News / Africa

Peace Corps Association Launches 'Africa Rural Connect' to Help Farmers

Program Manager Molly Mattessich says the online network provides an avenue to discuss challenges and solutions in rural agriculture

Banana farmer in Africa
Banana farmer in Africa

Multimedia

Audio
James Butty

The U.S. National Peace Corps Association has launched a unique Internet-based program that could revolutionize development planning by emphasizing the bottom-up approach.

The program, “Africa Rural Connect”, is an online global collaboration network where knowledgeable people, including African farmers, work together to communicate and respond to the needs of African farmers.

Molly Mattessich, manager of Africa Rural Connect said the network was started as a way for returned Peace Corps Volunteers, the Diaspora and African farmers to discuss challenges and solutions in rural agriculture.

“We know that people who have lived in Africa have some of the best ideas about agriculture and we thought that getting everybody to talk to one another online would be a great way to figure out some of the most creative, most practical solutions to agricultural problems. And then hopefully eventually we can try to implement some of those solutions,” she said.

Mattessich said since its inception the program has received many great ideas intended to improve the lives of subsistence farmers, mostly women in rural communities of Sub-Saharan African.

“We had a real successful year last year. We received ideas from over 12,000 people from 180 countries, and those ideas ranged from rabbit farming in Kenya to soy milk pasteurization in Ghana. A lot of people discussed issues related to water resources and reducing post-harvest losses,” Mattessich said.

She said Africa Rural Connect is a perfect avenue for ideas for those with interest in the development of Africa.

“A lot of different development agencies are looking for ideas from farmers living in Africa, and we hope to be able to provide resources to implement some of those ideas,” she said.

Mattessich said the bigger idea behind Africa Rural Connect is to encourage a bottom-up approach to agricultural development in Africa.

“We think that people on the ground know what the issues are; they know the resources that they have and we really want to understand and work with the ideas and the parameters that are on the ground…So we really want to offer a platform to the African Diaspora and farmers in Africa to share their thoughts,” Mattessich said.

She said the National Peace Corps Association has launched a new contest this year for ideas and suggestions on ways to improve the lives of subsistence farmers in Africa.

“We’ve just started a new contest for this year and from now through November of 2010 we will be awarding cash prizes to the best ideas. So it’s a great time for anyone with an idea about rural agriculture and how to make it better to post on the Website,” she said.

Mattessich said judges will select the two best ideas and both winners will each receive an award of $1,000.

She said participants can post their ideas on the Africa Rural Connect Website.

“This contest runs through the end of this year, through November and someone can go to the Internet and the Web address is www.AfricaRuralConnect.org and they can become posting their ideas on that Website,” Mattessich said.

She said even though not every village or town in Africa has Internet, Mattessich hopes that people can hear about the Website and contact their friends or community members with access to the Internet.

“Some of the areas in which we want hear ideas from people include how to improve communication among farmers, and if someone does not have access to the Internet and they think there’s a great to get that access or using cell phone technology, if we can hear that great idea perhaps we may be able to improve online communication in that area,” Mattessich said.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid