Friday, August 13, 2010
IDE.org: Creating Income Opportunities for the Rural Poor
We continue to work toward development of a solar pump that will be feasible for large-scale application. In the past year, we have increased practicality by switching from pentane to water as the working fluid, increased output from 10 to 15 watts/square meter (3 to 5 Btu/square feet), and developed a solar collector (pictured above) which is about a third of the cost of a vacuum tube collector, resulting in considerable overall cost reduction.
As they access new technologies which enable them to grow new crops, our customers are frequently challenged by the lack of information on proper growing methods. As part of the Rural Prosperity Initiative IDE developed a simple "Water Wheel" calculator based on local conditions to assist poor farmers in determining optimal water requirements for vegetable crops in Myanmar. Different versions are now being printed for each of the three major agro-climatic zones of Myanmar. These wheels will allow farmers to minimize waste and increase yield since crops will be receiving optimal amounts of water during all stages of growth.
A separate Drip Planner Chart (DPC) based on FAO planning guidelines is being developed in Ethiopia. It consists of two disks: one with crop and climatological data for calculating irrigation requirements, and a second containing soil-specific information for calculating maximum allowable irrigation intervals.
Water and Sanitation
Increasing water and sanitation development is a necessary step small farmers and villages must take on their way out of poverty. IDE takes an unsubsidized, demand-driven approach toward increasing the use of appropriate water and sanitation technologies throughout the developing world. Ceramic water purifiers, treadle pumps, and rope pumps all provide poor farmers with access to sanitary water; decreasing the presence of water-related illnesses, and providing them with potential income generating opportunities.
IDE is working to develop a latrine that would sell for between US$10-20, a significant improvement over the US$150 latrines currently offered by many non-governmental organizations. IDE will also design and conduct a social marketing campaign based on prevalent knowledge, attitudes, and practices concerning sanitation in rural areas. This campaign will help small enterprises provide scalable, upgradeable latrine packages suitable for poor families, and will rely on marketing promotions with local enterprises and government partners to build demand for latrines.
Participatory Market Chain Approach
Originally developed in Peru in 2003 and applied in several other countries, the Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA) has been proven effective in involving the private sector in market processes with a pro-poor orientation. The PMCA process aims to foster collaboration between farmers and traders, buyers, and intermediaries, providing efficient means of marketing good quality produce for good prices. IDE is implementing the PMCA process in three countries—Cambodia, Nepal, and Vietnam—through our participation in DFID's Research Into Use program. See below for an example of a PMCA schematic.