year, the World Bank sponsors a global competition for innovative grassroots
projects. In this year's Development
Marketplace, 22 entries among 1,800 proposals received cash awards. VOA's Rosanne Skirble
few days in late September, the atrium of World Bank headquarters in Washington was
turned into a bustling marketplace of ideas. Finalists in the competition set
up booths to explain their projects on posters and in person. After a lot of
looking and listening, World Bank judges chose the winners.
them is Nigerian Kolawole Adebayo, who has big ideas about cassava, a root crop
that is a staple for millions of people around the globe. His country is the
world's leading producer.
works as a senior lecturer at Nigeria's University of Agriculture, where he has done a lot of thinking about cassava. What he wants to do is
simple: Dry discarded cassava peels, which are usually burned as waste, and use
them for goat feed.
being able to sell cassava waste, processors can make additional income, and
goat keepers [would] benefit because their goats would fatten faster and go to
market sooner," he says.
his grant money, Adebayo plans to create a business network among farmers, goat
keepers and cassava processors in the southwest part of the country. He says
the project would raise the standard of living for thousands of farm families
in the region.
income-generating idea that also saves energy comes from Daniel Bode, a
technical advisor to Mission Goor Goorlu, a vocational school in Senegal. Bode
says the project is designed to help farmers get their produce to market
quickly and cheaply. That is often a difficult trip because of poor roads and
high fuel costs. Senegal has a lot of navigable rivers, but even boats need
fuel. So Bode developed an outboard
motor than runs on indigenous oils made in a seed press.
can actually bring their engines to the press, located in a market hub, and
make fuel for transportation," he says.
at Mission Goor Goorlu will build 50 such motors and introduce them into rural
villages along waterways in Senegal. The school's director, Saidou Ba, says the
new engine will jump-start a weak economy.
going to create a lot of employees from the villages, and by giving people
access to the right market, I think this project will be very helpful," Ba
Li is a staff attorney with the Rural Development Institute, a
nonprofit legal aid group based in Seattle that works to bring land rights to
poor people in many countries. RDI will use its grant to create the first legal
aid and education center for farmers in China.
explains that under Chinese law, farmers have 30-year land-use rights with a
renewable contract. But he says many have lost their land or are threatened
with loss because of local government violations of those regulations.
are doing this project to implement the central laws to protect farmers' land
rights," he says. "When farmers have secure land rights, they will
make a long-term investment in the land, diversify their production to increase
their income and also increase social stability."
RDI center will offer services that educate and empower farmers. Trained
student volunteers from China's agricultural regions will assist staff
attorneys in 15 rural communities in the southern part of the country. Lee says
these students come from the countryside and are committed to the project.
are basically doing work for their parents, their sisters, brothers, their
relatives, their friends [who still live and work in the countryside]," Li
The $4 million in grant money awarded this year is well
spent, say World Bank officials. They are hopeful that the winning Development
Marketplace projects will be scaled up and replicated elsewhere around the