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Liberia Sustainable Village Model Economic Program


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To learn more about this project, check out the
Duayee Vocation School Proposal | Toward Building a Model Sustainable Village:

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Liberia Sustainable Village Model Economic Program

  1. 1. Economic Program Objective: The economic program would be used to teach craft and vocational skills using local materials that provide villagers with artisanal products that could be sold in the local and international marketplace. This would teach the villagers how to recognize local resources and how to use the materials in small scale manufacturing at evolving scales. By cultivating incremental economic skills, that is learning how to grow and evolve as the context changes, the villagers of Duayee can cultivate a sense of resilience that will be vital in the development of infrastructure and the creation of future jobs. By learning to identify local resources and turn them into value added products the villagers can learn how to manage their resources more sustainably. Learning how to be more responsible with their resources will also put the villagers of Duayee in a better economic advantage so that they can competitively position themselves to receive a more comprehensive education that would result in higher wages and better investment opportunities. The success of the economic program would give the villagers and those associated with this program an improved capacity to build international partnerships and make Duayee a more sustainable village model through their development of appropriate technology and expansion of their village cottage industries. Curricula & Procedures: Image taken from Asmi International Phase I: Villagers must initially be taught basic vocational skills using the resources from their environment around them Educational Topics: y tool making (from bamboo and corrugated metal, or preparing water gourds for bottling water and food)
  2. 2. y how to harvest and spin cotton tree fibers (for shading, mosquito nets, pest free hoop houses & textiles) y paper making (to supply schools & general commerce) y natural building techniques (making clay bricks, building reinforced bamboo structures) y industrial retrofits (bamboo rainwater catchment & bamboo charcoal filtration for bottling water, earthen rocket stoves with water carburetor flues) y earth works (drainage for irrigation, filtration & to preserve earthen structures, making aggregate & mortar for roads) y methane harvesting & compost (for fuel and agriculture) y permaculture farming methods Economic education will provide the villagers with the skills to create capital for products that can be sold in order to bring more money into the village and its households. This education will also give the villagers access to crucial economic skills that can be taught incrementally and used as they accrue additional capital to expand their market scale. Basic economic skills can be taught through local trade and provides the villagers with an opportunity to learn how to locally source materials. By learning how to identify and manage their local resources, the villagers can fashion these resources into tools that will make their work easier, education more affordable and give the villagers more free time to explore more economic interests through education and vocational training. The villagers will also increase their production output so that they will be able to buy and trade for better tools and products much sooner than if they had to start by paying for foreign sourced goods. Phase II: At this stage the villagers may want to know why they¶re only doing menial tasks and it is important for them to understand that in order to be successful they must have the right tools before they can move ahead. This would be a good chance to introduce folklore or readings of classic literature such as Alexander Dumas¶s The Count of Monte Cristo. Just as in tribal culture and later adopted by religious organizations, storytelling, pictures & crafts are a simple way to convey important ethics in a way that keeps the villagers inspired, but also in a manner that they can identify. Once this is done, the villagers can begin to move beyond the fundamentals of economic resilience and begin to learn crucial skills that will allow them to move from menial tasks to higher paying enterprises that require more in-depth skills.
  3. 3. Image taken from UNDP ͞One Liberian in work supports up to 50 others!͟ Educational Topics: y How to learn & How to share knowledge y Drawing, Story Telling y Reading, Writing & Arithmetic y Critical Thinking o Business Strategy to expand the basic knowledge of the skills they learned in Phase I to identify target demographic groups who may want their products and how to create successful partnerships. o Basic Macroeconomics & why re-localization is important o Business & Interpersonal Ethics y More Bamboo Craft y Tile & Pottery Making y Construction y Small Scale Manufacturing of supplies for Hospitals & Schools It must be the responsibility for those who have learned new skills to teach other villagers what they¶ve learned. Finding a way to communicate this information, either with a hands on approach or through the integration of storytelling verbally and through craft would be an excellent way to pass on this information. Integrating the villagers¶ stories would also be a great way to add value to the community in the richness of culture and marketability of locally made products to those who live outside of the village. This will help increase production and manufacturing yields so that you can increase the revenue brought to the village. The improved method of farming will also free up time so that not only will the villagers have the supplies they need to build their businesses. Once the villagers are able to bring in enough revenue, they will be able to afford to pay teachers to come and teach. At this point the villagers will want to make more money, but may be unsure of how to expand their enterprises, manage workers and
  4. 4. produce new/additional products. Teaching these skills can bring in more income and increase the availability of local jobs. Doing so will make it more likely also that more households will be able to afford to send their children to school. At this point the villagers can trade their knowledge about the forests; i.e. plant species, uses, etc. with teachers and researchers interested in learning about the region in exchange for rent and education. This would also be a good time for the villagers to negotiate the supplies they make in exchange for new vocational methods to manufacture new uses of these products. The villagers must understand that issues like maleria and clean drinking water may not be a big deal to them, but if they learn the proper way to address concerns from those who would otherwise want to teach there and can be sold to westerners who have a high demand for items such as bottled rainwater and locally woven mosquito nets and could create many more jobs for the village of Duayee. For example, learning how to recognize and to use various species of cotton trees, cork oak or bamboo could serve as an economic driver to teach villagers how to recognize the benefits of some of their local resources so that they can be replanted and cultivated in their optimal forest growing conditions or alley cropped to be used for manufacturing. This education would be crucial if the villagers want to expanded into new industries by understanding how the simplest tasks such as making textiles, bamboo water bottles and medical treatments (ie the bitter orange¶s use to treat diabetes) can be used to expand the variety of high yield, readily available cash crops they can sell. Phase III: Once the Villagers become more familiar with the process of identifying opportunities, the villagers must ensure that this knowledge is passed on by learning how to catalogue and document their findings. This will ensure that the villagers are learning the skills not just to impart knowledge to future generations, but also to protect themselves from business misdealing in the event of any misunderstandings that could lead to a potential legal dispute. Educational Topics: Printmaking & Publishing Accounting Bookkeeping International Trade Policy Civil & Legal Rights
  5. 5. Computer skills During this time the villagers can learn how to catalog their local resources, learn basic bookkeeping skills, and be able to keep logs of what they¶ve learned so that the information can be passed on and replicated (also very profitable). This would also be a great way to document business dealings with investors, teachers and researchers that can be reviewed to ensure that the villagers are getting a fair price for their transactions and that investors aren¶t violating international laws. The researchers can be used to help the villagers gain support of the international community in their development efforts to encourage new sources of revenue (ie botanicals for pharmaceuticals), provide safe and humane investment, improve the safety and quality of their manufacturing, and provide training for new and sustainable methods for business, construction and technology. At this stage, it also becomes crucial that those who have reached this stage of education begin to learn how to use the computer on their own in the event that they would like to go off to college or vocational school so that they can learn and bring back broader range of teachable skills. Phase IV & Beyond: At this stage, the villagers should have enough information to take charge of their own learning based upon their individual interests and needs of each chiefdom and clan. The purpose of the incremental economic education that the villagers receive is to impart the importance of each stage of education by giving them an interactive way to experience everything that goes into learning how to shape a business and a future. But the education will also keep the villagers grounded in the understanding that in order to be successful they must first understand how the process works in order to understand why it is important. Ideally, at this point the villagers must also be able to understand the responsibilities and ethics in the way that they supply their products. Historically lacking this education has made it difficult for the Liberians to recognize when larger vendors or international purchasers are taking advantage of their limited knowledge. By going through this process of developing business expertise from the ground up, the villagers will have the advantage of understanding the interpersonal skills that are necessary to conduct business intelligently and ethically. And this knowledge can be used to set up partnerships with more reputable and fair trade organizations who can get them better prices for their products overseas. This will help the villagers be able to afford better quality teachers who can teach them to become well trained in how to make better quality products so that they can sell the products competitively to elites and influential buyers in foreign markets. As the villagers learn how to make commercial grade products or develop specialized expertise, the villagers will also need to learn how to negotiate deals with potential investors so that they can contract labor in a way that is more beneficial for the village as a whole.
  6. 6. Outcome: The creation of village cottage industries could be used initially as capital to finance the immediate need for goods and services and to generate individual and communal revenue. Those funds and services could be used to pay teachers, provide amenities for future educators, researchers and investors or be used as leverage for negotiation in the expansion of new and existing industries. By learning to negotiate with foreign corporations in exchange for educational opportunities; such as funding for schools, computers, communications and training programs, the village will have access and be paid instead of charged to receive a higher standard of education and job training through employer benefits, just by being a cheaper source of semi skilled labor than their international counterparts. This way, the village does not have to worry that if someone chooses to leave Duayee for better job opportunities (with the company or otherwise), that are higher paying that they are losing a community asset. Through this process, those who leave the village will be prepared educationally and economically to demand higher wages abroad so that they can send more money home (if they need to) and a skills base can still be kept within the village and cultivated to serve the village as a whole.