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

Photogallery Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid