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    Entries in annual meeting (2)


    Proximity's got Talent

    These past two weeks were busy ones at Proximity. Nearly 400 staff traveled from all corners of Myanmar to gather in Yangon for our Annual Meeting. It’s a key time of reflection for our organization, during which we leverage our collective viewpoints and the individual, localized knowledge of each of our field staff members to strategize for the coming year. The intense days of discussion and training were followed by three days of bonding, as all of us piled into eight buses to spend the weekend in scenic Bagan.

    We battled monkeys in Mt. Popa, learned the value of iterating in design by balancing marshmallows on spaghetti, competed against each other in relay races, and visited many a historic pagoda. Proximity’s annual talent show saw the return of several classic acts including the sweet tunes of Ma Moe Moe Kaing and the cross-dressing prowess of Ko Kyaw Zeya, as well as a performance by a promising Proximity Bhangra Troupe. All of the teams were encouraged to join the talent show, and several even created clever skits to explain the ins and outs of their work to the rest of the staff. Not to mention, all of the staff joined in on the latest interation of Proximity's product and services dance. Picture 400 people doing the 'water basket' dance move in unison; now that's some serious talent right there!


    A Year In Retrospect


     Proximity employees gather at Sayar San Plaza

    Our 440+ nationwide employees got onboard boats, buses, cars, motorbikes, and even ox-carts to reach Yangon for Proximity’s annual meeting. The three-day get-together is crucial to the life of our organization, because we gather to share our collective social impact on Myanmar, as well as to get an overall, company-wide picture of the previous year. It’s a key opportunity for every single member of our organization to share the deep, local insights that collectively build our thorough understanding of rural Myanmar customers.

    We’re committed to having an impact on a wide scale in rural Myanmar, and to that end we’re constantly measuring how we’re doing. The annual meeting is all about accountability, and while we’re accountable to our customers and to our donors, these three days in Yangon help hold us accountable to each other.

    So, how are we doing? Several initiatives reported optimistic results. For instance, Proximity Finance provided loans to 33,000 farmers in the past year, a number that has more than tripled since 2011. We’ve also sold 24,000 irrigation products to smallholder farmers this past year, and our earned revenue is more than 50% of our annual budget. In addition to noting these accomplishments, we also held candid discussions about areas to improve on, including the proper way to handle returned products. Overall, we’re proud to report that our activities in 180 townships helped us impact roughly 95,000 households in the past year. For more details, take a look at our latest quarterly report


    Looking to the future, Proximity Co-Founder Jim Taylor stressed the need for agility. With Myanmar’s new openness, the question we’re asking ourselves is: How do we focus on key opportunities  to contribute to this country’s future? We realize that when we talk about increasing farm productivity we also need to help farmers adapt to climate change and access much needed farm financing, and to this end we’re expanding our Proximity Finance operations and developing a new breakthrough irrigation product.

    The three intense days of data compiling and open dialogue help ground us, all 440+ of us, within the greater mission we’re working to achieve. After three days of data-gathering and knowledge sharing in Yangon, it was off to Chaung Thar beach for Proximity’s annual retreat!