Categories
Archive

Kenyan Farmer Uses Internet to Boost Potato Farm

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

The rise of social networking websites (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites) during the past few years has swept across the internet. The popular Facebook (www.facebook.com) site alone has over 350 million users worldwide. In Africa, there are more than 67 million people with access to the internet – just over 6 percent of the population (http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats1.htm). And this phenomenon has even begun to penetrate and influence life in poor places with weak internet infrastructure. A farmer in Kenya, Zack Matere, has boosted his potato crop by turning to Facebook for help.

On his farm in Seregeya near Eldoret, Kenya, Matere used the internet to find a cure for his ailing potato crop.

“I cycled 10 kilometres to the local cyber café, Googled (www.google.com) ‘potato disease,’ he told the BBC, “and discovered that ants were eating the potato stems.

“I checked again and found that one of the solutions was to sprinkle wood ash on the crop.”

Matere also used the internet to find a buyer for his rescued crop, and has been able to triple the price he gets for tree seedlings he sells.

Zack believes he is a bit of pioneer: “I think I am the only farmer in the area who uses the internet.”

He uses his mobile phone to access the internet and it costs him about US 0.66 cents a day to do it.

This is a lot of money for small-scale farmers so Zack has a plan to tackle the cost. He will share the information he uncovers on the internet with other farmers in the community by posting it on local community notice boards.

He has noticed some important realities about how people he knows interact with the mobile web. He has found most people do much more with the Net than surfing the mobile web alone at home.

“The internet is quite an individual pursuit. But a notice board is more of a group thing.

“So if I post an item on a notice board on potato disease, for example, the community can read it, talk together and come to a decision.”

One example of the kind of intelligence Matere is able to glean from the internet is reports of cartels deceiving farmers by buying potatoes in over-large 130 kg bags instead of 110 kg bags. Matere takes this information and translates it into Swahili and posts it on community notice boards.

Matere also has to fend off other people looking to use his community’s water supply, which he has done by photographing interlopers with his mobile phone and then posting the photographs on Facebook.

“When they came before, I took photos of what they were doing, posted them on my Facebook page and was able to get assistance,” he said.

“I got in touch with Forest Action Network (http://www.fankenya.org/) and they came back to me quickly saying they would help me protect the catchment area.”

He has also discovered there are more profitable ways to make money for farmers.

“There is a lot of money in tree seedlings or bee hives. So if we can get these young people to use the land in an environmentally (friendly) way, they can get even more money than through farming.”

“I have 400 Facebook friends and I think some of them can buy the honey.”

Matere is philosophical about the future: “I am now seeing the practicality of the internet here in rural Kenya. The problem is I am the only one. That is why the notice board is important. All we need is a bit of relevant information to help us.”

“Once it is made simpler and is more in the local language with more local content, people are going to access the internet here,” he predicts.

Published: April 2010

Resources

1) A blog with news and tips on how to use the social networking tools for business opportunities. Website:http://www.socialnetworking-weblog.com/

2) Four stories on how social networking radically improved business prospects for some people. Website:http://www.bnet.com/2403-13070_23-219914.html

3) A Business Week article on the good and bad of social networking for business. Website:http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/aug2008/sb2008086_346094.htm

4) Txteagle: A service in Kenya that is paying people to do tasks and translations with their mobile phones. Website:http://txteagle.com/index.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

Categories
Archive Blogroll

Past Clients + Publications | 1991 – 2016

DS Consulting logo copy
First business card David South Consulting
The first business card for David South Consulting. Inspired by the Dutch post office’s (PTT Post) corporate identity developed by Studio Dumbar, the card was designed by Brian Cartwright of Toronto’s Rocket Design. Work at this time included investigative journalism for Canada’s top magazines and newspapers, magazine and newsletter editing, and communications for a prestigious medical history funder. From the very beginning, we were inspired by Dutch design for the public sector and the importance placed on this in The Netherlands. The work of Hein van Haaren, former head of the PTT’s Aesthetics Department, and graphic design pioneers Wim Crouwel and Gert Dumbar, still remain key influences to this day.
Financial Times business card 1995
As a reporter for two Financial Times newsletters, New Media Markets and Screen Finance, I covered the rapidly growing UK (and Scandinavian) television and new media markets and the expanding film-financing sector in Europe.
Features Editor Id Magazine 1996-1997
This Canadian alternative bi-weekly magazine broke new ground with its investigative journalism and online journalism. It gathered together highly talented, young contributors, many of whom are leading figures in journalism, the arts and technology today.
UNDP Mongolia business card 1997
As the UN’s head of communications in Mongolia (1997-1999), I founded the UNDP Mongolia Communications Office and oversaw a two-year communications programme to respond to the biggest post-WWII peacetime economic collapse. Award-winning and influential, the Office pioneered the use of the Internet in international development crisis response and was called a “role model” for the rest of the United Nations.
UNDP Ukraine business card 2000
Following on from the success of the UNDP Mongolia Communications Office, I worked with the head of the UN Ukraine mission to strategically relaunch the mission web portal, incorporating the newly launched UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Ukraine biz card Ukrainian_mini
GOSH business card 2001-2003
Drawing on my extensive experience strategically using the Internet to achieve communications goals, I was hired to head a two-year project to launch the GOSH Child Health Web Portal. Award-winning, it was called a “role model” for the wider National Health Service (NHS) and one of the most admired websites in the UK public and charity sectors. The website was cited as contributing to the hospital’s high rating and attracted additional funding for its research.
Mong MDG biz card_mini
UN MDGs Education Media Project
As part of an assessment of Mongolia’s media capabilities to communicate the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), infographics were introduced for the first time to the mission.
Southern Innovator business card
With the Global Financial Crisis erupting, I was retained by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) to research and write a monthly e-newsletter and develop a new magazine to offer solutions and raise the profile of South-South cooperation as a development response to the crisis. Both publications proved highly influential, leading to the wider adoption of South-South cooperation and to national governments picking up the innovation agenda being brought about by the rapid take-up of mobile phones and information technology. The magazine Southern Innovator was called “a terrific tour de force of what is interesting, cutting edge and relevant in the global mobile/ICT space…”.
David South Consulting business card
In 2010, David South Consulting was relaunched with a new logo and branding for the 21st century. It represented a new phase, as work became global and very high-profile and influential. The foundations have been laid for future growth and expansion.

Watch Magazine

Watch Magazine masthead 1994
Watch Magazine was launched in 1994 and quickly became the authentic 1990s voice of Toronto’s youth. As one of Toronto’s first youth start-ups, Youth Culture became a successful youth communications brand and expanded to national distribution by the late 1990s. Launched during the economic austerity years in Canada, it was one of the contributors to Toronto’s economic resurgence and renewed business vitality.

New Media Markets

New Media Markets masthead 1995
As a reporter for two Financial Times newsletters, New Media Markets and Screen Finance, I covered the rapidly growing UK (and Scandinavian) television and new media markets and the expanding film-financing sector in Europe.

A Partnership for Progress: The United Nations Development Programme in Mongolia

P4P masthead 1997
The Partnership for Progress brochure raised the curtain on the UN’s response to Mongolia’s economic and social crisis in the late 1990s. It celebrated Mongolia’s independence and its flourishing media scene and free expression after the long years of Communism and state repression.

Human Development Report Mongolia 1997

Human Development Report Mongolia 1997
The first human development report for Mongolia captured in data and stories the damage done by the harsh transition from Communism and the imposition of austerity during the 1990s. It found high levels of poverty in the country and a heavy toll taken on people’s health, communities and families. The report was received with great enthusiasm and had two print runs.

Blue Sky Bulletin

Blue Sky Bulletin
The Blue Sky Bulletin newsletter broke with the usual approach taken by UN newsletters of offering up ‘grip n’ grin’ pictures of men in suits and instead offered actual stories and data on how Mongolia’s transition crisis was faring. It was distributed within Mongolia and by post and email outside the country to help raise awareness of the country and its development challenges.

Mongolian Rock-Pop Book

Mongolian Rock-Pop Book
Researched and written by ethnomusicologist Dr. Peter Marsh, this book on the impact of Mongolian rock and pop on the country’s business and entrepreneurship culture, shone a spotlight on a lively modern music scene.

Southern Innovator Magazine Issue 1: Mobile Phones and Information Technology

SI Issue 1
The first issue of Southern Innovator was called “a terrific tour de force of what is interesting, cutting edge and relevant in the global mobile/ICT space… ” and a “Beautiful, inspiring magazine from UNDP on South-South innovation.”

Southern Innovator Magazine Issue 2: Youth and Entrepreneurship

SI Issue 2
Issue 2 of Southern Innovator drew praise for painting a positive picture of how the world’s development challenges could be taken on: “Thank you David – Your insight into the issues facing us a[s] [a] ‘global Village’ is made real in the detail of your article – 10 out of 10 from the moladi team.”

Southern Innovator Magazine Issue 3: Agribusiness and Food Security

SI Issue 3
Issue 3 was on the theme of agribusiness and food security.

Southern Innovator Magazine Issue 4: Cities and Urbanization

SI Issue 4
Issue 4 on cities and urbanization saw Southern Innovator visit innovative new cities across Asia. Readers said “The magazine looks fantastic, great content and a beautiful design!” It is designed by Icelandic graphic designer and illustrator Solveig Rolfsdottir.

Southern Innovator Magazine Issue 5: Waste and Recycling

SI Issue 5
By this point, the Southern Innovator brand was drawing praise for being “one of the best sources out there for news and info on #solutions to #SouthSouth challenges.” Readers also said they “really enjoyed reading them [Southern Innovator], impressive work & a great resource. Looking forward to Issue 6. My best wishes to you & your team at SI.”
DSC web address in green_mini (1)

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

© David South Consulting 2021

Categories
Archive

African Innovators Celebrated in Prize

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

Innovation is increasingly being recognized as the key to tackling long-standing development problems in Africa, as well as across the developing and developed world. While it is easy to draw up a list of challenges facing the global South, it takes a special person to see not problems but solutions.

Innovation tends to mean fresh thinking brought to bear to old problems, or completely radical new technologies, insights and ways of doing things that are transformative.

The Oslo Manual for measuring innovation (http://www.oecd.org/innovation/inno/oslomanualguidelinesforcollectingandinterpretinginnovationdata3rdedition.htm) has defined four types of innovation: product innovation, process innovation, marketing innovation and organizational innovation (OECD).

Product innovation is a good or service that is new or significantly improved. This includes significant improvements in technical specifications, components and materials, software in the product, user friendliness or other functional characteristics. Process innovation is a new or significantly improved production or delivery method. This includes significant changes in techniques, equipment and/or software. Marketing innovation is defined as a new marketing method involving significant changes in product design or packaging, product placement, product promotion or pricing. And finally, organizational innovation is a new organizational method in business practices, workplace organization or external relations.

How quickly these can be brought to the marketplace, and the level of innovation in society, will be critical to a country’s success in the coming decade, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Importantly, innovation is being seen as the big driver of economic progress and well-being and the best way to deal with the plethora of challenges facing human health and the environment.

As an example, in the past decade, communications innovation has given more and more of the world’s population access to mobile phones and the Internet. This has led to the success of many new companies, from the search engine giant Google to multiple software innovations such as Kenya’s M-Pesa mobile phone banking application (http://www.safaricom.co.ke/personal/m-pesa/m-pesa-services-tariffs/relax-you-have-got-m-pesa), to small and innovative companies spreading the innovation bug such as Pico Crickets (http://www.picocricket.com/) or the Raspberry Pi (http://www.raspberrypi.org/).

As the OECD has said, “Not only has innovation moved to centre stage in economic policymaking, but there is a realization that a coordinated, coherent, ‘whole of government’ approach is required.

“Even countries that have generally refrained from active industrial policy in recent years now seek new ways to improve the environment for innovation in order to boost productivity and growth. Today, innovation performance is a crucial determinant of competitiveness and national progress.”

In the past, African innovators mostly went unacknowledged, unsupported and unrecognized. But this is changing, as new resources come online to support, finance, encourage and champion African innovators. Until very recently, people outside the continent heard little positive news about what was happening there. But the African innovator story is an inspiration to people around the world.

The Innovation Prize for Africa (http://innovationprizeforafrica.org), begun in 2011, awards US $100,000 for the top innovation that matches its criteria of marketability, originality, scalability, social impact and business potential.

The prize aims to encourage people to come up with practical solutions to the continent’s long-standing problems. This year’s prize received 900 applications from 45 countries.

The 2013 prize went to the South Africa-based AgriProtein (http://www.agriprotein.com) team for an innovation that uses waste and fly larvae to produce animal feed. The solution collects biodegradable waste and then feeds it to flies. The larvae the flies produce are then ground into a protein which is used as a feed for animals. Not only does this approach improve the nutritional quality of the feed, it also lowers the cost for African processors and farmers.

This year’s finalists offer a mixed bag of innovations, including creative ways to find new energy sources, improving access to clean water and preventing diseases.

Joining a clutch of other South African finalists, Dr. Dudley Jackson has created the SavvyLoo, a waterless toilet for use in rural areas and makeshift settlements. It separates the waste into liquids and solids to reduce the risk of disease, odour, and harm to the environment and eases waste removal.

Another South African, Professor Eugene Cloete, is the inventor of the TBag Water Filter that cleverly uses material recovered from tea bags to filter polluted water until it is completely safe to drink.

When it comes to the thorny issue of finding new energy sources for an energy-hungry continent, the prize unearthed some interesting solutions. One is Justus Nwaoga, a Nigerian finalist, who developed a way to turn a common weed into a source of renewable solar energy.

Nwaoga, a researcher from the Department of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (http://unn.edu.ng/), found the common tropical weed Mimosa pudica (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimosa_pudica) surprisingly provides a way to tap into the sun’s energy.

The weed has leaves which fold in on themselves when touched, but spring quickly back into their normal form when exposed to daylight. The plant opens up in the morning and closes in the evening – an indicator of how sensitive it is to sunlight.

Nwaoga began to experiment with the plant, subjecting it to artificial light at night to see if the leaves would open up again. But they didn’t. He came to the conclusion there were properties in the leaves that only responded to natural, solar light. He further concluded it had something to do with electrical transmission in the leaves. He isolated the element that was making the leaves respond to solar light, finding it more sensitive than the silicon solar cell used in solar panels.

Other innovators recognized by the prize include a Tunisian research and development startup called Saphon Energy (http://www.saphonenergy.com/), which makes bladeless wind turbines, and Muna Majoud Mahoamed Ahmed from Sudan, who has created the Agroforestry Model Farm in Khartoum.

“We see a strong trend emerging of innovations that have significant social impact for Africa,” Dr.Francois Bonnici, director of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, told Ventures Africa.

The call for applications for the 2014 Prize will be announced in July 2013.

Published: June 2013

Resources

1) Innovation Prize for Africa: Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) is a joint initiative of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) started in 2011. Website: http://innovationprizeforafrica.org

2) Appfrica: Accelerating the Growth of Africa’s Tech Sector: Appfrica has launched “The Cheetah Code”, an ongoing web series documenting the African tech and creative space. The series is a collection of mini-documentaries chronicling Africa’s young entrepreneurs, creative class, and emerging technology sector. The goal is to record high-quality video content that is entertaining, educational, and inspirational all at once. You can find all of this content and more at tv.cheetahcode.com. Website: http://blog.appfrica.com/2013/05/12/a-web-series-about-africas-entrepreneurs-creatives-and-technologists/?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

3) Innovation and Growth: Rationale for an Innovation Strategy: Publisher: OECD. Website: http://www.oecd.org/science/inno/39374789.pdf

4) Reverse Innovation: Ideas from the Global South. Website: http://urbantimes.co/2012/09/reverse-innovation-ideas-from-the-global-south/

5) African Innovator Magazine: Technology insights for Africa’s decision makers. Website: http://www.africaninnovatormagazine.com/

Southern Innovator logo

London Edit

31 July 2013

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

African Online Supermarket Set to Boost Trade

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

Online retailing and marketing strategies are revolutionizing how people around the world buy products and services – but so far they have not benefited most of Africa’s small businesses and traders. On a continent where trading for survival is the norm, very few people are reaping the benefits of selling on the Internet.

Not only has limited access to the Internet and the lack of high bandwidth in Africa impeded communication within the continent, it has restricted African businesses from taking advantage of the most profound change in global business for decades: e-retailing (also known as e-tailing or e-commerce).

But the African information technology pioneers of Ghana – a country that has already gained a reputation as an IT leader in West Africa (www.ghanaictawards.com) – are setting out to change this situation, and in turn to change the way people access African goods and services.

Pledging in its motto to reach “every African nook and cranny,” ShopAfrica53 is an online shopping portal similar to famous brands like Amazon or eBay, but focused entirely on giving African traders the ability to sell across the continent and to the world online.

The one-stop shopping site – taking its name from the 53 countries on the continent – can be accessed by Internet users, or better still, by the enormous number of mobile phone users not only in Africa but around the world.

The number of mobile phone subscribers in Africa surpassed 300 million in 2008 (ITU), representing a significant market in their own right. Research group Informa Telecoms and Media estimates mobile networks now cover 90 per cent of the world’s population – 40 per cent of whom are covered but not connected.

ShopAfrica53 works like this: merchants first fill out an online form on the ShopAfrica53 website. They are then contacted by ShopAfrica, and an account is set up.

People wanting to buy goods and services on the website use the African Liberty Card to ensure the transactions are safe and not at risk from hackers and fraudsters. The disposable pre-paid scratch card can be used on mobile phones and the Internet and is purchased from store outlets.

ShopAfrica handles the logistical hassles of shipping to customers around the world, facilitates payment transfers, and helps with record keeping for merchants.

ShopAfrica offers an eclectic selection of goods: apparel and accessories, books and stationery, groceries, handicraft, health and personal care, home and garden, machinery and tools, technology and entertainment. It promises to offer the “best selection of African products, anywhere, worldwide” – everything from building supplies, household items and electronics to processed foods and fabrics.

One Ghanaian merchant, Mohammed Salifu, promises to deliver in two days a “large brown cow for delivery or collection. The size, colour and weight of animal will vary. This merchant provides live goats, sheep, cattle for special occasions and festivities and can also provide a slaughtering service for clients.”

Then there is Vera Ami Kpogli, who is selling a ‘Beyonce’ Electric Blue necklace. Tse-Lee Fashions offers Batik/Tie and Dye Print Shirt in aqua and navy. And for the ‘king’ of the house, Ama Afrique Designs is selling Men’s Royal Rulers, sandals “worn many centuries ago by African kings.”

The potential of this service to boost incomes is considerable: in the United Kingdom, online sales now make up 15 percent of all retail spending, reaching £43.8 billion (US $66.12 billion) in 2008 (IMRG).

As has been seen with other countries of the Global South, trade in high quality goods boosts incomes. South-South trade grew by an average of 13 percent per year between 1995 and 2007. By 2007, South-South trade made up 20 percent of world trade. And over a third of South-South commerce is in high-skill manufacturing. Making finished goods, rather than just selling raw materials, improves workers’ skill levels and increases the return on trade.

The rapid changes to African countries – the tilt to being more urban than rural, and being home to a larger urban population than North America, with 25 of the world’s fastest growing cities (International Institute for Environment and Development) – means there is an urgent need to boost incomes and better connect traders and manufacturers to the global economy.

ShopAfrica53 could be the start of a very big thing for African trade.

Published: May 2009

Resources

  • The red dot logo stands for belonging to the best in design and business. The red dot is an internationally recognised quality label for excellent design that is aimed at all those who would like to improve their business activities with the help of design.
    Website: www.red-dot.de
  • BOP Source is a platform for companies and individuals at the BOP (bottom of the pyramid) to directly communicate, ultimately fostering close working relationships, and for NGOs and companies to dialogue and form mutually valuable public-private partnerships that serve the BOP.
    Website: http://bopsource.ning.com/
  • Business Fights Poverty: Business Fights Poverty is the free-to-join, fast-growing, international network for professionals passionate about fighting world poverty through good business.
    Website: businessfightspoverty.ning.com
  • Dutch Design in Development: As a matchmaker, DDiD puts together European clients, Dutch designers and small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries. The designers share their knowledge of European consumer tastes, product development, design and quality standards
    Website: www.ddid.nl
  • Afriville is a Web 2.0 service and an African Caribbean social network. Afriville is a community website along the lines of the famous MySpace. Users are free to message and post profiles. The difference is that the user is able to choose how closed or open the networks are. The site features a state of the art music management system which allows African and Caribbean artists to get straight in touch with their fans.
    Website: www.afriville.com
  • Business Action for Africa: Business Action for Africa is an international network of businesses and business organisations from Africa and elsewhere, coming together in support of three objectives: to positively influence policies for growth and poverty reduction, to promote a more balanced view of Africa, and to develop and showcase good business practice in Africa
    Website: www.businessactionforafrica.org
  • Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) is a membership community for the e-retail industry, whose vision is to maximise the commercial potential of online shopping
    Website: www.imrg.org

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