iDE Global


In 2010, iDE began working in Ghana to enable farmers’ access to improved irrigation techniques that allow for farming in the dry season, leading to increased incomes and food security. Today, iDE is also increasing access to sanitation and handwashing.

Why we’re here—

In 1957, Ghana was the first Sub-Saharan African country to gain independence, boasting of great statesmen from Kwame Nkrumah to Kofi Annan. It is a multilingual country with 70 ethnic groups, each with its own distinct language. Of an estimated population of 25 million, 72 percent are considered to be subsistence farmers, with an average income of $1.25 per day. Moreover, 87 percent do not own a toilet. In northern Ghana, residents are confronted with the harsh, dry conditions found along the Sahel region across West Africa.

Mom-tested, Kid-approved

Over the last 3 years, we've discovered some insights about developing the supply and demand of orange-fleshed sweet potato in northern Ghana. Children seem to like the sweet taste, even though it’s relatively new to the Ghanaian diet. This is really good news. Because this vegetable provides vitamin A in large doses, and 40% of children in Ghana are stunted due to lack of nutrition. Smallholder farmers like how the vine thrives in the harsh climate. It has a short shelf life, however, which means it’s critical that farmers have access to a ready market.

3 2 Ghana Gallery Pc

What we do—

Created with sketchtool.

Resilient Market Ecosystems

For developing world entrepreneurs to succeed they must participate in market ecosystems that are economically competitive, inclusive of all people, and resilient to shocks such as conflict or changing climates. By listening to every stakeholder—producers, suppliers, retailers and customers—we can overcome critical bottlenecks and develop lasting solutions. 

Learn more about iDE’s approach to resilient market ecosystems.

Watering can vs. drip irrigation

Experimenting with resource-smart technology in Ghana

The use of demonstration plots helps convince skeptical farmers that agricultural technology, like drip irrigation, can make a difference in crop yields and boost their incomes.

Read more: iDE helps reduce risk and uncertainty by demonstrating new technology

How We Do It —


iDE increases small-scale farmers’ incomes by using a market-based approach to promote manual well-drilling and household irrigation technologies. iDE collaborates with the Ethiopian government to connect farmers to agricultural extension services, technical support, and improved seed varieties. Additionally, iDE supports and encourages farmers to diversify into high-value commercial crops, livestock products, and other high-value agricultural commodities such as honey. These activities are changing Ethiopian farmers’ perception of farming, in that they begin viewing and practicing farming as a business, rather than as a way of life.

Learn more about iDE's commitment to Agriculture.


iDE seeks to improve health outcomes by providing access to safe drinking water through low-cost and affordable household water technologies and by promoting rural sanitation through iDE’s sanitation marketing approach. In both cases, iDE encourages the adoption of improved products and practices among the rural poor, while simultaneously creating both profitable and sustainable enterprises. iDE also trains sales agents to sell to rural consumers directly. These agents receive a commission on their sales, ensuring the sustainability of the model.

Learn more about iDE's commitment to WASH.

Resilience to Climate Change

Shortened, inconsistent rainfall over the last several growing seasons in northern Ghana has reinforced the need for communities to effectively collect, store, and manage their water sources to be able to persevere throughout the nine-month dry season.

iDE helps people in rural areas build their resilience to climate extremes like floods and drought through the use of climate-smart agricultural technologies and practices.

Learn more about iDE’s commitment to Smart Technologies.

Gender Equity

In rural areas in particular, women are five times less likely than men to have paid employment. However, 40 percent of the vegetable farmers in Ghana are female, and have little access to resources to improve their production.

By focusing on women as customers and entrepreneurs, iDE strengthens their participation in rural value chains and increases their access to technology, know-how, finance, and markets.

Learn more about iDE’s commitment to Gender Equity.


Three-fourths of the Ghanaian diet is starch, which meets energy requirements, but lacks essential vitamins. Anemia affects more than 75 percent of young children and almost 50 percent of women of childbearing age. And an estimated 40% of children are stunted in growth due to a lack of appropriate nutrition.

By promoting high-value, nutritious crops, such as orange fleshed sweet potatoes, iDE empowers farmers to earn more income and provide their families and communities with a more varied diet, fueling them with the energy and mental ability they need to be successful. iDE also improves access to safe water and sanitation, keeping people healthy and able to absorb the nutrients gained from an improved diet.

Learn more about iDE’s commitment to Nutrition.

A fortunate son

ENTREPRENEUR PROFILE: Improved toilets provide safety, dignity, and privacy in Ghana

The migration of young people from small villages and farms to the city opens up additional options for improving the lives of those who remain behind. Making improved toilets affordable can spur increasing sanitation coverage by marketing to this newly affluent group.

Read more: ENTREPRENEUR PROFILE: How young urban professionals are investing in improved toilets to honor their parents

Diving in deep

Gathering insights on sanitation from rural Ghana

Part of iDE's Human-Centered Design process is called a Deep Dive, wherein team members gather insights from stakeholders on their current behaviors, needs, and opportunities.

Read more: Using interviews from the field to inform direction and design

iDE in Ghana

House No. 204, Jisonaayili Street
Tamale, Northern Region, Ghana

Our partners—

  • Antenna Foundation
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Global Affairs Canada
  • Jain
  • Manitoba Council for International Cooperation
  • Netafim
  • Swedish International Development Agency
  • United States Agency for International Development