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Tourist Passion for Quirky Holidays Helps South

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

Conventional thinking holds that any country with a poor or non-existent reputation in the international media will not attract tourists. But this conventional thinking is wrong: The hottest tourist trend for 2009 is directly benefiting the South’s more out-of-the-way and under-appreciated countries. So says a travel expert who specializes in overlooked travel destinations.

Prior to the economic downturn, tourism accounted for more than 10 percent of global GDP and 8 percent of total employment worldwide. It grew by 6 percent in 2007, according to the UN World Tourism Organization. Tourism in the Asia-Pacific region grew by 10 percent and Africa by 8 percent.

But it has since declined by 8 percent between January and April of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008. Destinations worldwide recorded a total of 247 million international tourist arrivals in those four months, down from 269 million in 2008 (UNWTO World Tourism Barometer).

This means competition is heating up for tourists. Well-travelled tourists are now looking for out-of-the-way places and places far off the beaten track. They want to be unique and have a tale to tell when they get home.

Tony Wheeler, author of the book Bad Lands: A Tourist on the Axis of Evil and co-founder of the Lonely Planet travel guides, said “Lots of tourists want to be the first through the door.”

During the Fitur Travel Fair in Madrid in January 2009, Myanmar (formerly Burma) appeared for the first time. Europe’s biggest travel fair also saw Zimbabwe, the Palestinian territories and Iran chasing travellers to come and see the sights.

Wheeler told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper that, ironically, the more negative reports in the media a country gets, the more this new breed of tourist want to visit and find out the truth.

And his travel experiences have taught him, for example, the Burmese people do not believe in isolation and boycotts, as he wrote in the Guardian.

“Over the three decades since my first visit, tourism has grown from 20,000 tourists a year to more than 100,000.”
“Cutting the country off from the rest of the world isn’t going to help. We recently received a letter from one of our Burma authors saying the psychological damage of being isolated can be as bad as the economic damage.”

North Korea – which was labelled part of the “axis of evil” by President George W. Bush – saw its foreign tourist numbers rise to 4,500 in 2008 from just 600 in 2001.

Ross Kennedy of Africa Albida Tourism, which operates safari lodges in Zimbabwe, said bad headlines hurt but presenting an alternative view can reverse apprehension and lure tourists to come.

The lodges saw a 4 percent rise in visitors in 2008 in spite of chaotic elections in Zimbabwe that drew negative press.

“You certainly can’t write off an entire destination because of the choices or behaviour of a few individuals,” Kennedy told the Telegraph.

Tourism is now generally recognized to be one of the largest industries in the world, if not the largest. It has grown rapidly and almost continuously over the past 20 years, and is now one of the world’s most significant sources of employment and of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Tourism particularly benefits the economies of developing countries, where most of the sector’s new tourism jobs and businesses are being created.

Tourism, because it is a labor-intensive industry, is seen as a great way both to reduce poverty and to meet all the Millennium Development Goals. It favours small-scale businesses, it is decentralized and can diversify regional economies, it is relatively non-polluting and can contribute to the conservation and promotion of natural and cultural heritage, and most importantly it can act as a catalyst for kick-starting other sectors of the economy.

In Iran, the Laleh Kandovan International Rocky Hotel, located in the province of East Azerbaijan in the north-west of the country, has been luring in tourists with the villages’ cave homes. Located in the village of Kandovan, where residents speak a Turkish dialect, the homes look like craggy sandcastles with holes in them; around 700 people live in the hollowed out rocks.

Prior to the hotel opening, it was only possible to visit for a day and the locals, who make their money harvesting fruit and walnuts, were suspicious of outsiders.

Kandovan means “Land of the Unknown Carvers”. An added attraction to visiting Kandovan is the mystery surrounding the houses. No one knows how long people have been there or when the homes were carved out of the rock. Others claim it is the biblical land of Nod, where Cain was left to wander after murdering his brother Abel.

The hotel occupies a hillside of caves and has a large restaurant and rooms that blend traditional décor like Persian rugs with modernist touches like recessed lighting. The rooms offer under-floor heating and some even have whirlpool baths. The hotel currently has 10 rooms, but plans to expand to 30.

Published: July 2009

Resources

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Website: www.unwto.org

Magic Carpet Travel: It specializes in trips to Iran and bookings for the Laleh Kandovan International Rocky Hotel. Website: www.magic-carpet-travel.com

African Travel and Tourism Association: ATTA creates the platform for buyers across Europe to meet suppliers of African tourism products at networking events, trade shows and through its links with the media. Website: www.atta.co.uk

Planeta: One of the first ecotourism resources to go online (since 1994) and still offers plenty of information for those wanting to start a business. Website: www.planeta.com

Off The Beaten Track Travel Magazine: Off The Beaten Track is a site for the traveller who avoids the beaten path of mass tourism. Website: www.off-the-beaten-track.net

World Tourism Cities: Developing Tourism Off the Beaten Track, edited by Robert Maitland and Peter Newman, Publisher: Routledge. Website: www.amazon.com

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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Tiny Homes to Meet Global Housing Crisis

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

More than 1 billion people around the world lack decent shelter. Of these, the majority live in urban areas, usually in slums and informal settlements (UN-HABITAT).

The world’s megacities – like Mumbai, India, where more than 22 million live in the metropolitan region – have to find a way to provide housing that is both affordable and does the minimum possible amount of harm to the environment.

About one-third of the world’s urban dwellers live in slums, and the United Nations estimates that the number of people living in such conditions will double by 2030 as a result of rapid urbanization in developing countries.

The fast pace of growth of India’s cities presents an enormous challenge: how to house so many people with dignity and to a good standard. India’s city slums are notorious and recently became the subject of the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire (http://www.slumdogmillionairemovie.co.uk/).

With a population of 1.2 billion, India needs to find 25 million homes a year to meet current demand, according to McKinsey and Co.

Housing prices have risen by 16 percent a year for the past four years. While the middle class – estimated at over 300 million people – has piled into high-end apartments and houses, it has been the country’s low-income people who have been frozen out of the option of quality homes.

The concept of targeting those at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ (BOP) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fortune_at_the_Bottom_of_the_Pyramid) has drawn attention to the estimated 23 million poor urban dwellers in India, and 180 million rural families, who have savings and want to own a home. Monitor India (http://www.monitor.com/in/) believes these people have annual earnings between US $1,400 and US $3,000.

The Indian manufacturing powerhouse Tata – which this year launched a BOP-focused car, the Tata Nano – has designed and is building, Nano Homes – small apartments outside Mumbai for US $8,600 (http://tatahousing.in/pages/home.php). It also hopes to expand to other major Indian cities as well.

The Nano homes are built on a modest scale: there are three sizes with the smallest measuring 67 square metres. They consist of a single room that doubles as a bedroom by night with a sink, bath and toilet behind a partition.

Criticisms include location – on the edges of major cities – where residents would have to commute long distances to get to their jobs.

Even so, Nano apartments are so popular buyers are being chosen by lottery.

“India’s housing crisis lies in the fact that the poor in the cities are priced out of the market,” Sundar Burra, an adviser to the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centre, a Mumbai-based housing rights organization, told Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

“State supply of housing for the poor is woefully inadequate in relation to the need. Slums proliferate as a solution to this state of affairs.”

People can get a mortgage for the homes from Tata Home Finance.

Tata is not the only company targeting this market. India’s Matheran Realty (http://www.tmcity.in/) is building what it claim is India’s largest affordable housing project, Tanaji Malusare City, in the villages of Shirse and Akurle of Karjat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karjat). The 15,000 homes would house 70,000 people and would sell for US $4,698.

Another developer, Godrej Properties (http://www.godrejproperties.com/), is building a BOP housing development outside the city of Ahmedabad with apartments costing US $11,749.

“(Property) developers have recognized that the real demand no longer lies in the premium segment and are opting to build smaller, no-frills apartments,” said Deepak Parekh of the Housing Development Finance Corporation (http://www.hdfcindia.com/).

It estimates the affordable housing market will be worth US$ 110 billion in India by 2013 and will account for 80 percent of India’s housing market.

“Affordable housing is not about box-sized, budget homes in far-flung places where there is no connectivity to workplaces and little surrounding infrastructure,” Parekh told HDFC’s shareholders. “Affordable housing has to be able to cut across all income segments and has to make economic sense in terms of proximity to the workplace.”

Published: November 2009

Resources

1) Building and Social Housing Foundation: BSHF is an independent organisation that works both in the UK and internationally to identify innovative housing solutions and to foster the exchange of information and good practice. Website: http://www.bshf.org/home.cfm

2) Tiny House Design Blog: The blog is full of ideas and plans for making small homes cheaply. Website: http://www.tinyhousedesign.com/

3) A blog detailing the Tata dwellings in diagrams and photographs. Website: http://www.tslr.net/2009/06/tatas-nano-homes.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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Clay Filters are Simple Solution for Clean Water

By David SouthDevelopment Challenges, South-South Solutions

SOUTH-SOUTH CASE STUDY

Access to clean water is critical to good health. It is a basic human need that when met, leads to the biggest improvements in health and well-being. Dirty water causes diarrhoea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diarrhea), cholera and typhoid. Diseases caused by dirty drinking water kill almost 5,000 children a day around the world (WHO).

But millions have benefited from a simple solution using clay filters invented and pioneered in Central America, and now manufactured by 28 small factories in 23 countries – the largest in Ghana and Cambodia. Each factory makes up to several thousand filters a day. They offer an ingenious solution that also creates local jobs and skills.

Looking like 30 centimetre-high flowerpots, the filters designed by Guatemalan chemist Fernando Mazariegos blend local clay and plant husks to create a filter capable of killing 98 percent of the contaminants that cause diarrhoea. The husks are burnt away when the filters are fired in a kiln, creating tiny holes that filter out harmful organisms. A coating of colloidal silver (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colloidal_silver) is painted on the filters after they have been fired in the kiln.

“Each filter can support a family of six,” said Kaira Wagoner, Coordinator of Ceramic Water Filter Projects with the NGO Potters for Peace (www.pottersforpeace.org). Founded in Nicaragua but now US-based, Potters for Peace has popularized the filters and helps with all the training and support required to establish the workshops and market the filters.

The first filter-making workshop was set up in Managua, Nicaragua after Hurricane Mitch in 1999 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Mitch). That workshop has made and distributed 40,000 filters through the Red Cross and NGOs such as Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders. Potters for Peace has now stopped running workshops and factories themselves, and provides others with the training and advice necessary to produce clay filters.

To work, the filters are placed in a plastic bucket, a spigot added, and a cover put on top to prevent contamination. The filters are capable of filtering four litres of water an hour.

The genius behind the filters is the fact they can be made by small, local workshops – making access to clean water available anywhere, and creating jobs. Just three to four people can produce up to 50 filters a day. According to tests by the Family Foundation of the Americas, a Guatemalan NGO, the filters halve the incidence of diarrhoea in households that use them.

“The cost of establishing a workshop varies largely,” said Wagoner, “depending on the factory’s location, desired production – from 50 per day to 1000 per day – and on the equipment already available in the potter’s workshop. Potters for Peace generally tries to work with potters who already have some of the needed equipment, such as a hammer mill and clay mixer.

“Filters are distributed hand in hand with health and sanitation information which highlights practices such as hand washing,” said Wagoner. “Since many individuals would otherwise boil their water, the filter significantly reduces the time many women would spend gathering firewood. This gives them time for other things such as school and income generating activities, and is better for the environment, especially in locations where problems with deforestation are significant.”

Experience has found marketing is key to the successful adoption of the filters by communities.

“It is very difficult to create a market in a region of poverty,” said Beverly Pillars, also from Potters for Peace, “and to gain acceptance of a new product that the community will want to purchase to keep a workshop sustainable. NGOs may distribute the ceramic water filters, but for the community to fully accept the idea of seeking out clean, safe drinking water on their own, we urge the local owners of the factory to be innovative in marketing.

“Our best approach has been to select partners in developing areas that have some experience such as a potter or brick maker, and help them to find methods that work in their communities to distribute as many of the ceramic water filters as possible, such as a distribution link through local health centres and small corner markets, adds in Yellow Pages, road signs.”

To get a workshop up and running, they need to have a machine to press the clay filters, a kiln to fire them, and a pyrometer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrometer) to measure the temperature of the kiln. It usually takes between three and six weeks of training to become proficient at making the filters. Trainers help with acquiring the proper equipment, building the kiln, the clay filter formula, quality control procedures, and marketing techniques and materials.

“My advice to people wanting to start making filters is to look for local craftspeople to partner with,” said Pillars. “Look at local access to brick, clay and sawdust. Be prepared for hard and rewarding work to bring safe, clean drinking water to developing populations.

“Every location is a best location, because the demand for safe, clean drinking water worldwide is so great. The beauty of the ceramic water filter technology is that it uses very few resources: clay, sawdust or other burnout material available and bricks for a kiln. We have found these resources to be present worldwide.”

The filter has been cited by the United Nations’ Appropriate Technology Handbook, and is used by the International Red Cross and the Nobel Prize winning medical relief organization Doctors Without Borders. There are plans to start more filter factories in Cote d’Ivoire, Bolivia and Somaliland.

Published: December 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

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Southern Innovator Magazine | 2010 – 2014 

By David South

“I think you [David South] and the designer [Solveig Rolfsdottir] do great work and I enjoy Southern Innovator very much!” 

Ines Tofalo, Programme Specialist, United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation
Southern Innovator in Tianjin, China.
Issue 5 of Southern Innovator at the Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) 2014 held in Washington, D.C.
Volunteers in Nairobi, Kenya pose with Southern Innovator Issue 4 at the Global South-South Development Expo (GSSD Expo) in 2013.
Southern Innovator Editor and Writer David South in Australia.
Southern Innovator Graphic Designer and Illustrator Sólveig Rolfsdóttir in Iceland.

Some comments that have come in so far about SI’s first issue:

“What a tremendous magazine your team has produced! It’s a terrific tour de force of what is interesting, cutting edge and relevant in the global mobile/ICT space… Really looking forward to what you produce in issues #2 and #3. This is great, engaging, relevant and topical stuff.”, to “Looks great. Congratulations. It’s Brill’s Content for the 21st century!”

What they are saying about SI on Twitter: From @CapacityPlus Nice job RT @ActevisCGroup: RT @UNDP: Great looking informative @SouthSouth1 mag on South-South Innovation; @UNDP Great looking informative @SouthSouth1 mag on South-South Innovation; @JeannineLemaireGraphically beautiful & informative @UNDP Southern Innovator mag on South-South Innov. 

And on Pinterest:

Peggy Lee • 1 year ago 

“Beautiful, inspiring magazine from UNDP on South-South innovation. Heart is pumping adrenaline and admiration just reading it”

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