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Ideas for Improving Village Life

While travelling in the developing world I have seen rapid development in the cities but very slow change in the rural villages. This leads to a migration to the cities and too often the growth of slums. The rich get richer and the poor feel poorer. As people leave the rural villages food production suffers, this drives up the price of food, it is the city poor who are most affected.
There are four levels of development in any community. The first is a crisis level where outside intervention is needed to save lives, the next is a development level, then the sustainability level where the community becomes self sustaining and finally the giving level where the community is in a position to help others.

In my travels I have met on agency which is working on all four levels at the same time. This is Watoto operating out of Kampala Uganda, ( This is a huge operation who are literally pulling hundreds of starving kids out of abject poverty, feeding, clothing and educating them, right up to a university or trade school level and helping them find jobs. Then in early 2013 the seven churches, operated by Watoto, had a fund raising campaign and raised 3.5 million dollars, which they gave away.
This is the hope of Africa.

The aim of every NGO and village should be to follow this model with at least 20% of any money coming in being used to move to the next level.

Projects are needed to improve the lives of the rural villagers so that they can make a decent living producing the needed food. Here are a number of sustainable, very do-able things which could make a tremendous difference.

Health services – A major problem throughout much of the developing world is malaria. This ancient disease is still killing almost a million people a year, mostly children. The Christian state of Mizoram, in NE India, seems to have found a solution – they have discovered that if malaria can be treated within the first 48 hours of the first symptoms no one dies. The Bye, Bye Malaria Society is now taking this concept to Africa. It is simple and extremely inexpensive. For $400.00 a village ZoClinic can be established. Full details can be found on Bye, Bye Malaria is willing to supply the needed equipment, however our hope is that other agencies will establish ZoClinics on their own.

At the present time Bye, Bye Malaria Society has raised money to finance 75 malaria clinics in Africa and are working with African Enterprise to have these placed in appropriate villages. If you know of villages needing a clinic contact the writer at stuart (at) The next project is to raise another $10,000.00 Canadian for another 25 clinics. When you consider that there are tens of thousands of malaria prone villages in the world 100 malaria clinics may seem insignificant, however they can serve as a model. Our prayer is that these ZoClinics will prove that malaria deaths can indeed be eliminated village by village and at a price a village can afford. Our prayer is the governments, agencies and villages themselves will find the $400.00 needed for these simple clinics.

The malaria clinic can be the first step in establishing an overall health clinic in a village. The Comprehensive Village Health Program located in Jamkhed, central India, is a wonderful example of how a whole area can be improved. Jamkhed has trained tens of thousands of village health workers who are taking the concept around the world. A modest investment in training can make a huge difference.

A great number of commercial medicines are derived from plants found in the developing world. A German firm Anamed has expertise in herbal medicines and is conducting seminars throughout the developing world teaching the locals how to grow, prepare and use herbs. Encouraging and supporting these seminars can change thousands of lives.

Clean water Dr. David Manz, University of Calgary has developed an effective biosand water filter. In Uganda I met two young men who were making a good living going from village to village constructing these filters. For a modest start-up fee youth are gainfully employed and villages have safe water.

Sawyers Company have a range of water filters which last forever without refills. They are working with NGOs around the world making dirty water drinkable. While you are on the website look at the extractor pump – a real solution to insect or snake bites. In Rwanda I found people simply leaving bottle of water in the sun for purification. They swear by it!

Water Wells There are a number of organizations specializing in drilling wells in the developing world.

Rabbits. Raising of rabbits is becoming a major source of protein in much of Africa. A pair of doe rabbits are capable of producing over 200 kilos of highly nutritious meat per year. Two groups in Burundi are experimenting in a unique micro loan plan financed by “bunny money”. A local financier buys a farmer 2 does and a buck. Then over the next three years the farmer pays him back with three fresh rabbit carcasses per year. The financier gets a 3 fold return on the investment and the farmer is in the rabbit business. Truly a win win situation.
If you google meat rabbits you will get lots of information on raising and preparing rabbits for the table or sale.

Transportation of farm produce to market – Wherever I travelled in rural Africa I saw the same thing, farmers carrying their products to market on their heads, or in makeshift carts. It always bothers me when I see human beings expending vast amounts of energy performing tasks that could be performed more efficiently by machines. A solution could be to develop a practical motorized cart in Africa and make it available to farm coop for transporting produce to the local market, or to a distribution point to be hauled to cities.

My prayer is that various organizations, or individuals, will pick a project and make a real difference to rural communities. Farmers are MIPs, the MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE without them the VIPs and the rest of us would starve! If we give them encouragement and a hand up it will pay off with huge benefits.

Stuart Spani 604 988 4996 stuart (at)