As the original two-year project timeframe comes to an end, I've been looking into possible directions for the future. To summarize to these possibilities:
1) Launch a water and irrigation start-up that builds upon the 'outgrower' agriculture model to provide village water services in combination with irrigation investments for community revenue generation.
This idea has gone through many revisions over the past year. Here are a few:
Dell Social Innovation Challenge
William James Foundation Sustainable Business Competition
I've become convinced that business models possess the most potential for generating lasting change in Africa's rural sector. Water and irrigation obviously go hand-in-hand, and providing both together has the potential to bring a community past the tipping point toward prosperity.
2) Develop partnerships with research organizations, such as the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, to bring research tools to the specific challenges facing rural Africa.
Research is also an important element in addressing development challenges. Unfortunately, most research focuses on the West's problems, because most research occurs in the West. Of all of Zambia's medical graduates since the 1960's, about half left the country for better opportunities. But as Africa develops its own research institutions, it will need to address its own research problems. A few examples of my own research in this context:
Global Water Forum Emerging Scholars Award
Rural Water Financing Article
At the moment, these two ideas are both possibilities. I'm praying for direction as I finish my PhD in February and move on to the next step.
Sari and I both appreciate your help very much in making this project possible. We continue to invest in Simango and hope to be back there soon to take the project to the next step.
We are still in need of financial contributions to provide the gardeners with treadle pumps for their hard work! Do consider making a donation this holiday season. All recurring donations are matched!
Stay posted on progress at outoftheground.org. The website should be upgraded soon thanks to Global Giving's partnership with the Kennesaw State Art Institute graduate design course, which has offered us a free website re-design. Thanks Nisha and Dr. Lin Hightower! See our newly designed logo below.
Adam, Sari, Nuria and Mae