Tag Archives: farmers

One week down

15 Jul

 So back inNairobi. It’s crazy that my time inKenyais almost up. I’ve had a varied and interesting week. It started in the city. I visited John Cheburet, who produces the organic farmer radio programme on Monday. He uses FrontlineSMS to communicate with farmers. Straight from there, I went back to Jomo Kenyatta international and flew to Kisumu, a city in the western province on the shores of lake Victoria. I think flying low over the lake as we came into land was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Perfect timing, the sun was setting. I was whisked off in a taxi towards Mumias where I spent the next three nights, actually living within the huge Mumias sugar factory. Bright lights, steaming chimneys, noisy engines, all amid miles and miles of sugarcane. Quite a sight. The main purpose of my trip was to conduct interviews with small scale farmers which involved a lot of travelling down narrow uneven roads- fortunately I wasn’t driving. I’ve made some enlightening discoveries and interviewed some fascinating people. very excited about getting back and putting the documentary together. Get ready for a photo overload on here too! In terms of my planning, so far so good. I’ve been lucky enough to meet great people every step of the way who have been a massive help to logistics! But I’m scared about speaking too soon when I’m only half way through. I’ll be back in the countryside on Monday. So until then I’ll be soaking upNairobiandAddis Ababa…

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Getting to the point

6 Jul

In three days I will be on a plane bound for Nairobi so it’s about time I get to the nitty gritty of my project. I’m going to use the next few days to think about the main questions that I hope my documentary will go some way to finding answers for. Beyond that, my blog will become a bit of a progress diary, a travel log. So check back to see how I’m getting on.

Mobile technologies are changing lives, especially in the developing world. Since beginning my project, many people I have quizzed have emphasised that technologies must not simply be seen as a tool for administering aid. I hope that this argument will raise it’s head during my documentary. But my focus will be to ask…

How are mobile technologies affecting the relationship between NGOs and farmers? 

In a way, the argument which says that mobile technologies should be used for change outside of the confines of the aid industry goes some way to answering this question. Are people so empowered by the technologies that they are using that they don’t need the support we’ve come to see as ‘conventional’ from Non-governmental organisations.

On Monday, Oxfam launched it’s largest ever emergency appeal in Africa. We are, they say, amid the worst food crisis in the 21st century, as the Horn of Africa suffers from widespread drought. The Guardian have produced another great interactive map which shows some if the facts and figures. (I will stop banging on bout their maps I promise) Notice it states that 10 million are in need of ‘humanitarian assistance’.

So what does humanitarian assistance mean in an age when the internet and mobile phones make it increasingly easy to start up businesses? Have we moved into an age where aid has altered from being about Geldof and his gigs? Or are these ten million people still needing instantaneous solutions?

The reality is that I won’t be visiting the people who are really desperately in need of food aid. But I do hope to talk to farmers about how they see development projects that they are part of, and how technology is making them think differently. I’ll also be talking to people who have seen NGOs and the work that they do evolve as attitudes, politics and technologies have all had their part to play in changing international aid and development.

If the Horn of Africa really is amid a food crisis, I’m hoping that my documentary might shed some light on the future.