There is a Professor at Wharton that has worked with the West Philadelphia community to develop a Financial Literacy Community Project. I went to the introductory meeting at a community center in West Philadelphia and the turn out was very large. The community seemed very eager to take part in the classes and wanted to bring along friends and family from other neighborhoods in Philadelphia who they think could benefit. The courses begin on the 28th and will run for 6 consecutive Saturdays. I'm happy to share the progress of how it goes for those that are interested. The professor would love to share his curriculum with other cities and communities.
I visited fairtrade coffee farmers in Caldas in 2008. It was surreal to see many coffee farmers literally carrying beans in a bag on their backs walking miles on bad roads to the nearest seller. Fairtrade had a positive component because it not only paid premiums that helped communities, particularly enabling more students to attend school, it also had environmental requirements in terms of water conservation and chemicals used. Such requirements created more opportunities. One example was a group of farmers I met who told me that as they were dumping less pesticides into the water, more fish were coming creating another industry for them to make money in addition to farming. Others that had livestock were trained on how to turn pig manure into methane power which created drastic savings on energy costs for households. A challenge faced during that time was currency fluctuation. From my observations, I think it is important for communities to have multiple avenues of revenues and not rely entirely on income from exports to avoid being hit so hard and balance out hits from times of difficulties such as droughts and currency fluctuations.
I do agree with Ogo's point below on how more programs should be targeted towards women. A great example of that was many of the methane power stations were run and managed by women. It allowed them to spend more time at home and less time having to do remedial jobs such as weeding and walking on fields of large land owners. I'd love to hear other examples of creating income generation opportunities in such communities that otherwise didn't exist or an environmental innovation or practice that ended up creating jobs as well.