Hello Pamela and all,
I may not have registered with Dadamac Foundation, so I could not respond
directly to the post that included this information:
Gbade celebrated his recent retirement by studying for a masters degree,
which he has now completed, researching Farmer-Pastoralist conflict.
Like John Dada of Fantsuam Foundation, Gbade has real understanding and
insight with regards to this important issue which is so often a core
component of ongoing tensions and conflict, not only in Nigeria but
elsewhere. We were therefore really pleased that following Dadamac’s
introduction on Wednesday (1st July) to members of the Africa Research
Institute http://www.africaresearchinstitute.org/ the Institute has
agreed to research
Ben deVries I have had discussions about a creative approach to
Farmer-Pastoralist conflict. It involves mutual support in a multi-cultural
ecosystem management process. Traditional relationships were based on
complementarity of roles and resources among different groups. These
relationships were attacked and undermined by the colonial powers, and
weakened by population growth in a resource-depleted environment. How to
Part of it is to nurture and draw on traditional values within all of the
stakeholder groups, so they can speak a positive 'common language' in
problem-solving and negotiations.
Part of it is to study the ecosystems as wholes, and look both to
traditional practices and appropriate technology (a la Schumacher, and
Gunter Pauli's blue economy) for solutions to situations that interrupt or
degrade the production of ecosystem services (including food). One of the
solution patterns is to use seeds of important plants, such as trees like
Faedherbia albida (reverse deciduous) and Moringa oleifera (or West African
species of Moringa), and a thorny hedge that is planted to make corrals
(kraals?) (enclosed areas for livestock to be protected in). Another is to
make use of traditional practices for holding water in the soil and
restoring nutrients to it. Each culture can start with its own traditions,
and then draw on other communities they know, and on Permaculture's methods
(which in turn draw heavily on indigenous practices from around the world)
& the GrowBioIntensive system (taught at Manor House in northwestern
Kenya), to augment their own as appropriate.
Another part is to form cooperatives for both farming and pastoral groups,
focused on solving shortages of inputs, maximizing local barter and sales,
and getting crops to market economically, without middlemen eating up all
the difference between the cost of growing the crops and the price paid for
them in cities and towns.
It would be good to get some underemployed college graduates in finance to
both help start cooperatives, and create an offering of information and
communication technologies (ICTs) which include supply chain and
distribution channel software, tailored to be used to manage economic
activities of communities and individual households.
One possibility is to use the Salesforce ecosystem; the Salesforce
Foundation gives software to non-profits, and the cloud software from
companies like Rootstock (enterprise resource planning, or ERP) and Pardot
or Marketo (marketing automation) is completely integrated with Salesforce.
Another possibility is to ask programmers to learn MUMPS and VistA EHR (the
hospital information management system developed in the U.S. Veterans
Administration, available open source and free at www.WorldVistA.org), and
to draw on VistA and free software from Liberty Financial Services (which
writes its programs in MUMPS) to repurpose for almost any use in African
economies. VistA covers everything needed to run a major hospital, which is
the equivalent of a small city, and most of it was written be doctors and
technicians, rather than programmers, to meet the specific needs of the
people at the point of care, and because MUMPS is relatively easy to learn.
If there is an initiative to do this, I can introduce you to a senior
software architect who is one of the leaders of MUMPS and VistA work.
To give you an idea of the potential savings in using VistA EHR, a group in
Mexico downloaded the software, edited it to a basic version, and deployed
it in over 100 hospitals for $10 million. It costs $10 to $40 million to
install commercial software in just one large hospital! It offers vast
efficiencies in operation, and drastically reduces hospital-caused injury
and illness among patients.
Finally, we (SeaWave Battery, Inc.) are within a year of being able to
offer prototype batteries from the laboratory, to help create smart
microgrids (off-grid electricty for communities and organizations) at low
cost (less than prices in the grids, and far less than diesel generators).
This can, with the other steps outlined above, unleash the productive
capacity of rural communities.