Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact
The initial impact has been in creating relationships between the Canadian initiator and local people, potential members of the projects committee, in order to work together in a trusting manner. Without this step, sustainability is not ensured A minimum of 10 project committee members have collaborated in one way or another with the initiator and we are approaching the point where all will work in a coordinated manner ex. in an upcoming funding activity in Lesotho.
Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing
Initially lack of funds prevented frequent meeting of NGO projects committee members; reparation of equipment at crucial moments for demonstration to potential funders Lack of initiative amongst local participants has recently shifted.
‘Swimming upstream’ against the current dependency on ‘handouts’ influencing expectations of local people.
Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?
The business model : In each of ten focal groups (member organization sites) in the country,
a workshop for the extraction of leaves for the production of a protein-vitamin rich food supplement from chosen indigenous plants is to be set up. Surrounding each workshop, between 20 and 50 farmers will produce the leaf crop for the workshop, as well as intercropped maize-beans-squash; organic vegetables and/or herbs for consumption and market; Each field will be surrounded by leguminous trees with the intention of increasing the crop production (x3). Other organic agriculture /water conservation techniques will be utilized to maximize production and, groups of farmers will hold marketing consultations to increase the marketing possibilities and reduce costs of transport to potential local markets. A common rotating fund will be coordinated through the local bank for each farmer wishing to start up their small business and evaluation/monitoring will be provided by the NGO projects committee in collaboration with local area coordinators and their assistants. A manual created by the consultant and explained in training sessions will serve to standardize workshop activities as well as set standards for participant ‘conduct’ .but, area coordinators and assistants will be responsible for the day to day support of extraction workers and farmers.
The equipment for the extraction workshop can be as simple as a blender, two pots and sieve, or
as complicated as large scale grinder, separators, and large boiling square pots Even bicycle technology can be used for the grinding.
The projects committee will be constantly carrying out research in coordination with Canadian partners to achieve best production results at least cost, and most appropriate technology for the local situation. (consultation with potential partners at McGill University are underway)
The leaf crops, currently suggested by nutritionists of the Lesotho Agriculture Ministry, include stinging nettle, amaranthus and ,originally alfalfa. Research into the best crops for maximum nutritive value and capacity to produce an acceptable food supplement, are foreseen. including laboratory analyses, eventually in-country.
An initial community consultation with all stakeholders will explain the project and open the door for input to ensure adaptation of the model to the particular needs of each of the localities.
Step by step, consultations to create trusting relations between the project initiator and local representatives has been ongoing over the last year, and assisted by the presence of a Canadian ‘traveler’ in Lesotho, who has been assisting at two orphanages, now participating members in the project.
More information in comments
Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible
Year one- with adequate funds, each of the localities will hire an area coordinator , training will be carried out by the consultant, The coordinators will choose assistants for the extraction workshop and to support local farmers. An invitation to community members will be made at a community stakeholders consultation to participate in the project, Each household will be assisted to write a project request ( explaining the basic production idea, the startup cost, and expected income) and the projects committee will one-by-one evaluate the opportunity and possibility for loan from the rotating fund.
The consultant and/or coordinator will establish a ‘programme for micro-financing’ with the local bank with funds dedicated to a rotating fund
Supplement produced in the workshops will be offered to 1000 children and pregnant women .
Education about nutrition will be offered by area coordinators, assistants or trained village health workers for families of children and women receiving supplement.
Year two- evaluation of the results of the first year activities by the projects committee and NGO executive will determine the rate at which expansion or consolidation will move the programme forward. Ideally, a small cost of the supplement charged to families will assure continuation of the extraction process, in addition to sale of supplement in the larger community and sale of a byproduct as animal feed.
Establishment of annual community consultations will also permit adjustment of the programme to include more children and women receiving the supplement and /or more farmers producing leaf crop and vegetable/herb crops for sale. Another group of children and women will receive supplement.
Year 3-- increased markets for crops; increase in numbers of children in the country receiving supplement (many details that time does not permit to elucidate- or that the NGO committees will have to take on in consultation….) either more children in already established areas or opening new localities.
All actions taken to strengthen the unity of participants working in the project ex. Yearly gatherings to share results, periodic trainings, possible short term work terms of Canadian young people to help maintain integrity of the programme.by holding community consultations, meetings with individual farmer etc.
Ultimate establishment of a certification of organic products in the country.
If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?
Most development projects provide inputs or just give food. We wish to develop the concept that
people, and especially women, are able to build their own small businesses, can work together cooperatively and be responsible for small business loans rather than waiting for handouts which do not promote self-esteem and autonomy.
We also would like to promote organic agriculture as a means to improving the soil of the country.