Rose Goslinga describes her work as “insuring the rain.” Raised in Tanzania, Goslinga was working for the Rwandan Ministry of Agriculture in 2008 when the minister had a bold idea: could they offer insurance to small farmers to protect them in case rain didn’t come when needed? Goslinga ran with the idea. Under the Syngenta Foundation’s Kilimo Salama program, which is Swahili for “safe farming,” the thought became a reality. Last year, through its local insurance partners, it insured 185,000 farmers in Kenya and Rwanda against drought, and was recently spun into a company called ACRE.
Think of microinsurance the way you think of microloans. The average farmer insured in this way has a half-acre farm and pays just two Euros as an annual premium. Rather than using farm visits to determine damages, cloud data determines when payouts are due to farmers. Building this program has taken the Syngenta Foundation six years and has greatly tested their aptitude for creative problem-solving, from figuring out how to get farmers to trust insurance companies to creating technological solutions to help map which farmers are using the product.