The farip Foundation, based in Bern, is active in Tanzania. We “invest” in African innovations, but not by simply “supporting” them. In an initial phase, the foundation grants ‘à-fonds-perdu’ contributions to future companies. farip only invests in ideas that have not yet been tried in a comparable environment in the area of operation. As soon as it is clear in detail what impact a new company could have on poverty reduction, social development, the environment, the economy and income generation in the villages, farip invests in the first concrete steps of the project.
Peter Reinhard, Head of the Foundation Board
Peter is a Swiss agronomist with over 30 years’ experience as a team manager and project leader in adult education and organisational development in the field of agricultural extension, in Switzerland and abroad. He started his career as a project leader in Chad and Rwanda, and was later a member of the executive board of AGRIDEA, the Swiss Centre for Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, where he led the department “Rural Development, Market and International Activities”. In this position he had the privilege to work both in the Swiss and international agricultural extension system. This allowed him to look at the strengths, weaknesses and new ideas of both systems, to optimize concepts and methods for various situations and accompany the project implementation. Since his retirement in 2013 he continues to work as a senior expert on different projects. Peter is one of the founders of farip and the first Chairman of its Board. During his work in Switzerland and abroad Peter met many farm families with interesting ideas on how to develop their enterprise and/or their village but encountering great difficulties to implement them. farip offers an opportunity for entrepreneurial African families and groups to really get their business going.
Barbara Müller, Member of the Foundation Board
Barbara Müller, an ethnologist, looks back on many years of professional and voluntary commitment to Africa, dating back to the 1970s and the liberation struggles in southern Africa. From 1990 until her retirement in 2015, she was the managing director of fepa, a development organisation based in Basel, where she lives. Fepa supports local grassroots organisations in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Since her retirement, she has been involved with several non-profit organisations working for the benefit of Africa. Barbara is a founding member of farip and supports its objectives with conviction. During her professional career, she encountered numerous examples of local small and micro entrepreneurs with clever business ideas that failed due to lack of funding. She is convinced that supporting young entrepreneurs in turning their ideas into viable business plans is a key factor for Africa’s development. By working for farip, she would like to contribute to closing this gap.
Ueli Scheuermeier, Executive Director (CEO)
Ueli Scheuermeier has over 35 years of experience as an agronomist in Asia and Africa in agricultural extension, adult education, development theory and especially in participatory action research. His passion is to organise and facilitate learning in difficult situations where, due to complexity, there can be no “experts” and where learning therefore depends on participant exchange. Ueli’s work in East Africa made him increasingly interested in commercial solutions as a sustainability strategy. This led him to develop an entrepreneurial attitude towards poor rural people, to which they responded very well. He is fascinated by innovative ideas, especially among people who rarely have the means to launch a sustainable business. Ueli sees the use of this huge potential as a groundbreaking opportunity for Africa. For him, farip is the pioneering organisation that develops new approaches with African actors and implements them concretely in order to learn continuously.
Ueli Moser, Member of the Foundation Board
Ueli lives with his family in Berne. As an engineer he runs his own company specialized in planning clean rooms and laboratories. For more than 40 years he has been worried about the disparities of access to resources. Travels in the southern hemisphere introduced him the local structures in which the majority of people struggle every day to secure their food. His strong interest in development issues is reflected in his own living and working environment. Ueli is convinced that only equitable fair trade between the north and the south can safeguard a balanced future for this earth. Conventional development efforts often have limited impact because they aren’t well rooted locally and the beneficiaries aren’t treated as equal partners who can take on responsibility. Ueli believes that the farip approach will improve the livelihoods in poor rural areas: Successful projects that rural people themselves develop and implement by applying their own ideas motivate them to engage actively in improving local conditions.
Martin Muheim, Communications and Fundraising
Martin Muheim has been in charge of communications and fundraising on a part-time basis since 2018. For the social scientist and journalist, unequal development worldwide and development policy have always been important topics. He was a project coordinator for Swissaid in Nicaragua for several years and later worked on the use of IT to give producers in rural East Africa better access to information, markets and credit. He was the owner of the IT company IDESO AG, then held a management position with an IT company and is now runs as Muheim IT Business Consulting as well as working part-time as an ICT project manager.