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Off To The Printers With A New Name: Southern Innovator | 14 May 2010

The new global magazine Creative Sparks now has a new name: Southern Innovator. It is off to the printer and shall be released very soon. Keep an eye here for more details as the magazine launches and rolls out across the globe. It is a complex endeavour to pull together a global magazine to a tight budget and this is only the beginning. A small but talented and experienced team have been working on the project and have received cooperation and assistance from many people spanning many countries. It is hoped the magazine will play a helpful role in the push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals as 2015 approaches.

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© David South Consulting 2010

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New Magazine! | 13 October 2010

Just back from a trip to Canada and am headlong into the production of a new magazine. The magazine is being made in collaboration with Icelandic graphic designer and illustrator Solveig Rolfsdottir. As the magazine progresses, I shall post more on the blog about its creative journey and details about its launch.

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This work is licensed under a
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© David South Consulting 2010

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Kiva: New Gateway of Loans for the Poor

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

The rise of social networking websites has created new opportunities for the poor to gain access to much needed credit. Kiva.org is pioneering a new way for entrepreneurs in the South to obtain for their businesses unsecured, no-interest financing from lenders worldwide. By just a click of the mouse a person anywhere in the world can lend as little as US $25 or more to aspiring entrepreneurs in developing countries.

Kiva, which means “agreement” or “unity” in Swahili, was founded by Matthew and Jessica Flannery after time spent in East Africa. They built upon the idea of Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Mohammud Yunus’ Grameen Bank but took it a step further by tapping into the resources of the web. It works by allowing potential lenders to search for an entrepreneur via the website. Each entrepreneur’s business idea is explained, a photo of the entrepreneur is posted and the amount of the loan they require and how much they have raised so far are clearly displayed. It is then a simple matter of the lenders using their credit cards to make a loan online. Kiva then transfers all the funds to their local partners (microfinance institutions) which, in turn, disburse the loans to each business. All entrepreneurs are screened for their trustworthiness and the viability of their business. Loans are usually between 6 to 12 months and lenders receive regular email journal updates from the business they sponsor. Gradually, the loan is paid back and the lender is returned the full value of the loan.

The process is so simple that one may ask, “Does this really work?” Take the story of Nicholas Kristof, columnist for the New York Times who recently accounted his experience with Kiva.org in his New York Times Op-Ed piece, “You, Too, Can Be a Banker to the Poor”. Through Kiva.org he chose two entrepreneurs, a baker and an owner of a TV repair shop in Afghanistan and lent them US $25 each instantly making himself a business partner with total strangers. He recently visited Afghanistan to see their progress and found two thriving businesses. Mr. Abdul Satar, the baker, borrowed a total of US $425 from a variety of lenders, Nicholas being one of them, and was able to open a second bakery with four employees. Mr. Abdul Saboor who runs a small TV repair shop now has a second shop with two new employees.

By harnessing a user friendly website to make instant cash loans, Kiva has come up with one of the simplest and most direct ways to help poor entrepreneurs who need start up capital. It was first tried out in Uganda about a year ago where partnerships were forged with local microfinance institutions that examined and evaluated each business before they were posted on the website. It has now attracted close to 18,000 lenders contributing an average of US $82.

“I believe the real solutions to poverty alleviation hinge on bringing capitalism and business to areas where there wasn’t business or where it wasn’t efficient,” co-founder Matthew Flannery told the New York Times. “This doesn’t have to be charity. You can partner with someone who’s halfway around the world.”

Published: April 2007

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.

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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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Old Adage Gets New Life

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

Education is recognized as critical for development and improving people’s lives. Universal primary education is a Millennium Development Goal and countries are now allocating more funds for primary education across the global South. However, the options available to youth after primary education are often very limited.

The World Bank estimates that only nine percent of youth in the developing world will be able to go to a university or benefit from higher education scholarships. For the vast majority of youth, getting a job is often the only viable option to securing a livelihood; but in most developing countries the number of formal sector jobs is low and the only option is self-employment. Acquiring relevant training and practical skills can be crucial to becoming successfully self-employed. But where will the training and skills come from and who will provide it and pay for it?

This dilemma is being addressed by the “self-sufficient schools” concept. The model combines entrepreneurship and vocational education through school-based businesses that blend training and revenue-generation. The principle is simple: entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills are taught by successful entrepreneurs.

The model is being pioneered in several countries and has been successfully applied by UK-based charity TeachAManToFish in Ghana and Paraguay, targeting rural youth from farming families through a network of 250 vocational experts and institutions in 45 countries. The approach promotes a model for making education both more relevant and financially sustainable in rural communities.

Self-sufficient schools share several characteristics: they produce and sell goods and services; they focus on developing an entrepreneurial culture; they make a direct connection between theory, practical work and financial reward; they encourage learning by doing; they strive to keep improving in order to remain economically competitive; students are encouraged to work cooperatively; and students receive support after graduating, often in the form of microfinance for their new businesses.

In the South American nation of Paraguay, the Fundacion Paraguaya – San Francisco Agricultural High School – run by an NGO committed to poverty reduction through supporting entrepreneurship – found that small-scale farmers not only knew how to produce food, they also knew how to make a prosperous living out of it when given the right tools. Taking over a school previously run by a religious order, the NGO had the opportunity to put the concept to the test.

The organization’s head, Martin Burt states, ”It is not a matter of knowing how to grow the crop, or raise the animal; it is a matter of how to make money and then how to be financially successful doing farming in poor countries.”

The Paraguayan school is half way through its five-year plan, and already is covering two thirds of its recurring costs from the production and sale of goods and services, including specialist cheeses.

Published: May 2007

Resources

  • A paper on the concept of self-sufficient schools: Click here
  • CIDA City Campus, Johannesburg, South Africa: CIDA is the country’s only “’free’, open-access, holistic, higher educational facility” and is “operated and managed by its students, from administration duties to facilities management. In addition every student is required to return to their rural schools and communities, during holidays, to teach what they have learnt.”
  • The First International Conference on Self-Sufficient Schools is being planned by TeachAManToFish. Expressions of interest are sought from all individuals and organizations interested in taking part in the conference. Email conference@teachamantofish.org.uk for more information.

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