In Africa being a rural dweller means you rely on your own talents, knowhow and centuries old solutions to daily problems. There are no good roads and often unreliable government solutions and no International NGO to solve recurring problems. The solution and ingenuity comes out of community dependence on each and age old solutions that have been used for centuries.
Whether there is a famine or a drought or some unnerving pandemic of disease, these solutions are what safe millions of rural Africans from disappearing into the disparaging abyss of poverty and it’s after math. It’s these solutions that should be embarked on by anyone doing development work in rural towns and villages. Often there is a huge gap by the international NGO who are unknowing of the needs of these silent rural towns and unable to reach them. Rural areas in Africa deal with a lot more poverty, a lot more hunger, and no healthcare facilities to speak of. In Africa persistent issues of poverty that ails big cities, is most likely to eliminate and destroy rural dwellers. Rural dwellers are silent and hidden. For centuries they have relied on their skills, local talents, traditional methods and these skills are still working when everything else fails. Some age-old solutions used by rural African communities are:
• Selling to each there – a small shop in the neighborhood often serves that neighborhood with their daily needs. For women with limited time and many responsibilities being able to buy and sometimes borrow from the friendly neighborhood store is a blessing
• Helping each other – when a family is need the whole neighborhood comes through for them
• Being each other’s money keeper (Banks) – there are the auntie banks who hold money for others. This is a trusted system that works well without the fees and drawn out outlays of money
• Saving schemes – people pool their money together and each member of the pool collects an average saving of six to seven months on agreed upon timeline. This is a great way to safe money for big projects
• Lending schemes – People lend each other money without much constrains on family income on a trust basis. This saves individuals who are already struggling to not pay outrageous fees
• Helping hand from remittance – many people rely on remittances from family living in the Diaspora.
These solutions often become the saviors of the day when tragedy struck and things go weary. It’s important to note the strengths of the community and work through these local solutions whether you are a small-scale community organization or a large International NGO. These local community solutions work best when enlisted. Best practices and sustainability development must learn and include these methods in their own programs.
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