Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ripple Report: Farmer Rides the Wave of Innovation

by Aly Lewis This week’s Ripple Report comes from Moshi, Tanzania. Located at the base of the breathtaking Mt. Kilimanjaro, Moshi is an area of great beauty, yet in recent years the area has been plagued with both poverty and deforestation. In 2004 Plant With Purpose began working in the region to help desperate farmers reverse this vicious cycle of poverty and deforestation and transform their lives. One of PWP’s most successful projects in the region has been biointensive agriculture training. This training equips farmers to make better use of their land, increase their yields, and improve their livelihoods. So great was the interest in these techniques that many of the original trainees immediately shared their knowledge with family members and neighbors. After learning these new techniques from a friend, one farmer, Fanueli Lewi Minja took the training one step further. Showing great initiative and innovation, Fanueli decided to make use of his new knowledge and expertise by starting his own biointensive agriculture business. Fanueli found that he could charge a small fee to establish biointensive vegetable beds for other community members. This way he can help his neighbors increase their yields and improve their land while making money to provide for his desperate family. Talk about a win, win situation! Community development is the process of empowerment, and Fanueli is a great example of a man who was empowered to take charge of his life and solve his own problems. And the best part is we’ve seen hundreds of leaders and innovators emerge as a result of PWP’s community development program; (to keep with the ripple metaphor) Fanueli is just one drop in the puddle.

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