Every 12 to 18 months, the World Bank runs a worldwide competition to find innovative ways of tackling pressing problems in emerging countries. The ideas submitted have to be practical and able to be replicated. Tom Nevin presents a selection of winning entries from Africa.
The World Bank development competition, valued at $600,000, is run at the WB headquarters in Washington DC. Since its inception it has disbursed over $23m in awards to 171 winning proposals. In essence, it asks entrants to find innovative ways to tackle pressing problems in emerging countries with ideas that work and that can be replicated. If a project is approved, it will receive funding ranging from $40,000 to $200,000. Here is the selection of some winning projects from Africa.
Solar Irrigation Project
Funding requested: $100,000
Team Leader: Jeff Lahl
Objective: To enable families in the Kalale District to grow crops during the six-month dry season using a reliable and economical means of irrigation.
Rationale: Subsistence farming is the primary means of survival for Kalale district's population of 104,000. Farming is limited to the rainy season by a lack of accessible water for irrigation, resulting in deprivation and forced migration during the dry season.
Innovation/expected results: Solar water pumping and low-cost micro-irrigation techniques are technologies that have both been used effectively in developing countries, but seldom have they been used together in an effective way. By optimising these systems in tandem, a replicable model will be developed for the upliftment of not only Kalale district, but potentially other parts of Benin as well. At least 20 families (100-200 people) will directly benefit from the solar-irrigation project and most, if not all, of the 4,500 people living in these two communities will benefit from the added supply of clean water during the rainy season.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Promotion of Green Stoves in the Eastern DRC
Funding Requested: $124,755
Team Leader: Olivier Mumbere Muhongya
Objective: To increase rural incomes while decreasing deforestation through the promotion of green stove construction in communities near natural reserves.
Rationale: Baseline research in villages surrounding community reserves in North Kivu Province of the DRC showed that 61% of households depend entirely on wood for their survival, resulting in health problems and deforestation. There is a pressing need in these communities for cooking technology that can reduce health risks and environmental concerns.
Innovation/expected results: This project introduces "green stoves" into the northern Kivu district. The stoves use an innovative technology that uses readily-available dry agricultural and domestic waste such as harvest residues from cereals, pulses and oil palms, and saw dust, while exhausting smoke outside the home. The project will train 60 local craftsmen in green stove construction, and produce 1,500 stoves in the first 18 months. In addition, 30 green stove businesses will be established through targeted microfinance.
Pioneering Sanitation Technologies in Madagascar
Funding Requested: $196,126