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March 6, 2009 / compassioninpolitics

Sustainable Rural Development

Sustainable Rural and Agricultural Development

You might not thing of the farm and agricultural sector as an engine of sustainable development. The design for the other 90 percent movement has yielded several low cost solutions for sustainable development in the agricultural sector.

Case Studies for Sustainable Rural and Agricultural Development
Initially low cost drip irrigation and water tredel pumps from International Development Enterprises (IDE) offer great designs which provide entrepreneurial ways for farming families, particularly those at the base of the pyramid that earn less than a $1 per day to pull themselves out of poverty.

Second, mobile phones can provide farmers with the ability to track prices in the marketplace to ensure they get a competitive price for their goods. Mobiles also offer the ability to monitor human rights abuses, natural disasters, and disease spread. Further, mobiles can help enable services in the health care sector.

Third, solutions provided by Kickstart include a reasonably cost water pump (Moneymaker water pump) and a concrete brick maker.

Other low cost designs include a $12 solar light (which means environmentally unsound kerosene doesn’t have to be used), a water purification straw (Lifestraw), and mosquito nets which can save millions of lives.

MIT has designs that are in field testing now to lower the global pollution from rural fires. By burning sugarcane charcoal instead of the alternatives, which helps preserve the environment and public health.

All of these inventions offer sustainable technologies that can be applied in rural and agricultural settings to dramatically increase incomes and to directly fight global rural poverty.

Resources for Sustainable Rural and Agricultural Development

Design for the Other 90 Percent Resources at the Cooper Hewitt
Design for the Other 90 Percent
Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail, Paul Polak
Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid by Prahalad
The Bottom Billion by Paul Collier
Base of the Pyramid Technology at Next Billion
Human Centered Design by IDE and IDEO

Clean Water Shortages: Opportunities for Entrepreneurs (part 2) by Dominique Trempont (on Sraman Mitra’s blog)

(Note: the mobile phone is not a formal part of the design for the other 90 percent movement to my knowledge. Also, the clean water article is probably needs funding from an outside donor at least to jump start it.)

What is your favorite sustainable rural development technology?

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