Caroline Condon: Farmers in Mali, Manufacturing in China, and Other Tales from an Engineer in Social Benefit

What do you work on?

The company that I work for sells seeds and fertilizer to smallholder farmers.

What’s an example of a tool in your portfolio?

One of the tools is a planting machine, it’s called a “semoir”, which means “thing that plants” in French.

How does the pricing work for a social benefit product?

We’re selling them at cost, at about $300 USD, to a population whose income is $1–1.50 per day. I would say that this product’s customer is the richer set of our clients– who are still, on a global scale, poor.

What’s an interesting project you worked on?

They sent me on a trip to China, to do the quality control visit at the factory. Our goal was to get a better idea of what parts are expensive, so that we could design them out.

How did you start working in social benefit?

Right after graduation, I moved to Ghana with the Canadian Engineers Without Borders.

Why did you move to Mali?

I was not doing technical work, because I have no computer background. I decided I didn’t want to be away from engineering for so long. I was looking online, on Idealist.

Can you tell me about living in Mali?

Living here feels ordinary, at this point.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Kelsey Breseman

Kelsey Breseman

An adventurer, woodland creature, and engineer. Currently working on data ownership models, environmental accountability, and intentional community.