Thursday, December 21, 2006

Can blogs shrink the planet?

Read a Wired report from the a Global Blogging Conference in Delhi. Describes global blogging and the use of blogs for campaigning, justice, shrinking the planet....

WATER - an example project 20km from Kambu

The Usalama Water Project blog aims to bring clean water to a village near Kibwezi and not far from Kambu (more or less here in the middle - kambu towards the bottom right). Engineers without borders (usa) are helping plan and build a pipeline tapping into the existing Mtito Andei pipeline which is 4km away. Obviously we are not going to lay a pipe and that is probably not what is needed anyway but the MDI people might be able to learn/start something useful researching from a blog like this. Note the use of the blog for publicity and accepting donations via paypal.

Want to watch a film about the project?

EUREPGAP - The global Partnership for Safe Sustainable Agriculture

The EUREPGAP site contains latest news, online training, trainer guidelines, publications etc... but the only protocol (from agribusiness information services) I found online for fruit and vegetable so far is from 2001 (a new one was approved in 2004, I think).

In Kenya realIPM provide EUREPGAP training (course overview) and other training and do field research including bioprospecting for natural crop protection. DFID funded the poster above and worked with Freshlink to help farmers acquire certification.

Kenya Gatsby Trust is working with AfriCert to mobilize and capacity build smallholder farmers for certification and in collaboration with Rockfeller Foundation, TechnoServe and AfriCert (formally a project of ICIPE) to facilitate accreditation of a local EUREPGAP certfying body and subsequent certification of MSEs to sustain and/or penetrate the European markets. They also have technology for agriculture projects and work with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology which is where one of the Mtito Andei Development Initiative members works.

IDRC also supported a Pride Africa project in Kirinyaga aimed at producing a EUREGAP booklet for local farmers (see also Pride Africa DRUMNET - phase 2 with IDRC ).

There is an EU FP7 project proposal "Common European standards for hygiene in the agricultural and food processing sector – Information and communication technologies and sensors for a user friendly verification management" (presentation) which I haven't yet found anymore info about.

And finally, a radio programme from oneworld, two trainers from Zambia describing their work with small scale farmers to meet Eurepgap export standards.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Freshlink (Vegetable Marketing Organisation)

From Promoting Growth in Africa: trade - A DFID factsheet
Access to International Markets
"If you’re a Kenyan farmer, how do you know what European shoppers want and demand? In Kenya, the DFID Business Services Marketing Development Project, supports ‘Freshlink’, which links small farmers with vegetable and fruit exporters. Freshlink provides technical training to farmers groups’ and helps the groups to establish quality control systems which enable them to comply with EurepGap, a European supermarket code of practice. Prior to the project, Freshlink was selling produce to only one exporter but now has contracts with 3 exporting companies. The number of farmers exporting produce has tripled and many have diversified into other crops such as passion fruit and snow peas. "

An interesting presentation on the work of Fresh Link "Breaking Barriers ­ - ­Freshlink Vegetable Marketing Organisation Producer Groups Experience" finishes by describing the challenges they face:

  1. Low growth of market size
  2. Markets failure to recognize and reward effective management through price incentives
  3. Weak commercial contracts
  4. Weak producer group management and governance structures
  5. High costs of implementing Eurepgap Standard and no commensurate increase in returns on investment
and asking for contributions (the presentation pdf)

A Nation (Nairobi Paper) describes the experience of one farmer and why he is switching from growing coffee to growing vegetables for Fresh Link (see here).

Not to be confused with fresh link .

Mtito Andei Development Initiative

We met the Mtito Andei Development Initiative community based organisation on a visit to Kambu. They have a history of collaboration with development projects in Kambu and a mission to 'alleviate poverty' in this area. Members of the group participated recently in a workshop on Community-based adaptation - how and why it works, and ways to mainstream in Nairobi.

From notes for a presentation by Rachel Berger (Practical Action) on "Community based adaptation, an approach to scaling up".
"Building capacities works best by involving those you want to influence from the start as partners and stakeholders. This we have found much more effective than merely demonstrating successful practice. There is a good example in Kathekani – the local CBO, Mtito Andei Development Initiatives, involved the governments – district officials in KARI, (Kenya Agricultural Research Institute) and ALRMP (the government’s Arid Lands Resource Management Programme) – in the promotion of amaranth as a dryland crop with high nutritive value; now the govt. is promoting the crop widely in the district, sourcing some seed from MDI"

To find out more about MDI see their blog.

Setting up a Community Computer Centre

A post from a Peace Corp Volunteer in Togo on his project to setup a community computer centre in collaboration with a local school (read about it here).

The comments on this post are interesting; people sharing their experience of trying to do similar things, worries about sustainability and cost, worries about 'technology evangelism', etc...

ICT4D Wiki

Just a link to a Wiki that links to a lot of ICT4D sites and resources. ICT4D_Wiki_home

Monday, December 11, 2006

W3C Workshop on the Mobile Web in Developing Countries

The "W3C Workshop on the Mobile Web in Developing Countries" aims to understand specific challenges of mobile Web access within Developing Countries, in terms of their needs, blocking factors, and potential usages.

For position papers see here