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Hip-driven Pump Brings Water to Parched Fields

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

Finding ways to increase agricultural productivity is key to expanding food supplies and making farming pay. With the world’s population continuing to rise and becoming more urban, there is a pressing need to improve both the quantity and quality of food supplies.

The many small-scale farmers across the global South – and their high levels of poverty – demonstrates the urgent need to change the way farming is done.

Based on Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) census data, it has been estimated that some 525 million farms exist worldwide, providing a livelihood for about 40 per cent of the world’s population. Nearly 90 per cent of these are small farms with less than 2 hectares of land (Nagayets, 2005). Average farm sizes around the world run from 1.6 hectares in Africa to 121 hectares in North America.

Small farms occupy about 60 per cent of the arable land worldwide and contribute substantially to global farm production. In Africa, 90 per cent of agricultural production is derived from small farms (Spencer, 2002).

One social enterprise is pioneering the development and selling of innovative farming tools for these small-scale farmers to increase their efficiency and make their lives better and more profitable. The MoneyMaker Hip Pump is a lightweight irrigation tool designed to be used by anyone, but aimed especially at women farmers. It helps to increase the amount of water that can be pumped into a field during the dry season. To date, the makers of the pump, Kickstart (kickstart.org), claim to have sold 190,000 pumps. It can irrigate up to 0.40 hectare of land.

Kickstart, which calls itself a non-profit promoting technology and entrepreneurism in Africa, develops and markets simple agricultural tools for Africa’s rural poor so they can improve their businesses. The company estimates it has helped 600,000 people since it was founded in 1991.

The MoneyMaker Hip Pump was launched in stores in 2006 and received a sales and marketing push in 2008. It sells for US $30 and weighs 4.5 kilograms. Kickstart says the pump’s most effective attribute is its simple pivot hinge. This pivot hinge allows the user to combine their body weight and strength from their legs with sheer momentum to power the pump rather than straining upper back and shoulder muscles – something that is very hard on farmers’ bodies and leads to repetitive strain injuries that shorten a farmer’s effective working life.

The pump can pull water from 7 metres and push water up a field for 14 metres.

Kickstart says that by early 2012, it had sold 32,037 pumps.

Reporting in a paper for the World Bank, Vincent Nnamdi Ozowa found smallscale farmers needed five things that will make a big difference to their productivity: better access to information on new methods, scientific advances and timely market updates; better education and improved literacy rates;access to credit; better marketing; and better technology that minimizes drudgery and improves efficiency.

In 2011, Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World report found small-scale agriculture could be key to tackling world hunger and poverty. It urged a move away from industrial agriculture and towards small-scale farming in sub-Saharan Africa, believing it could make big gains by being more efficient and reducing waste.

Kickstart has found communities are receptive to the idea of using the pumps and building agro businesses.

“These are people who are already entrepreneurs, so it is not like we are sensitizing them; they are people who are trying to find ways to make money,” Kickstart Tanzania’s Anne Atieno Otieno told AllAfrica.com.

“When we meet them in the communities we talk to them about the value of irrigation versus relying on rainfall. Most of them are used to having to wait for the rain. At the time we were working with the Super MoneyMaker pump, which is a bigger, more expensive pump. They asked if we could make a low entry pump, which we passed on to our tech deputy and that is how we came up with the MoneyMaker Hip Pump.”

It is part of a range of products Kickstart makes to aid small farmers become more productive (kickstart.org/products).

KickStart believes that self-motivated private entrepreneurs managing smallscale enterprises can play a dynamic role in the economies of developing countries.

These entrepreneurs can raise small amounts of capital (US $100 to US $1,000) to start a new enterprise. KickStart then helps them to identify viable business opportunities and access the technologies required to launch the new enterprises.

Kickstart also uses something called a Mobile Layaway service to make it easier for farmers to afford a pump. This service lets farmers pay off the cost of the pump in small instalments by mobile phone. The farmer can choose how large or small the instalment is according to their means.

“Speaking to the women, and going out into the field and speaking with farmers, we identified a major obstacle – purchasing power, the ability to buy the pump. In Africa, in the field, the pump is a capital item,” Otieno said.

“They really have to organize themselves to be able to save for it. And so when we were speaking to the farmers, many were asking us, ‘Can you come up with a credit facility?’ or some system whereby they could purchase the pumps, because many of them wanted the pump but they were not able to afford it.

“The program works through a mobile phone service, MPesa (http://www.safaricom.co.ke/index.php?id=250) … so the farmers are able to save money, and send money through that program.”

Kickstart recently received an award from the US State Department and the Rockefeller Foundation for “transforming agriculture for women by harnessing technology and spurring entrepreneurship.”

Published: April 2012

Resources

1) Information Needs of Small Scale Farmers in Africa: The Nigerian Example by Vincent Nnamdi Ozowa. Website: http://www.worldbank.org/html/cgiar/newsletter/june97/9nigeria.html

2) The New Harvest, Agricultural Innovation in Africa by Calestous Juma. The book outlines strategies for making Africa self-sufficient and argues Africa is

capable of feeding itself in one generation. Website: http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/20504/new_harvest.html

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.

© David South Consulting 2022

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African Theatre Becomes European Success

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

In Britain, the country that gave the world the plays of William Shakespeare (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Shakespeare), a new creative force has taken stages by storm: African theatre.  And it is proving how economically rewarding Southern culture can be.

“African theatre is very eclectic and very narrative driven, which I think appeals to audiences.  Here (the United Kingdom) it’s very much more reflective and intellectual,” director Nick Kent told The Independent newspaper.

Over the last decade, the world’s creative industries have gained greater recognition as an important spark that can drive economic development and entrepreneurship. World exports of creative products were valued at US $424.4 billion in 2005 as compared to US $227.5 billion in 1996, according to UNCTAD figures. It has grown by 8.8 percent a year between 1996 and 2005 (UNCTAD).

In Germany, more than 35 million people go to almost 110,000 theatre performances – not including opera and ballet – every year. That’s almost half the population.

The creative economy is seen as a fast growth area and good job creator, and importantly, a lynchpin of cultural identity and diversity. While the creative economy flourishes in North America and Europe, Southern countries are still not reaping its full benefits. Despite their cultural diversity and richness, out of 132 developing countries, 85 have never produced a commercial film.

UNESCO, through its Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity, has been in the forefront of helping African countries re-shape their policies to take this into consideration. The promotion of cultural industries also has been incorporated into the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

Kent, the artistic director of London’s Tricycle Theatre, believes the popularity of African theatre is a product of its vibrancy and the fact both music and stories’ narratives engage with difficult topics.

“Since the apartheid era (in South Africa), African theatre has been more engaged socially,” continues Kent. “South Africa has managed to capture music and storytelling.”

Nigeria’s Nobel Prize-winning playwright Wole Soyinka packed Britain’s National Theatre recently by tackling tensions in colonial Nigeria in his play Death and the King’s Horseman. Another Nigerian play is Iya-lle (The First Wife), about a chief’s preparations for his wife’s 40th birthday. It runs at London’s Soho Theatre.

Yet another success is a re-telling stories from the Bible called The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso — by the South African theatre company Isango Portobello. It was such a huge success when it first appeared on London’s stages in 2002, it will be returning in September.

One way companies in countries like Britain use to introduce audiences to new cultures and creative experiences is to run a special ‘season.’ In April, London’s Tricycle Theatre began a season of 12 plays about Afghanistan by a variety of writers. They were divided into half-hour mini-plays that could be seen in parts over several evenings or in a weekend marathon of 12 plays.

The project was so successful that the Tricycle is starting a South Africa season, beginning with the play Karoo Moose, an award-winning story about a girl’s struggle to survive in a village with the help of an escaped moose. Another play in the season is Koos Sas: Last Bushman of Montagu, a musical about a heroic rebel.

West Africa features in the play The Observer, also at London’s National Theatre. It tells the story of an election observer forced to rubber-stamp the victory of a corrupt president. Lost in the Stars, a musical adaptation of the novel Cry, the Beloved Country – a global success in the 1940s – explores racial tensions in apartheid South Africa and runs at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

“African theatre addresses issues of identity and conflict,” said Dr .Yvette Hutchison, who lectures in African theatre at the University of Warwick.”Because of its history, there is much to explore. “European theatre became very intellectual and rational after the Enlightenment. African theatre remains spiritual and metaphysical. There is also less formality – the audience expects to contribute.”

The fresh perspective brought by African theatre is its appeal.

“I do think people have become tired of formulaic music in theatre,” said the British-born South African director of The Mysteries, Mark Dornford-May.

“African culture will incorporate, for example, Mozart and a work song, and perceive them as equally valid, or perhaps favour the work song. There’s also a lot of physicality. The audience expects to be engaged. In Europe you sit in your seat and don’t have contact with anyone and you may as well be watching a DVD. There’s a sense of excitement in African theatre and exuberance of performance.”

Published: July 2009

Resources

The British Council sponsors numerous awards for international creatives. Website: www.creativeconomy.org.uk

Creative Clusters: Creative Clusters is an independent policy conference examining the growth of the creative economy. It is interested in initiatives from around the world that are designed to have an impact in both cultural and economic terms.   Website: www.creativeclusters.com

Iroko Theatre Company: The theatre uses traditional African theatre art forms to explore social issues that are of interest to children and young people and in doing so help them to experience new cultures and art forms. Website:www.irokotheatre.org.uk/index.html

A BBC story on the success of African theatre. Website: www.bbc.co.uk/africabeyond/africanarts/18625.shtml

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.

© David South Consulting 2022

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The Disabled in the South can Make Money, Restore Dignity

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

The South’s disabled are a large population and often suffer more than even the poorest residents. It is estimated that there are 500 million disabled people in the world, with either mental, physical or sensory impairment. As many as 80 percent of all disabled people live in isolated rural areas in developing countries, and in some countries more than 20 percent of the population is classed as disabled (UN).

Obstacles are everywhere for the disabled and just being able to economically survive, let alone thrive, can be a superhuman struggle. There are many physical and social barriers in most countries which thwart full participation, and millions of children and adults live lives of segregation and degradation.

But two radically different approaches show something can be done, and perceptions re-shaped.

In the Republic of Congo in central Africa, blind entrepreneur Jean-Pierre Louya is mentoring other blind people in the business of making soap. There are an estimated 11,709.95 blind people, or 0.3% of the population of 3,903,318 (http://www.uniteforsight.org/eye_stats.php). Most are blind because their eye infections have gone untreated, or they have diseases like diabetes.

Life is very hard for many in Congo. Brazzaville, the capital, was heavily damaged in a civil war in 1997 and many thousands were killed.

Jean-Pierre, who is also the head of the country’s association for the blind (http://www/afub-uafa.org/pages/pages3.asp), picked up his soap-making skills from a soap cooperative. Once a truck driver, he went blind as a result of an eye disease 25 years ago. With the training from the soap cooperative, he has been successfully running his soap-making business, where he turns palm oil into high-lather soap, and used the profits to raise his seven children and buy some land.

But rather than just keeping his business secrets to himself, Jean-Pierre mentors other blind people in this delicate art. There are many stages in the process of making soap that are risky, but he mixes 20 litres of water with three kilograms of caustic soda – the most dangerous part of making soap – by using his memory. He knows what temperature it is by touch, how to get the mixture right by smell, and what amounts to use by sound.

Pouring in the hot palm oil, he told Reuters: “The barrel was already hot, so the first bit of oil I poured made noise: that’s how I l knew I had poured the liquid inside the barrel.”

“It was very hard for me to accept this condition,” he said. “it was two years before I could go out in public because I was embarrassed that my friends see me this way.”

“A blind person is teaching a trade to another blind person,” said Samuel Koubouana, a blind apprentice soapmaker Jean-Pierre is teaching. “It really means a lot to me. JP is improving my life.”

Jean-Pierre relies a great deal on the goodwill of local people to get around. As local Lenvo Lydie told Reuters: “Blind people really suffer in this country. The blind should be driven from one point to another rather than being left alone to fend for themselves in the streets.”

But in Congo there are few government programmes for disabled people and none for the blind. As president of the Association of the Blind in Congo, Jean-Pierre is helping other blind people take control of their lives.

In Angola, the Miss Landmine contest has taken a highly controversial approach to restoring dignity to the disabled. The brainchild of Norwegian theatre director Morten Traavik, the beauty contest featuring landmine amputees took place for the first time in April in Angola’s capital, Luanda. Angola has one of the highest rates of landmine amputees in the world, after a brutal 27-year civil war. Estimates place the number injured at 80,000.

The 18 contestants represented each province of the country, and the contest is about restoring self-esteem in women who have been isolated and marginalised. Traavik was shocked by the large number of amputees, but he also saw that Angolans really liked beauty contests. The contest’s motto is “Everyone has the right to be beautiful”.

It is funded by the Angolan government’s de-mining commission and Norway’s Arts Council. Participants receive US $196 a day and get to keep their dresses and jewellery. The winner, 31-year-old Augusta Hurica from Luanda, becomes an ambassador for international landmine survivors.

While the contest has had many critics, it has been so successful it will be replicated in Cambodia next year. And a worldwide contest is in the works for 2015.

Emilia Luzia, a contestant, told Marie Claire magazine: “I am happy to be representing my region and all disabled people, but it is also good to feel special and glamorous. This is the first time I’ve worn such nice clothes.”

Another contestant took on the critics. Twenty-six-year-old Sandra Tichika, said: “Most of the ladies here are from small villages: we struggle, we are isolated, yet here we are being noticed and accepted – how bad can that be?”

Published: June 2008

Resources

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.

© David South Consulting 2022

Categories
Archive

Disabled Congolese Musicians Become World Hit

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

A group of Congolese musicians is using music to overcome obstacles – both economic and social – that come with being disabled in a poor country. Called Staff Benda Bilili, they are on course to be a global sensation and are looking forward to their first European tour. A remarkable achievement for anyone from a war-torn country, let alone for musicians who live as paraplegics in the slums of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinshasa).

The South’s disabled are a large population and often suffer more than even the poorest residents. It is estimated that there are 500 million disabled people in the world, with mental, physical or sensory impairment. As many as 80 percent of all disabled people live in isolated rural areas in developing countries, and in some countries more than 20 percent of the population is classed as disabled (UN).

Obstacles are everywhere for the disabled and just being able to economically survive, let alone thrive, can be a superhuman struggle. There are many physical and social barriers in most countries which thwart full participation, and millions of children and adults live lives of segregation and degradation.

The four songwriters and musicians of Staff Benda Bilili use homemade wheelchairs to get around Kinshasa. The ‘wheelchairs’ resemble bicycles, tricycles and motorbikes, and are a testament to the resourcefulness of the band’s members. They sing about contemporary problems, like the importance of polio vaccinations – several of the band members are confined to wheelchairs because of polio (http://www.polioeradication.org/).

When performing, they are joined by a young group of acoustic rhythm musicians to complete their act.

One of the musicians, Roger Landu, just 17, plays a one-string lute called the satonge. He built it from old milk powder tin cans, a discarded fish basket and a single electrical wire. He builds the instruments for sale as well, charging US $20 for each one.

Benda Bilili means “look beyond appearances” in Lingala, a Bantu language spoken in Kinshasa.

Lounging after a recent performance on his hand-built moped wheelchair, Coco Ngambali, the group’s primary songwriter, told The Independent: “We see ourselves as journalists. We’re the real journalists because we’re not afraid of anyone. We communicate messages to mothers, to those who sleep on the streets on cardboard boxes, to the shégués (the disabled homeless).”

The band has a scrappy, street-wise persona. Being disabled, the members have had to fiercely protect their own security and economic position in society. Life on the streets for the band members, who were homeless – living near the city’s zoo – when they started, involved violent attacks and frequent attempts by thieves to rob them of the few possessions they have.

Polio victims were often abandoned by their parents and left on the streets to survive in Congo. It is a double pain: the disabled are seen as possessing demonic powers and are feared by able-bodied people. With this outsider status, the disabled have developed highly creative ways to survive, working as traders on the streets.

Staunchly self-reliant, the band members built up their musical careers with no help from others and have only just recently garnered attention from European world music fans. Prior to their recent success, they would have to busk on the street near the zoo – or even across the street from the United Nations office in Kinshasa – to make money for food.

None of the band members have formal musical training and they have learned what they know by training their ears to the sound of musical notes. Their songs can be decorated with the sounds of animals commonly heard, such as chirping frogs, or just the street noise around the zoo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtVZhaZp6Ng).

The powerful web video service You Tube has driven awareness of the band, as hundreds of thousands of people have viewed their videos online. Their debut album is called Très Très Fort (Very, Very Strong) and is available from  Crammed Discs (http://www.crammed.be/news/index.htm). A feature film about Staff Benda Bilili is about to be completed by film producers Renaud Barrett and Florent de la Tullaye.

Another band with disabled members that is garnering success is Liyana (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLayxPj8OpI) from Zimbabwe. Despite the obstacles of hyperinflation, cholera, hunger and poverty in the country, the band recently completed a US tour. Their song ‘Never Give Up’ says it all: after being rejected from the African Idol television talent contest because of their wheelchairs, they didn’t let it stop them from going on to do a US tour.

Published: April 2009

Resources

Development Challenges, South-South Solutions was launched as an e-newsletter in 2006 by UNDP’s South-South Cooperation Unit (now the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation) based in New York, USA. It led on profiling the rise of the global South as an economic powerhouse and was one of the first regular publications to champion the global South’s innovators, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. It tracked the key trends that are now so profoundly reshaping how development is seen and done. This includes the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology in the global South (as profiled in the first issue of magazine Southern Innovator), the move to becoming a majority urban world, a growing global innovator culture, and the plethora of solutions being developed in the global South to tackle its problems and improve living conditions and boost human development. The success of the e-newsletter led to the launch of the magazine Southern Innovator.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5311-1052.

© David South Consulting 2022