Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tourism for rural development, also an option for developing countries ?

Farm diversification into touristic activities, such as for example agro-tourism, has been recognized as an opportunity to diversify their income in Europe. Why could this concept not work in developing countries and lift rural poor out of poverty?

This week end, i joined a group of young and motivated people that took up the challenge to make tourism work for development in a small gurage village in Ethiopia.Two trips have already taking place.

Flyer for the next trip
The idea is to offer the tourist an opportunity to immerse into Ethiopian rural life, participating in every day rural life. Tourists pay these services, giving the opportunity for the locals to diversify their income and therefore increase their resilience.

Today, the group is not only preparing the 3rd trip but also starting to think about how to make sure that the value added of tourism is spread into the whole community. In other term, how can we make tourism work to become a sustainable, market based tool to promote bottom up rural development?  This is crucial to insure that tourism does not only benefits the few who provide services to the tourist but to the whole community and avoid that disparities in the community increases, making the poor poorer.

It is pretty challenging to find an efficient way to share benefits of tourism to the whole community. Maybe in the Ethiopian case one might make use of existing informal institutions. It is definitely an amazing challenging and interesting topic from which you are likely to hear more about on this blog.

Have a look at the website of the inside travel for more information about next trip.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bring safe drinking water to 1 million people with one click!

A post written by Lieselotte Heederik, co-founder of Nezava 

In rural Indonesia like in other many other developing countries only very few people have access to  safe drinking water from their tap. Each year 27,000 children die because of water borne diseases such as diarrhea. 70% of the population (168 million people) depend on a well for their household water, this means that their water is contaminated and unsafe for consumption. 25% of the population boils their water on wood which puts an enormous labor burden on women, causes respiratory diseases and CO2 emissions. Bottled water is expensive and of inconsistent quality so it still needs to be boiled.
The technology to solve this humanitarian disaster exists, but now it’s time to get it to the people
that need it most. We started Nazava Water Filters in 2009 in Indonesia. Nazava markets the safest and best affordable water filters to those households that earn less than 7 USD per day.
Find out more about it in this movie.


By 2016 we expect that our technology will
1. improve health of almost 1M people
2. increase disposable income of $ 12M
3. reduce CO2 emissions of 39,000 TONS carbon dioxide equivalent
4. employ for 350 people
Join us in our mission to provide safe and affordable drinking water, to everyone, everywhere.
Please vote for our participation at the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open in San Diego in June,
where we will be able to pitch our cause to impact investors and high level marketing innovators on this site http://www.sustainablebrands.com/events/sb13/innovation-open/vote.

Or visit us at http://nazava.com/english/index.php or facebook/nazava. You can also make a financial
contribution through our partner organization Kopernik at http://kopernik.info/en-us/proposal/drinks-are-on-me-0

Liselotte is my former housemate who one day decided to not only talk about a better world but contribute to it. I really admire her and her husband for their work they do on the ground in Indonesia. With this guest writer post, I hope you will join me in voting for them and give them a chance to join Sustainable Brands Innovation Open in San Diego.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Can livestock reverse climate change?

Last week, i reported on how sauerkraut juice  could be used for climate change mitigation. It was clearly a technology that suits the organic farms in humid  Europe. A colleague of mine from ILRI last week sent me a very interesting link about a technology that sounds pretty contra-intuitive but can help to mitigate climate change in arid areas.

Desertification, is one of the driver of climate change, as biomass is decreasing on that land and less CO2 is absorbed by plants. Today, it is often believed that livestock is one of the drivers of desertification and loss of soil fertility. Therefore, one often talks of "destocking", reducing the amount of livestock to a sustainable level, hoping to slow down the desertification process.

Allan Savory in this TED talk shows that this intuition is wrong and that stocking up massively in arid areas can in fact restore the ecosystem. A pretty impressive talk, convince yourself :

Allan's shows that seasonal grassland can only develop well when they have been destroyed in dry period. The bigger the herds, the more there is destruction. As they urinate they fertilize the soil but also poison their own food, obliging the herd to move on, preventing from overgrazing. So by stocking up livestock dramatically, then one can insure that all the grasslands are destroyed enough but not overgrazed and in the next rainy season will grow well, producing biomass and roots that allow more water to infiltrate the soil and producing more food for livestock.  This sounds so contra-intuitive but seems to work.