Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Innovations in Farming and Rural Communities Competition: deadline May 13

Ashoka’s Changemakers announced today the launch of “Cultivating Innovation: Solutions for Rural Communities,” a global, online competition to seek out the most innovative solutions in farming and rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, India, and around the world. The competition is funded as part of a grant awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Using the Changemakers’ open-source online platform, the competition will be open to anyone striving to stimulate rural development and agriculture.
Today, three quarters of the world’s poorest people—the 1 billion who live on $1 a day or less—live in rural areas, and most rely on agriculture for their food and income. Many small farmers cannot grow enough food to sell or even eat. Innovative solutions like the ones Ashoka is seeking offer hundreds of millions of the people the opportunity to overcome hunger and poverty.
Over the next two months, people from around the world will be nominating those who are making a difference in farming and rural communities, or submitting their own innovative projects. The Changemakers community will be continually commenting on the initiatives entered in the competition. Entrants and nominators will be able to network with media, academics, and thought leaders. A panel of judges—Roy Steiner, Senior Program Officer for Agricultural Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Gene Kahn, Global Sustainability Officer for General Mills; Beatrice Gakuba, CEO of Rwanda Flora; Suzana Padua, Founder of the Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (Institute of Ecological Research); and Raj Patel, activist and author, Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World Food System—will narrow the entry pool to 10 to 15 finalists. The global Changemakers community will then vote for three winners, who will each receive a USD $5000 award from Changemakers to fund their initiatives. The finalists and winners will receive media attention and are showcased on the Changemakers website. All entrants will gain increased access to a global network of innovators, supporters, and investors with the means to help them fund and/or scale their projects.
These innovations have many faces and can come from anywhere. For example, we are motivated by people like C.K. “Bablu” Ganguly, an Ashoka Fellow whose innovations have regenerated farmland and created jobs via organic farming and marketing cooperatives in southern India. Or, people like Adrian Mukhebi, another Ashoka fellow who created a virtual trading floor via radio and SMS messaging to link thousands of farmers and buyers and sellers in Kenya. Ganguly and Mukhebi’s work not only helped to revitalize the local farming economies but also directly met many of their communities’ education and health needs, in addition to empowering local women to actively participate in farming and business development.
The online competition will showcase innovative solutions, encouraging members to comment, network, and assist one another in making a difference. Nominations and submissions are welcome until May 13. Changemakers is powered by a strong network of partners, Ashoka Fellows, and everyone who has a desire to change the world.


Gill said...

These type of competitions are very useful because many experienced people will share there innovative method of farming to the rest of the world. And moreover it is an online competition so people from all around the world get a chance to participate. Thanks for posting your blog is very useful.

Gerardo said...

A simple farming innovation

The Plant ROOT Injector is a simple, cheap and easy-to-make farm implement that can be used in water and irrigation challenged locations to grow crops that have not been feasible before and to produce better and increased yields using technologies that have previously been unaffordable to poor and depressed communities.

More importantly, it can achieve improved results while using smaller quantities of costly inputs like fertilizers, certified seeds, etc.

Although its performance still needs to be tested and verified, its simplicity, low cost and practical applicability needs to be disseminated now with the help of everyone so that people who can use it now can do so sooner rather than later.

Read about it www.biofuelswork.com; find it in Google and Yahoo; and, preview How-to-Make it in www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaC79CoELuc and How-to-Install & Use it in www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlXw_HIvdXE.

Thank you and M A B U H A Y!