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 believes there is no good reason for widespread poverty existing in the world—no reason for having a large percentage of a country be extremely poor. All that is lacking is political will to change this. Author suggests a good way to start is for anyone who wants to make the world a better place, to select a specific “Target Area.”

In that target area, any interested person, using the FREE training syllabus, can conduct the 6 week ends of Entrepreneur Training and have students who complete the Training successfully, go to work in the target area—or even in some other place if that is what makes the most sense in that person’s situation. They apply what they have learned, under the helpful eyes of their local business coaches, the young entrepreneur plans and initiates a new businesses.

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 can bring investment, jobs, money, spin-off businesses, decreased hunger, and general opportunity to residents. This will measurably raise the per capita income and Gross Target Area Product. The target area is selected and defined (keep it manageable and measurable) by whomever decides to use the training syllabus to conduct the training. They will pick an area that has some appeal, some personal draw, for them.    


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

Poverty in third world countries is generational, socially expected, and wide spread. It is seen by many as a necessary and fixed condition of life there.

How, dear reader, could anyone start to change that? By an interested person asking “Field Agents”—people who know the community well (such as school teachers, business people, lawyers, bankers. etc.—to suggest names of people from poverty areas who have that “special spark” of insight, enthusiasm, and determination, who could become entrepreneurs if given the chance. Then that interested person would select a very small area (maybe as little as 200 to 600 people) in which to target their efforts. They would interview the candidates recommended by the Field Agents, and select the ones about 24 to begin the Entrepreneurial Training. They would conduct the 6 week ends of training using the training syllabus prepared by Dr. Epps (ph. D).

After training, and with the help of local business coaches, the trainees would set to work to see what that area needed and start a, very little at first, for-profit business to fill that need. Perhaps several tiny businesses will be started. Micro investments would come from the interested person who conducted the training or from another source they develop. Initial investments typically are from $200 to $600 USA dollars. When success is demonstrated, larger investments can be made. If workers are needed, they would use 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 providing some jobs for locals. It would increase the number of jobs and that in turn would increase money available to spend. It is also about teaching families in the target 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. Perhaps demand can be created in markets beyond the boundaries of the target area. Essentially, discover where there is a need, make products and services to fill those needs 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, home 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 with experience is needed to obtain 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 one 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 idea 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 three 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 Dr. 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 also 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. Dr. Polak made a convincing argument that you can not donate poor people out of poverty. Entrepreneurial spirit at work in free markets is the way to help the poor get out of poverty! Poor people will buy affordable equipment. They will work to earn more money for their families if they can see that it will pay off for them.

But in my personal experience, it was not until I read what Mr. Paul 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 two models for poverty reduction. One model is 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 an entire country. The second model is now my favorite one. ENTRPRENEUR DISCOVERY PROGRAM. It goes to poor people directly and teaches them in a 6 week end training program how to become an entrepreneur. Then it makes small investments in them to get them started.

The world really can change and widespread generational and socially accepted poverty can become a thing of the past. What is needed is compassionate 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.

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 the participating business owners to earn a profit as they invigorate the target area’s economy. 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

The poor tend be uneducated.  They often have little stake in the 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 be misled and persuaded by persons of ill intent.  If the system provides them employment and supports 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    The Four Activities


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

1) Macro

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.

2) Microbusiness

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. And there is the Dr. Epps’ Entrepreneur Discovery Program which is the focus of this article.

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.

3) Sustainable Farming/Gardening Methods

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. They will learn the importance of healthy soil or mulch for growing abundant harvests. Everyone can learn to do this, even if all they have is a roof top or very small plot of ground to plant.

4) Skills Training

Training for jobs: focuses on setting up training in the building trades, car and motorcycle repair, and computer literacy and mastery and even repair. 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 third world countries. Training in the areas of building trades and in computers will be needed and should be encouraged as jobs for such are available. The needs will vary from one area to another.

These are some ways, dear reader, in which the dream can become the reality. If it calls to you, please respond.