The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
1 Building a strong partnership with locals
2 Selecting local trainers
3 Educating permanent agriculture pinciples
4 The introduction of BushWeb (WLAN)
5 Facilitating pilot plant project for export market access
6 The financial models of cooperatives and BushWeb
Building a strong partnership with locals.
We collaborate with experienced women income generating groups, who already have a vision to do good in other communities, and expressed their understanding of needs to find methods of further development. They are visionary enough hat they understand the complete conneection between the relation of people, nature and financial incentives. That want to get away from dependence on subsidies, provided to them by family members who have moved to the urban areas.
We will meet their vision and setup educational courses in their already existing training centres, and providing them with full knowledge and skills, for designing and further more implementing a complete permaculture ecosystem, that provides them with a forest farm for each familiy in their local villages.
Selecting local trainers
We select specially skillfull individuals amongst the community woman. The must show skills and interest in agriculture and ambition to evolve. In the beginning they serv as mentors for other students, eventually they themselves will become teachers and trainers in permaculture and educate others like themselves. They will essentially function as professional agricultural consultants in their own communities, later also servicing other settlements and villages. they will develop the skills for building projects and they will become project managers. Some will advance to become active in the development of the local cooperative businesses, and become community leaders taking responsibility in owning part of the product processing facilities.
Educating permanent agriculture principles
We start are natural the transition process in year one, away from the obsolete slash and burn techniques, where only a single monoculture annual crop is used, such as maize, wheat, rice, and cous, that are is very popular.
When rain season comes we initiate the development of the land surrounding the village, setting up natural fast growing vegetation in hedgerws for protecting against the dry winds of the sahel. These fast growing trees are called pioneer trees. We seed a cover crop (Alfalfa) on the ground, that has an especially deep and strong rootzone. It can penetrate, fixate nitrogen as fertilizer serving the pioneer trees and thus rejuvenate the soil, and hold its moisture.
Building a demonstration site for these new design principles is essential. It will require a nursery for propagation of plants, an earth worm farm for inoculating the soil with funghi and bacteria, and a compost brewery for adding organic material to the soil.
We will create the first value for the local people by demonstrating to them and helping them make small innovations for conservation of their food (see video 4 by practical action), planting trees in seedlings with the use of recyled plastic bottles (see pictures), build simple irrigations systems for their field (Tread pump picture).
We will show them in experimental test reference fields, how intercropping methods increases yield from growing plants in mixed lines of mutually beneficiary plants. Along with planting canopies of trees in different heights that help protect cool the ground and thus protect the fragile groundcrops exposed to heat.
Thus giving them a complete understanding of the functions and interactions of the biodiversity in nature.
The introduction of BushWeb (WLAN)
We setup a low cost, highly effective plug and play wireless communications infrastructure between the villages. Making a low-tech intranet. (see pictures). Giving the early adapters, usually being children and teenagers, but also young women the ability to educate themselves with access to a local network database of tutorials and educational videos.
This broadcasting system will give them the potential for video conferencing and knowledge sharing, organising and creating social cohesion amongst their communities. Thus Egro will also have easy access to the local population with outdoor cinema educational entertainment, in a small and concentrated area, where an education on beneficiary cultural practices has precedence over reading and writing effort. These will naturally also be freely available on the intranet platform in already existing open source softwares.
Facilitating pilot plant project for export market access
With aditional training in conservation methods, such as drying fruits and vegetables, a process that they have already started in several villages with solar ovens (see pictures & video). We give them the ability to process the products harvested in the forest farm. In collaboration with our incubator programme (DTUcreatech) Egro will facilitate the contact between the Danish National Food Laboratory (DTUfoods) at Technical University of Denmark and The University of the Gambia.
A Master Student in Copenhagen, Denmark will do experiments and research in best practices of fermentation and packaging of produce from the forest farms. The intention is to replicate these methods in The University of The Gambia, and transfer the knowledge. The Gambia already has a national brewery and thus skilled labour for this process. A smallscale pilot plant, for laboratory use, will be build at Gambia University. The products will be tested and shipped, and there will be a thourough badge sample testing at DTUfoods laboratories for quality assurance.
The purpose is to increase shelf time to endure the expected travel time period of up to 3 months, and thus giving the ability of accessing export markets for sales of forestry products. Produce such as fruits and vegetables will be sold business 2 business as food supplements, extracts, concentrates and dyes. Capable of supporting a wide range of industrial products such as colouring clothes, ink, paper, and foods. This programme will be announced 19th April 2012 to DTU students, and start in the semester of September 2012.
The financial models of cooperatives and BushWeb
The schooling is free and courses will utilize existing facilities or community structures. If need be, they will be build in collaboration with private foundations.
The farmers will own their own land and their own forest and installations.
The local cooperative will be partially owned by Egro, for keeping a level of expertize available to the development of the processing facilities. The farmers will earn shares in the cooperative, comparatively based on their ability to deliver a steady level of increasing harvest from the forest farm and growing efficiency in maintenance. Thus the skilled farmer will become motivated to grow his ownership and have more decision power and share profit.
The BushWeb (WLAN) communications infrastructure will be partially owned by local chieftain or elder counsil members for purpose of protection. A film projector will serve as a pay per view cinema, run by a local manager employed for a fixed salary per screening he makes, his salary will dependent on entrance and fees collected. The BushWeb will be serviced from the revenue the cinema generates.
Out of consideration for the existing social structure, it will remain a closed intranet to all others but administrators. The content purpose is entirely educational. Initially the capacity of filesharing will happen on own physical media (SD card/USB) and later with an integrated local social media platform of a non commercial character.
Making a Difference
A. The socioeconomic impacts
B. The environmental impacts
The socioeconomic impacts
Firstly this education provides them with the agricultural methods for reaching permanent self sufficiency. It subsequently gives them the ability to produce in excess of their consumption.
With a continued harvest year round from a multitude of species, that are all maturing at different times of year. They will always have the ability to sell when demand and prices are high.
An economic incentive becomes obvious and the spirit of entrepreneurship arise within the villages. The prospect of and easy access to local market carrying quality products and with a high return on investment will be the driving motivational force for the development of the area. This too will develop a feeling of progress in the regional area initiated by Egro´s appearance. Thus branding us for a higher willingness of collaboration. Ultimately reaching a critical mass in the population and becoming an intricate part of their social structure and awareness. This gives us a strengthened position in local population and increased range for social and environmental impact.
The women income groups with their organisation will eventually evolve to interact in forms of cooperative businesses. Giving them the ability of bringing a large volume of their processed products to world market, according to high quality standards of fermentation and package with badge number traceability.
In essence breaking the grounds for a functioning agricultural sector, creating independence from imports of staple foods on a national level, and ultimately increasing GDP to a level of sustainable macroeconomical growth.
The environmental impact.
Local and global effects, short and long term are significant.
In implementing this approach, we not only regenerate the land to become increasingly more fertile, and capture scarce resources of fresh water in the ground table, we also sequester carbon in the vast mature forests, skillfully maintained by motivated cooperatives. Ultimately the temperate climates of the vegetation leads to a drop in temperature over land. It also leads to an increase in rising particles (pollen) for binding vapor in atmosphere and consequently provoking rain. Hence the word rainforest.
The effects of carbon sequestration are obvious.
Regional and national level.
Binding the water locally with temperate forests changes the reliability, the frequency in gentle rain, the total volume of rain, and the length of the rain seasons, making it possible to extent the forests systems further into the desertificated areas.
It will on a global level result in more stable weather patterns, most effectively of course effect in the local region and a decrease in overall water vapor in the global atmosphere, which is just as potent a greenhouse gas as the carbon emissions, and has seen a rise in 25% since the beginning of the industrial age. Devastating in unpredictable flash floods occurring due to climate changes.
Smaller side effects is the increase in wildlife habitats and the preservation of biodiversity.