A 'Juicy' Story!

The need to find alternative livelihoods for local Nigerian women has become a recurring theme in recent online/Nigeria meetings.

In particular, concerns have been expressed about the issue of those who collect firewood to sell. This practice is unsustainable and is contributing to de-forestation.
The women themselves recognise this but cannot afford to stop until they have an alternative source of income. Initially the team believed that the purchase of efficient wood stoves would be benificial. But they are very expensive and it was felt that this would not be feasible until a new stream of income is in place.

However, never fear! The ever-resourceful John Dada and his team have come up with a suggestion that Dadamac Foundation  is only too happy to support. Juicers!

Climate change, peak oil, special interest groups

Hi Vijay.

You were thinking about climate change, its impact on Africa, and the reliability of forecasters. We don't have any current Dadamac project or Special Interest Group (SIG) related to climate change, but that doesn't mean that we couldn't have one. Dadamac is concerned with using the Internet to help people rub minds and learn from each other - especially people who could never have connected with each other before the Internet existed.

Renewable energy initiatives

Hi Vijay

I enjoyed reading your blog. it seems that we do share the same concerns and have similar ideas.  The ideas of technology transfer and of investing in renewable energy initiatives are dear to my heart (and got some mention in my blog "Pam - we want street lights") so I was interested to read about the President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed, and especially his comments that:

The Western countries cannot ask "dynamically fast developing" countries like India not to produce or consume energy in order to control carbon emissions. The better option for the rich countries is to invest in renewable energy initiatives and facilitate transfer of technology to developing countries.

Farming at Fantsuam

THIS week's UK/Nigeria meeting provided another fascinating and informative hour, covering subjects as diverse as the training of local Nigerian instructors, crayfish and sms credit!

And all this despite an intermittent problem with time delay, which served as a gentle reminder that connectivity is still a considerable problem for most rural communities.
What particularly caught my attention was Fantsuam's ability to identify and respond to their communities' local needs. They are concerned, for instance, that their women farmers - comprising of around 1,500 of their microfinance clients - have difficulty affording fertiliser. This of course affects their productivity and ability to repay loans.

To combat this Fantsuam has put in order for a delivery of organic fertiliser to serve these women, which is due to arrive within a fortnight. They will then monitor the situation to see if this helps alleviate the problem. Should it do so, the order will be repeated!

I was also interested to learn of research by the new VSO at Fantsuam, which is focusing on two main local agricultural markets - namely catfish and soya bean. We will look forward to hearing the results in due course.

Why Maldives is Worried About Climate Change?

President of Maldives Mohamed Nasheed is one of the most outspoken spokespersons on the immediate need to end the climate impasse (over caps on carbon emissions) between the developed West and emerging countries like China and India. He believes that climate is now becoming a security than an environmental issue.

Nasheed is more worried than other heads of states since he fears (based on predictions by scientists) that his island nation might cease to exist owing to rise in sea levels triggered by climate change. In an article published in The New York Times just a month after he got elected in December 2008, Nasheed wrote that "for the first time in the country's history, the Maldives faces a new threat. The new danger is of apocalyptic, existential proportions, and it looms silently, invisibly and menacingly over our azure horizon." He brought the extreme vulnerability of his country to the global centre stage by holding an underwater meeting of his Cabinet.

Africa, India, MDGs

Hi Vijay

Thank you for your open letter today directing our attention to Nobel prize winner Elinor Ostrom and her work to show that privatising natural resources is not the answer for stemming environmental degradation.

I also appreciate the fact that you have introduced the issue of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)  For me your blog was a strong reminder that there is great overlap between the problems of India and Africa (so it is good that you have brought an Indian perspective to add to Dadamac's usual African concerns). I was especailly struck by the comment that "FAO says Asia and the Pacific has the largest number of hungry people (642 million) followed by Sub-Saharan Africa with 265 million."

I wonder if there is any chance you will see this before the day is out (and of course, given our time differences, your day is much close to ending than mine is). Anyhow - in the hope that you do see this - you may be interested to know that today is blog action day, and bloggers worldwide are encouraged to post blogs about climate change.

Nobel Victory for the Commons

It has been a record haul for women at the Nobel prizes this year. But more heartening for me was the Nobel for economics going to a political scientist, who has worked painstakingly to show that privatising natural resources is not the answer for stemming environmental degradation.

US-based Elinor Ostrom’s studies have challenged established economic thinking that natural resources can either be owned by the State or the private sector. They have shown that fish stocks, pastures, woods, lakes and groundwater basins can be managed better as common resources by communities. 

I don’t know who should celebrate more for this recognition, economists or political scientists? But, as The Guardian’s Kevin Gallagher says in his column, the Nobel prize for Ostrom is a call to economists to spend a lot more time analysing human behaviour, rather than assuming that we are all rational selfish individuals.


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