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GSR Newsletter Issue No. 5 - August 2013


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GSR's Monthly Newsletter. This month we focus our articles primarily on restorative agriculture and infrastructure development.

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GSR Newsletter Issue No. 5 - August 2013

  1. 1. GSR's Newsletter is a collection of news, reflections, innovations and ideas that our team has found important enough to write down and share with you. We hope you'll be as excited as we are with all the latest developments around the world and what it means for us all. GSR Newsletter Issue No. 5 August 2013 Crowdfunding to Support a Major Climate Change Breakthrough! (Guest Author, Chris Danch) GSR is preparing to launch a series of crowdfunding campaigns to raise money to rapidly proliferate the program. Rapid expansion will make it possible to reduce greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere to pre-industrial levels. We would like to ask your help to make these campaigns successful. To reverse the devastating effects of climate change and land degradation, we must rapidly reduce emissions and sequester large amounts of excess carbon from the atmosphere. Up to now, there hasn’t been a single financially viable sequestration technology. GSR is now ready to unveil a highly cost-effective global solution to the problem of carbon sequestration. The GSR system makes it possible to pull more than 10 billion tons of carbon out of the atmosphere per year, and in effect reverses the trends pushing us towards climate change. Best of all, once the program is fully operational, it actually pays for itself. How does GSR do this? Carbonsequestrationcan only be effectively and safely accomplished by biologically-driven CO2 sequestration. What we must do is optimally put the biosphere back to work. The part of the biosphere with greatest carbon sequestration potential is soil. Conventional (industrial) agriculture is destructive to the soil, releasing carbon back into the atmosphere. As a result, a major cause of climate change is land degradation, or desertification, caused by conventional agriculture. But GSR practices restorative agriculture that sustains and improves nutrient levels in the soil. This reverses the flow of carbon from the atmosphere back into the soil. The GSR model was originally formulated as a cost-effective agricultural empowerment program for villages in Africa, based on training farmers in the use of organic restorative agriculture. It has proved to be highly successful and popular with villages because it results in rapid growth in income for small farmers. The popularity of the GSR program creates the potential for rapid and widespread replication across Africa – on a scale that makes a real impact. The amount of CO2 that could be sequestered by GSR in the next 10 years is staggering. GSR’s projection is that we will be capable of restoring at least 60 million hectares of grasslands and marginal farmland through restorative agriculture in as little as five years given sufficient initial funding. At this scale of restoration, we will make steady, critical progress in reducing excess atmospheric carbon to pre-industrial levels. The best place to begin this process of bio-remediation on a big scale is Africa. Currently, millions of people in African rural communities have the motivation,
  2. 2. energy and skill to engage in restorative agriculture on tens of millions of acres of land. But these communities need our help. GSR’s proven, working model of rural community development is a key factor required to unleash this human potential. You can make a difference in this great campaign to save the planet by supporting and effectively communicating our crowdfunding efforts. Visit our site to find out more! What is a Sound Development Model? Most development projects in Sub-Saharan Africa are plagued with organizational, systemic and funding problems. There are any case studies of schools, clinics, electric dams and factories being built in Africa. However these projects became failures that did not significantly improve the well-being of rural communities, mainly due to many organizations working under a different mindset required for successful development in Africa. In the Western World, an organization works to provide specific products or services by plugging into the complex grid of commerce, industry, and urbane retail markets. The organization typically doesn’t expand its enterprise outside of the areas of these specialized products or services. Whether it is IGO, NGO, or corporate projects, a common theme that results in a failed project is specialization. Specialization is the wrong development strategy for African communities, as the “grid” has not been developed to the point where specialization can benefit the community. For instance, if an electric dam is built, how will the local community benefit if there are no transformer stations or power lines constructed? Most of the people in the village are subsistence farmers will lack the capital required to facilitate further development of the electric grid once the dam has been constructed. It is virtually guaranteed that none of the generated energy will be used by the people who need it the most, unless further foreign investment comes to the rural community. The best resolution to Africa’s problems is a generalist and holistic approach to development. Therefore what is required is a broad holistic approach to simultaneously develop infrastructure, training and local enterprises (i.e. providing Small to Midsized Enterprise or "SME" investment and financial services) and create a situation where the rural community can dynamically grow on all fronts. GSR has taken note of this shortcoming and tries to use a holistic community development model that incorporates all facets of community growth. 'Holistic' implies that GSR must be prepared to deal with a broad spectrum of needs, from training, employment, market infrastructure, products and services, as well as aiding a community’s interactions with international partners and affiliate organizations. The most cost-effective method is by developing deep partnerships with local communities and engineering development projects jointly. Local buy-in is essential. If GSR was to sum up its community empowerment methodology in one phrase, it would be BOOT ("Build Own Operate Transer" is an acronym well known amongst infastructure developers). We ensure that the local “grid” is well- established by helping our local partners build the grid from the bottom up. This is the only way that rural communities can become strong and interface with the global market in the same way that the rest of the world does. What is Good Crisis Management? Crises are a natural and frequent part of everyday life, especially for rural communities in developing countries. GSR proposes a simple yet effective means to manage crises, through prevention via planning and development of appropriate programs, technologies, and infrastructure. The precursor to effective crisis management for villages in the developing world is building strong and stable local economies. Conventional crisis management does not
  3. 3. emphasize infrastructure development, which is one of the areas of primary focus in the GSR village development model. Conventional wisdom focuses on cleanup after a crisis occurs, placing a band aid via delivering countless tons of food aid from across the globe. We ask why not solve the local problem with a local solution? GSR tries to tackle crisis management through preventative measures. Appropriate infrastructure development goes hand-in-hand with effective training and financial empowerment programs leading to sustained improvement in supply of food, water and shelter. Solutions for overcoming development barriers are intricately tied with infrastructure improvements. This approach makes it easier for a rural community to deal with sudden crises and keep a bulk of capital within the region. Once funds have been appropriately budgeted, GSR acquires local building materials, either through setting up construction workshops or purchasing goods from local craftsmen (including the services of carpenters, brick-makers, landscapers, etc.) This emphasis on local construction and craftsmanship helps to invigorate regional commerce and industry and it paves the way for small farmers to integrate to local and global markets. GSR’s development model focuses on helping our local partners build self-reliant village clusters. We will ensure that small farmers and craftsmen will only have to travel short distances to do business. The marketplace will be right in their back yard. In a cluster of 20- 30 villages GSR will build a granary, mill and warehouse to securely clean and store crops and goods. These storage facilities make it easier to deal with disaster relief during hard times. For a cluster of ten villages GSR will build a multi-purpose town hall to hold all types of public functions and festivities and enable people to frequently gather together for group recreational activities. For a cluster of five villages, GSR will build a health clinic and a school. In every village, GSR will install a water system for collecting rain, river, and spring water and have it aggregated to a cistern to be treated and stored as a readily available source of clean water. GSR also seek to make the village an appealing place to live, where children and adults can play in parks, sports fields, and enjoy the aesthetics of beautiful gardens. Prosperity is meant to be enjoyed. A happy community is a strong functional community that can be best prepared for any form of crisis thanks to high levels of organization, cooperation, and sense of civic pride and unity. Warehousing and Distribution Warehousing and distribution is an important part of development planning that cannot be stressed enough when an outside organization like GSR tries to trigger changes that lead to a strong local economy in Africa’s rural communities. It helps minimize the stressors of famines, droughts, and civil unrest because it provides opportunity for capital to stay and be reinvested back into the local economy as opposed to all the wealth flowing out. GSR helps local communities establish Village Development Corporations (VDC), which are responsible for growing and stabilizing the local economy, handling appropriate commercial deals with external organizations, regions and countries. Although the VDC is a business organization, it functions like a local government municipality. The VDC practices risk management and ensures small farmers a stable market price for their goods and maintains or improves existing public works over time. It sets up and maintains warehouses for every cluster of 15 villages and manages a forum or market square for every cluster of five villages and maintains the network of locally constructed roads (built by local construction workers and craftsmen). The emphasis on local labor and construction materials further promotes economic growth in rural areas aside from agriculture. Why has GSR chosen this as the crux of our development model for Africa? This is because we believe Africa needs an entrepreneurial approach rather than an NGO or IGO approach. After consulting many economists, agronomists,
  4. 4. anthropologists, development specialists, political scientists and other experts, GSR has concluded the VDC is the best possible means to invigorate local commerce, agriculture and economy on the local level in Africa. GSR hopes to minimize the disturbances by establishing a strong corporate model comprised of the local community as they best understand their own benefits and risks. Together with GSR’s training and consultation, the VDCs can systematically tackle all the problems that the local communities face. Follow on Twitter Friend on Facebook Connect on LinkedIn Copyright © 2013 Green Self Reliance, Inc., All rights reserved. Visit our website: Our emailing address is: ||