Skoll Foundation


Proximity Designs

Skoll Entrepreneur(s): Debbie Aung Din and Jim Taylor
Award Year: 2012
Focus Area(s) Addressed: Smallholder Productivity and Food Security

(Click here to print)

Proximity Designs uses a design-centric approach identifying high-impact opportunities to boost agricultural productivity and increase income for millions of smallholder farm families. The pioneering on-the-ground enterprise in Myanmar (Burma) designs, builds, and markets affordable products and services that vulnerable rural families use to transform their lives: they design with empathy. Proximity will grow its work in irrigation products, farm advisory services and product financing as well as expand into rural energy products.


  • More than 100,000 income-boosting products and services have been sold, changing the lives of 486,500 people.
  • In 2012, they had the most successful quarter to date, with the highest irrigation product sales in its 8-year history, expanding policy advocacy work in response to new openings at the highest levels of government, and entry into Myanmar’s underserved energy market with solar lighting products.
  • 102,418 rural households now have increased income of $276 million.
  • 8,838 solar lights have been sold.
  • Rice yield size has increased by 10 to 15 percent.
  • 486,500 people have been directly impacted.
  • Proximity has produced and distributed 13 papers on national economic policy. One, a report with Harvard scholars in January 2012, was called, “Appraising the Post-Sanctions Prospects for Myanmar’s Economy: Choosing the Right Path.”
  • Proximity has given 114,565 loans for either crops or products.
  • 546 village infrastructure projects have been completed.
  • 34,673 families are receiving income from cash-for-work projects annually.
  • Proximity reaches 80 percent of the country’s rural population. That’s more than 10,000 villages.



© 2015 Skoll Foundation.