Blogs tagged as #BAD2014

  • Towards Inclusive Urban Development in Bangladesh

    October 16th, 2014

    Do we think that ‘Urban Poor’ is an entity in contrast to simply poor or rural poor?

    The study of urban poverty was started by Oscar Lewis, a famous humanitarian social scientist who is reputed for his noble work ‘Culture of Poverty’. In the early sixties Oscar Lewis conducted an ethnographic study ‘Five brothers of Sanchez”  of a family in Mexico city. He showed how a group of people lead  stereotypical lives which do not take them forward but rather pull them backwards. This pattern of life happens when a community passes a long time in deprivation particularly in economic deprivation what he branded as ‘Poverty of culture”.Children from Faridpur

    The populations of developing countries particularly in Asian and African regions are mostly rural, therefore when images of poor and impoverished people come forward in development literature these are most commonly shown.  Economy, livelihood, housing, diseases and medication and festivals should be different between rural and urban communities.

    Bangladesh has thousands of years of urban civilization but still urbanization has reached only 50% of the total population.  After Independence in 1971, the city became a major destination of literate and semi-literate people so rural to urban migration was a major component of urban growth.

    Bangladesh is one of the fastest urbanizing countries in the world.  Urban growth is estimated at 6% each year while national population growth rate is 2.2 %.   Currently about 30% people live in urban areas, mostly concentrated in four metropolitan cities. A  World Bank study shows that each year between 300,000 and 400,000 people migrate from rural to urban areas where they are mainly poor.  As well as this migration the birth rate in the town has increased along with the urban population.  However poverty is higher in rural areas than urban areas but the poverty reduction rate is slower in urban areas as there is a lack of policy priority to address urban poverty.

    Neglecting Urban People

    Development history shows that urban populations have been deprived of development attention for a long time as policy makers do not understand that growth in urban centres is linked with national growth and economic development.    However the rate of natural growth is declining significantly (2.2%) but as redefinition of urban area includes many Pourshava and township therefore natural growth of indigenous people is also a cause of urban growth.

    Many small townships which had municipality status during the British colonial period had a central water supply system, waste  management and sewerage system.  Dalits or harijans, a caste of the urban indigenous community, were employed to dispose of human excreta, collect kitchen waste and clear sewerage pipes.  

    Urban civilization is old in Bangladesh but its development could not keep pace with cities in western developed societies. After the second world war the United Nations and World Bank concentrated their development investment into rural areas, because most of the people, and the country’s GDP came from the primary economy from rural areas.

    We are aware that some development theories like Modernization theories and Rostow’s Five stages of development theory were wrong as they thought that development in some areas would trickle down development to the rest, but that did not happen and the majority of people in underdeveloped countries have had same living standard as in the past . On the other hand in the same country there were a few people who were fortunate to catch those development bundles as they were close to epi centre of development.    In the early 1990s we saw some conceptual  progress in the urban epistemology like Healthy Cities, Safer Cities and Liveable city yet they are narrowed to include human development aspect to more attention to its inhabitants along with infrastructure. After Rio Di Sustainable Development Summit and UN habitat policy makers of developing countries were able to take into account urbanization as policy priority.

    Inclusive urban development and Bangladesh

    Currently there are about 17 programs for urban development classified as assistance for poverty reduction, infrastructure development, private sector development and water and sanitation improvement. The projects Urban Partnerships for Poverty Reduction (UPPR), Sanitation, Hygiene, Education & Water ( SHEWAB) and BRAC WASH cover 6.5 million people. Practical Action Bangladesh has been working with urban poor communities in Bangladesh with some development techniques such as Participatory Planning and Urban Governance. Some successful lessons were learnt in the implementation of phase one of the Integrated Urban Development project in small towns of Bangladesh.

    A major challenges of our development initiatives is to incorporate participants in the identification, planning and implementing  of the development process. The Community Action Plan is one of the instruments which has been successful in including the urban poor in slum development and better addressing their real needs, especially those of  Dalits, a  caste who are excluded socially and economically from the development process.

    Practical Action Integrating Urban Development Phase 2 (IUD 2) plans to empower the urban poor through participatory budgeting in the municipality. If the national policy is changed to take into account the two issues of IUD 2 then its bottom –up approach of taking the Community Action Plan to the Annual Development Program of municipalities would be able to implement poor people’s needs which are  reflected in their micro level Community Action Plan, now rarely implemented due to financial constraints. This will be a big step towards more inclusive urban development.

    1 Comment » | Add your comment
  • The Firestone Ebola Answer?

    October 16th, 2014

    Yesterday the UN Security Council was told that Ebola was ‘winning the race’ and if not stopped, the world would ‘face an entirely unprecedented situation for which we do not have a plan’.

    4,447 people have died so far (many think that’s a cautious estimate), there are estimates of up to 20,000 infected.  The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says ‘infections could reach 1.4 million in 4 months’.   And as we’ve all heard on the news most of those affected so far are families who care for people who are ill, and health workers.

    Ebola is terrible and scary.

    The rampant spread of Ebola is at least in part about poverty.

    Take Liberia for example one of the countries most affected. Average per capita income is less than $500 a year, the literacy rates about 60% and its health system has been shattered through years of conflict.  The disease is spreading because the resources to contain it haven’t existed.

    By contrast the company Firestone, operating in Liberia, claim to have ‘stopped Ebola in its tracks’.  Encountering their first patient on their rubber plantation they looked for the protective suits used when treating chemical spills and quarantined the woman’s family. No one else was infected. As Ebola spread into neighbouring towns they created an isolation ward and quarantine centres.  They now report that, having placed hundreds of people with possible exposure under quarantine and treated others, only three patients remain – all of them children.

    Why am I writing about this and what’s it got to do with Practical Action?

    Firstly we have recently opened an office in West Africa and are just starting work there so it feels very immediate, very close to our work. Secondly I’ve been asked by my colleague Amanda Ross to write a blog linked to inequality – and this for me seems a prime example. In Liberia where you can see how resources can help contain – not do away with it all together – the outbreak. If only something similar to the Firestone approach could have been put into action quickly and across the areas affected. But also amongst the Western workers who have become infected through their work and who are often flown home to the best treatment and experimental drug treatments.

    Our world is a very inequitable place.

    Secondly we at Practical Action have a passion for Technology Justice. The race to find a vaccine or drug treatment I hope is a great example of companies responding to global need.

    8743Western victims have been treated with new drugs such as brincidofovir made by a small pharmaceutical company Chimeric. Other companies are looking at potential treatments.  Johnson and Johnson and GSK are both working on vaccines. The legal/testing processes for getting a drug or vaccine to market have been hugely speeded up because of the emergency – maybe worrying but probably vital (one US news report said that we should all be worried because the vaccines all had bits of Ebola in them! Personally I thought that was where Edward Jenner started?).

    But before I get carried away with my idea of a corporate world moved to treat the plight of people suffering (and I still believe that) I read a report on the share prices of the companies involved – seemingly the price of shares in potential Ebola drug companies are buoyant while those of people working on vaccines are a little more depressed – as companies developing cures as opposed to vaccines ‘may see more widespread use’ of their product.

    Poverty makes people vulnerable to disease, to disaster, to economic shocks.  The story of Ebola to date, is an illustration of inequality at its worst.

    No Comments » | Add your comment
  • What do we mean by justice?

    We believe in technology justice! our home page proudly proclaims.

    We know what we mean by technology (physical infrastructure, machinery and equipment, knowledge and skills and the capacity to organise and use all of these). But, what do we mean by justice?

    A quick google search unveils various overlapping perspectives on the concept of justice from different fields. But a common thread runs through them all : fairness and equity.

    As social justice seeks fairness and equity in distribution of wealth, opportunities and privileges within a society, technology justice seeks fairness and equity in the distribution of technology. But more than that, it seeks fairness in distribution of both the benefits and costs of technology.

    We can give thousands of examples where technology has transformed lives.  Yet, billions of people remain excluded from these benefits. One in six people on the planet still have no access to electricity, at all, while the Midlands (where you can find Practical Action’s UK office) shines brightly among the most light polluted areas on the globe.


    Source: Image and data processing by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Geophysical Data Center. Data collected by the U.S. Air Force Weather Agency under the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, 1994-1995

    It’s easy then to see there is not equity in who can access the benefits of technology. Neither is there fairness in who shoulders the costs of technology use.  In the Midlands, one cost of our (over)use of the ON switch is obvious: we can rarely now see the milky way at night. But we are also forcing the costs on those who have never once flipped on a light switch.  By emitting more than our fair share of carbon, we are contributing more than our fair share to climate change. But the costs and impacts of climate change are disproportionately felt in the developing world.  That is neither fair nor equitable, but unfair, inequitable, an inequality AND a technology injustice.


    No Comments » | Add your comment
  • Gender, Water Access and Use

    October 16th, 2014

    Water is a need to all and has no substitute!

    More often than not there is confusion between gender equity and gender equality. Equity relates to the just and fair distribution of resources between women, men, girls and boys, whilst equality means the state of being equal in terms of enjoyment of rights, treatment, quantity or value, access to opportunities and outcomes including resources.

    With the rate at which urbanisation is occurring some people are observed to suffer than others hence inequality. Despite the fact that it is an urban community, some settlements present a health time bomb as they sprout without being serviced (water pipes and sewer pipes not yet connected to the site) as such they have great potential for disease outbreak and disaster. The sad part is that such settlers have no-where to resort to other than nearby streams which are highly risky and contaminated. They and can only sigh for relief when organisations such as Practical Action receive funding and come to chip in with assistance.

    Water access brings with it social, technical and economic repercussions. For ladies, menstrual hygiene, maternal and post natal care, household chores such as laundry, dishwashing are common and critical uses which require plenty of clean and safe water. Vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, the sick, under- fives as well as the disabled equally need a substantial amount of water. Boys and girls need water from as early as childhood for drinking, preparing food, bathing and washing. Gentlemen need water to address economic challenges in industry where they are involved in productive activities such as gardening, either large scale in irrigations or small gardens behind the house, construction and manufacturing. Water is needed to maintain environmental aesthetic conditions through green lawn, trees and blooming flowers. As such the whole society needs water in-order to function well.

    Whilst access to water is paramount in manufacturing, transport, education ,mining and textile industries, its management, use and disposal goes a long way in maintaining a sustainable society and ecosystem.  Practical Action Southern Africa through working with communities attempts to address the management of domestic water and its discharge.  How water users manage and disposal of liquid waste, contributes in determining access to safe drinking water which is a cause for concern especially in urban areas. The woman is most affected as she is responsible for household chores and is expected to fetch the water from far and near places. All the family needs is safe water and a ready meal at the end of the day. Practical Action is implementing a project that promotes participation of community members in discussing factors that influence access to water, its use as well as its disposal, thus ensuring sustainable management of the resource. Dialogue between the service providers and clients will empower urban communities in contributing to improvement access and use of the precious resource.

    1 Comment » | Add your comment
  • It’s not fair!

    October 16th, 2014

    Do you remember how angry you felt as a child at any small injustice?  ‘ It’s not fair!’ is a constant refrain of children.  I had a teacher who used to reply to this ‘Whoever said life was fair?’ This used to make me even crosser.

    I believe that it’s important that we point out injustice wherever we see it and take a stand to try to change what is wrong in the world.

    So here are five of the things that are not fair and still make me angry today:

    1. 1.3 million people lack any form of electricity
    2. 2.7 billion people still cook over open fires and 4 million die each year as a result of indoor smoke
    3. 1 billion people lack access to clean water and 3.5 million people die every year from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation 
    4. Half a billion people (7% of the world) are responsible for 50% of global CO2: the poorest 50% emit only 7% of worldwide emissions
    5. Women do two-thirds of the world’s work, receive 10% of the world’s income and own only 1% of the means of production

    I could go on…I work for Practical Action because we believe in addressing injustice.  These images show some of the ways in which we are tackling these inequalities.

    No Comments » | Add your comment
  • English football: setting the standard for protected interests and sustained inequality

    October 16th, 2014

    A warning: below is a rant. It follows years of getting irrationally cross about football. Please bear with me, there is a serious point about how destructive unchecked inequality is somewhere below…

    football inequality 3

    When I was a lad (admittedly, a fair few years ago), there were around thirty clubs in the UK who could realistically win the League Championship. Even more could dream that streaky luck, poor pitches and a brutal approach to dealing with more skilful opposition would result in them lifting the FA Cup.

    Even my team, the eternally-hopeless Coventry City managed to win the Cup in 1987, beating the mighty Manchester United, Tottenham and Leeds on the way. Having done so, we picked up a cheque for the gate receipts and prize money, which paid for a couple of new signings for the next season at a total cost of around £1.5m, a colossal amount for the club then (and now, come to think of it), which propelled them into the top ten clubs in the country for a short while.

    Fast forward 25 years. Now, there are just six clubs who could potentially win the league. In fact, realistically this year, there are two. The other four are fighting desperately to get into the Champions League in order to earn the 40 million Euros (or so) available to quarter finalists.

    Backed by billionaire owners, they pour millions of pounds into the pockets of agents, players and top European and South American clubs to secure huge squads of international players. This top six are all global brands, with millions of ‘supporters’ dotted around the globe.

    Below them, the other 14 clubs in the top division are all terrified of getting relegated out of the Premier League and losing the £60m-plus they are guaranteed each year. Their fear of dropping out is now manifested to such an extent that few bother to try and win Cup competitions and instead focus on staying in the Premier League. With a couple of exceptions, the vast majority cream off the best players from lower league clubs in England, Scotland and Europe. Yet, even they are well-protected. If a club is relegated, there are £60m of ‘parachute payments’ for the clubs that go down over the following four years, immediately placing them on a far superior financial footing to other teams and giving them a colossal advantage over their rivals. This effectively ensures the same rich 25 or so clubs retain their place at football’s biggest richest financial trough season after season.

    This financial disparity means that down in the lower reaches of the football league all other 65 or so clubs in England are left to stagnate. Promising youngsters are snaffled by Premier Clubs who offer them massive wage increases and the promise of financial security for the rest of their lives. Leagues One and Two (the third and fourth tier of English football) are made up of teams of teenagers, has-beens, disaffected youth players borrowed from top tier teams and those who never have been good enough to play at the highest level. Despite attracting tens of thousands of fans every week, they have no prospect of ever getting to the top level anymore and next to no chance of beating even the reserves of one of the ‘big six’ in a head-to-head contest.

    Why does this matter? Because kids no longer want to follow their local team, opting instead to follow a soulless ‘big team’ they have no prospect of actually watching live, which leaves their local team to flounder in front of ever-decreasing crowds.

    Traditionally, these smaller clubs recruit young English players and give them valuable playing time and experience before moving them on for a profit when they are ready to play at a higher level but now the youth teams and academies of the bigger clubs continue to grow and hoover up any available talent in an area. Yet because of the pressure on managers to stay in the top league, few ever get the opportunity to play. Furthermore, any young player at a small club with an ounce of promise is lured away before playing more than 50 games, with the majority failing to make the grade required when they step up a level.

    What does this mean?

    1) The England team is falling behind its rivals as promising young players simply don’t get the opportunity to play first team football.

    2) An absence of real competition in the Premier League.

    3) Dozens of lower league clubs who have no prospect of ever breaking into the top division, or of tasting success, no matter how good the manager is.

    4) Supporters like me unwilling to pay a minimum of £20 every week to see my club in a depressing circle of decline.

    Now here is the bit that relates to inequality on a world stage…

    It strikes me that English football’s narrow-minded obsession with protecting those who are rich and powerful is similar to that of the developed nations in the world today.

    The Premier League refuses to share more than a measly percentage of its wealth despite the evident damage it is doing to the game. At the same time, the richest nations refuse to support developing nations, be it through fairer trade agreements, access to markets, technology, aid, information, natural resources, or investment in infrastructure.

    Both fail to do so despite the obvious benefits – a more successful national team on one hand; less poverty, better educated populations, reduced population growth and better prospects for democracy on the other.

    Everyone can see this is the case, millions of people feel passionately about both issues yet no-one does anything about it because the powerful minority refuse to do what would be good for all.

    No Comments » | Add your comment
  • Can subsistence farmers turn into commercial farmers?

    October 16th, 2014

    If nothing is done, it can be a major cause for inequality in accessing markets

    Smallholder farming households in Zimbabwe, like most in Sub-Saharan Africa, are largely subsistence farmers.  They grow just enough to eat.  The subsistence mind-set means they rarely invest in production and marketing which means a year-in year-out struggle in poverty.

    If they do produce enough to sell, they face a number of challenges in accessing lucrative markets (agro-processors, wholesalers, and retailers).  They are poorly coordinated among themselves which makes them weak players in the market, with negligible bargaining power.  The volume and quality of their produce is inconsistent. They pay more than ‘the big guys’ for inputs, transportation and finance. This is worse because they live in remote areas with poor road networks, telecommunications infrastructure, no reliable energy sources, poor agro-dealer networks and limited agricultural extension support services. Smallholder farmers need to be knowledgeable and well-organised to plan their production schedules to meet the requirements of existing crop and livestock markets.

    IMG_0189                                DSC06542

    This is easier said than done.  The implementation processes of projects need to focus on improving the knowledge of these subsistence farmers about the markets they want to engage with, increase their confidence to interact with other strategic actors (e.g. buyers, service providers and policy-makers) and ability to articulate and communicate their situation, problems and potential to others.   This will lead to greater equality in accessing markets.

    Conditions to enhance dialogue, accountability and learning between the smallholder farmers and their peers should also be created. There is need to strike a good balance between market growth and the potential of marginalised producers to compete in the market especially those that start from subsistence levels. This is essential for effective market development facilitation.

    Picture 1156                              Photo0067

    Lastly subsistence farmers need market literacy support to enable them to assess both market growth trends (i.e. how demand is changing through time) and shift the mindset towards farming as a business.

    2 Comments » | Add your comment
  • Inequality a major barrier to building Resilience

    October 16th, 2014

    Monday 13th October was World Disaster Day a day worthy of reflection on why is there a growing attraction to the concept of resilience.  Why is it suddenly ‘in vogue’ among donors and development practitioners alike?  Resilience is appealing as it offers the chance to bring thinking around existing development challenges; population growth, climate change, natural disasters, food security, health, inequality, etc. together in a single conceptual umbrella.

    But as the severity and frequency of disasters increases does resilience thinking offer us the chance to make meaningful changes on the ground? Can it help people especially those who are poorest and least able to cope? Can we build their resilience by providing them with the risk reduction knowledge and mitigation practices they need, if we don’t address the underlying cause of their inequality in the first place?  The first challenge with resilience is; is it possible, the second is how to do this in practice?

    People face numerous threats and even in the wealthiest most developed societies no one can be 100% resilient. However, for the majority of people living in developing countries, the people Practical Action targets to work with, using participatory approaches it is relatively easy to start to understand the myriad of threats they face and risks to which they are exposed.  But the biggest challenge will not be developing appropriate mitigation actions; the harder challenge will be addressing the fundamental underlying causes to their vulnerability in the first place.

    When it comes down to taking risk the higher the potential rewards the higher the risk taking strategy people are prepared to take. If you are poor and marginalised then the risks are easily discounted when the survival of your family is in jeopardy.

    12842Family in Nepal living in high risk local next to Mountain River, each year the river consumes more land and is rapidly approach the house.

    In the developing world there are a multitude of example of where people live in conditions of high risk because their livelihoods depend on it. In urban slums in large developing cities, the poorest live in the most undesirable locations, those most susceptible to flooding, landslide and with the worst environmental health conditions.  In rural areas the poorest farmers are those on the periphery, furthest away from the best agricultural land and furthest away from the community safe area, whether it be high ground in flood prone areas or the centre of the village in communities facing wild animal conflict.

    Everyone including those reading this blog (thank you) are potentially susceptible to natural disasters, but how vulnerable you are is linked to your assets and in particular your relative wealth or poverty – with the poorest worst affected and suffering the most.  Poverty makes people vulnerable and their capacity to cope with disasters and recover from the effects is constrained by their lack of resources.  What is needed is development of their capacity and assets…. to enable them to develop despite disasters a Virtuous cycle, unfortunately what usually happens…  is that by utilising their limited assets to recover from shocks they enter a Vicious cycle that erodes their capacity as repeated shocks undermine their wellbeing.

    lima-web3Families in Chosica district, Lima Municipality, Peru can be categorised by their poverty status, with the poorest living closest to the river and the wealthier further away.

    Many years ago Practical Action recognised the need for a holistic planning framework to promote a more virtuous development trajectory. Over the following years Practical Action developed the vulnerability to resilience framework, or V2R. This framework engages vulnerable communities in a coordinated planning response that cuts across established sectors and silos and recognises that by building the capacity of the poorest members of the community to cope with a natural disaster this will enhance the capacity of the entire community to cope when disaster strikes.  We are testing this model around the world with promising advances, especially in those communities where we confront entrenched inequality first.

    No Comments » | Add your comment
  • The Inequality of coping with floods

    October 16th, 2014

    After days of torrential rains in central Europe in 2013, a huge surge of water came down the Elbe and flooded big parts of north-western Germany. The flood killed 89 people in Germany, Russia, Austria, and the Czech Republic and left a damage of more than 12 billion Euros only in Germany. With a water-level of 12,89 metre is was the highest flood in Germany since 500 years.

    Clearly this flood meant hardship for many families in Germany, but I also associate this flood with good-humoured people working together in the sun, while enjoying a cold beer and fresh fruits.

    How that is related? Well, the whole emergency aid was impressively well organised and especially, through social networks like Facebook, many young people came to the dykes to help.

    As many others, my mom and me decided to render ourselves useful on a nice Sunday, so we grabbed our shovels and drove to a dyke, of which I knew from Facebook that there was help still needed.

    Arriving at the dyke, people laughed about our old, dented shovels and we got new ones from the German Army. Since it was a very hot day, caps from the Army, watermelon and water were handed out to the working people. Furthermore the army distributed proper meals and getting a cold beer was obviously no problem as well. I mean we are talking about Germany here.

    Packing sand bagsWhile actually having a great day helping people, I had to think about the circumstances under which people in countries like Bangladesh or India have to cope with floods. These people are often cut off of civilization for days before any help reaches them, while in Germany people are packing sand bags as an afternoon activity during their holidays. We enjoyed cold drinks during the working breaks while people in development countries often have to fear for their lives while drinking, due to polluted water, especially during floods.

    Do not get me wrong, I really enjoyed the atmosphere while working with all these motivated people. I was moved by individuals telling me how far they drove, just because they heard that this particular dyke is at higher risk to break. And I was impressed by the German efficiency and organizational skills, which are often content of a joke in other countries.

    Nevertheless Germany is just one example of a developed country coping with floods. It is indisputable that here tragic stories are happening, about families losing their houses, family members or friends during flooding. But so do people in development countries and they do not have the opportunities and the money to handle floods like we do.

    It is certain that floods will occur more often in the future, due to climate change, and it is proven that the western countries are most responsible for the increasing climate change. It is time for us to think about those who suffer the most from what we are creating by polluting the environment. The world’s poorest people are often hit hardest by natural disasters and they obviously have least capacities to recover from it.

    No Comments » | Add your comment
  • A  Tale of  Pumpkins on  Sandbars

    October 16th, 2014

    Is it  possible  for the Extreme Poor living on  uncertain territory to become self–sustainable and become a  market player  ?  

    A happy sandbar farmer with her pumpkins

    A happy sandbar farmer with her pumpkins

    We are not talking about food stamps or government handouts for the million of people who have lost all their land and assets and  face annual flooding threatening all their possessions.  These people are  forced to live on flood protection embankments,  surrounded  by water and without any land.   We might call them internally displaced people.

    We are talking about over 100,0000 people   currently living on flood protection embankment in 35-40 riverine districts in Bangladesh (Water Development Board). After each rainy season, large barren sandy islands appear in the main rivers which usually disappear after 5 months.  We have demonstrated  through  our  DFID funded project “Pathways from Poverty: Building Economic Resilience of Extreme Poor Communities in Riverine Areas of Bangladesh. how these lands can be utilized  during 5 months each year by the displaced extreme poor people living on flood   protection embankment to produce food and make a living.

    We have facilitated   nearly 20,000 of the extreme poor  to produce over 52,000 pumpkins worth  5 million US$ in 1,925 hectare of  barren  sandbars .  Nearly 50% of our targeted beneficiaries are women, whose husbands and male family   members have been forced to migrate to look for jobs.

    Our model of producing food on barren temporary land is a tried and tested model which we started piloting in 2005 and then scaled up during the 2008 -2015 period. We have shown over the years that rate of return for the beneficiaries ranges from 1:5 to 1:11. Bangladesh has nearly  230 river basins  with  1792.5 of temporary  raised  sandbars  which  are  unfertile and barren due to siltation.  Our technology can help to bring these barren lands under cultivation, which could be revolutionary in a country adversely affected by climate change. Not only that  ,  the technology makes optimum  use of scarce  water  supply   during the dry season when farmers faces nearly 40%  irrigation  water shortage .

    pumpkinsHow can we scale up this technology?  .  Can we use the internal resource – capital and human- of these extreme poor   not only to grow out of poverty   , but also for scaling up?   Our recent winning of Securing Water for Food:  USAID Grand Challenge has given us the opportunity to pilot a commercial model to scale up sandbar cropping.  Under this  model  we envisage strengthening the sandbar cropper association to take loans from microfinance institutions,  attracting and building relationships with key market actors  for  selling  of pumpkins and value added products   .

    Our long term  vision is to  promote pumpkins  as a Fair trade product  and attract national and international   investors and also low scale funding.

    Is this possible?  But we can dream!

    No Comments » | Add your comment