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Benny Dembitzer: Grassroots Africa

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Presentation from ICT4Agriculture: innovation and the 'last mile' - an event held by the Humanitarian Centre and ARM as part of the Global Food Futures Year and the "ICT4 . . ." series.

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Benny Dembitzer: Grassroots Africa

  1. 1. GRASSROOTS AFRICA the Information Network for African Farmers www.grassrootsafrica.org --
  2. 2. A Global Farmers’ Question Time • A farmer puts a question to the intermediary • The intermediary posts the question on the website. • A practitioner – probably, but not necessarily based in Africa – posts an answer. There is an online discussion. • Once a consensus answer is reached, it is passed back to the intermediary to pass back to the farmer. • An e-mail is passed on to everyone who has registered an interest in the subject • In the long term, the farmer will be able to ask and receive the information directly, in her own vernacular
  3. 3. The stages • Stage 1; working principally via intermediaries in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda • Stage 2. We aim to reach the most marginal farmers of all, mostly women, working in depleted soils, with decreasing rainfall, poor tools and weak seeds • They are illiterate, live in remote areas, speak only their own vernacular language and have no access to the most basic information.
  4. 4. Information is power • The internet and mobile devices are making enormous inroads • For the time being, GRASSROOTS AFRICA will deliver information via the internet, in English, and through local intermediaries • These intermediaries range from the personnel of local self-help groups, co-operatives, ministries of agriculture, Christian Aid partners, Oxfam field staff and others • In the long run farmers will be able to help other farmers through mobile devices
  5. 5. Who are we? We have incorporated the project as a Community Interest Company (CIC) • Three directors (with backgrounds in economic development, law, management) • Five people in the engine room (IT, accounts, fundraising, microfinance, research) We have raised £4,000 from local friends. Local schools are undertaking research and helping with our media work.
  6. 6. PLEASE SUPPORT THE PROJECT AND JOIN US www.grassrootsafrica.org ……thanks

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