Thursday, April 17, 2014

You're welcome : or why you should thank Africa?

For the Easter week end I would like to share with you a very funny TED talk. He is mapping innovation in the world. He takes the light map of the world  : "All the places with lots of electricity, it isn't (where innovation happens). And the reason it isn't is because everybody's watching television or playing Angry Birds".

Toby Shapshak, is explaining which african technologies have changed the world and probably your life. Enjoy the talk!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Shamba shape-up : or how to make farming a cool business

In the strive to get smart dissemination channels to reach out smallholder farmers, the CGIAR along with many other partners set up a TV show, named shamba shape-up (in swahili shamba means farm), that gives agricultural advise from experts, including the results from research done in my institute.

The shows contain useful information to improve agricultural productivity for example about how to cope with climate change, how to bread and benefit from livestock, about new products on market like insurances or new or improved crops. The program is made in Swahili and in English and is shown on Citizen TV, a TV station that reaches out to all urban and rural Kenyan, as well as to Uganda and Tanzania. After the show, if you live in Kenya, you can send an sms to 30606 with your name and postal address, and then a leaflet summarizing the TV show with the essential contacts will be sent to you for free. You can also download the leaflet from the website or follow on Facebook, on Twitter or by subscribing by mail. A pretty cool way to reach out to many smallholder farmers, offering them different channels to access information.

Here is one episode :

Thanks to the order of leaflet with sms, Shamba shape-up has a wide collection of phone numbers of farmers, who disclosed themselves as being interested to improve their farm. Shamba shape-up could therefore be a very interesting partner to spread relevant information as well as provide database of potentially contributing farmers for crowed-sourcing, i.e. farmers who could share information about their farms with us.

In all cases, it is an interesting source of information, not only for smallholder farmers in Kenya, but for all of you who are interested about what real rural Kenyan problems are. It might also be an eye-opener for those of you who still believe that these people are still waiting for your second hand clothes :-) .

So check it out here

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A 360 degree view on the Nile

Having worked in the Nile basin for two years on hydrology, i have slowly developed my own opinion about the Grand renaissance Dam on the Nile in Ethiopia. This blog has regularly commented news about the dam and tried to provide first hand information from the dam, where only very few people have been.

Obviously, this topic has attracted a lot of interest, as these posts are among the most read ones, but also people have contacted me for interviews. Here is one of the article for which i got the opportunity to share my vision. This is a nice report that looks at the dam from all side, well balanced, not taking side nor for the Egyptian nor for the Ethiopian, just trying to set the information right. A nice read!