hard work, ability to work well with others and the ability to get things done are ideal for membership in the Exploratory Group.  These leaders must have influence in the community since it will be they who either succeed or fail in applying the Recipe for Hope model in the target area.