Looking Backward to Move Forward: How introducing 6,000 year-old farming practices (and overcoming extremely difficult challenges to do so) is revolutionizing Congo’s ability to feed its people…one village at a time.



As we heard in Episode 2 (Sabuli’s Story) Congo is a country rich in natural resources, from rubber and copper to healthy soil and abundant forests. Unfortunately its geographic location positioned it squarely along the route that was used for the very lucrative African slave trade, and for almost two centuries, the nation has been torn apart by conflict, civil war, and poverty.

Despite an abundance of natural resources and conditions that are ideal for farming, the people of the Congo are unable to take full advantage of those resources. Many people live their lives in hunger, and thousands of Congolese children are orphaned and in need of care, shelter and education.

By Looking Back, Finding a Way Forward

Episode Three of the Commerce of Caring will tell the story of how RetailROI, in partnership with organizations on the ground in Congo, is making a difference in this extremely challenging part of the world by bringing in oxen to “modernize” their farming practices. While for most Western countries, the notion of bringing oxen to farming is a solution from centuries ago, for the people of the Congo, these beasts of burden can revolutionize their ability to feed their families – and produce enough of a surplus to feed others.

In this episode we’ll hear the challenges and victories on the way to self-sustainability.  We'll hear the passion of Jeff Roster of the IHL Group as he works with CongoVoice to help spearhead the Congo Animal Traction Initiative (CATI).  We’ll hear how surprisingly difficult it can be for these initiatives to take hold. Between Mother Nature, challenging terrain, and the need to keep people from “eating the tractor,” it is a constant struggle to achieve traction.

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Results

As with all Commerce of Caring podcasts, these uplifting stories are told first hand by ordinary people whose simple contributions are achieving extraordinary results. They are stories of how lives in peril are being changed for the better the people of retail come together, lean in, and do good work.


Jeff Roster,  IHL Group

Jeff Roster, IHL Group

Yola, Gemena Community Leader

Yola, Gemena Community Leader

Diane Cerulli,  Aptos

Diane Cerulli, Aptos


Episode Extras