Proximity Designs is an award-winning, social enterprise based in Yangon, Myanmar.

Founded by Jim Taylor and Debbie Aung Din Taylor in 2004, they design, manufacture, and deliver affordable, income-boosting products and services that complement the entrepreneurial spirit of rural farming families. Despite an extremely challenging political environment, the Taylor’s created an organization that has become the model for NGOs around the globe.

Proximity is not a charity and they don’t believe that simply giving things to people is the most effective way of helping people. Having empathy, respect, and empowering people creates the most long lasting impact.  

For Proximity, to effectively help people (and in this case rural farmers in Myanmar) requires user-centric design guided by empathy, not sympathy. Using a method called “design for extreme affordability”, Proximity is able to sell their products to their users. This creates a relationship with them as customers, not as recipients of charity.  A two-way long term relationship based on trust, equality, and respect.

Paramount to Proximity’s mission is being close to the people they are helping.

The name Proximity comes from the importancethey place in being headquartered in the same country as their customers—not in a city half way around the world (or even a quarter way around) where the staff would be far removed from the their customer’s daily lives. And though their main office is in the former capital city of Yangon, Proximity has satellite offices and staff throughout the entire country servicing all the states and ethnic groups that make up Myanmar.