Grassroot-level innovations may hold the key to global challenges
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Low tech, grassroot-level innovations may hold the key to overcoming some of the resource challenges we face today; and we might be missing them. The solutions below are some exceptional examples of grassroots level innovations. The question is – how many other potential world changing solutions have remained in obscurity at source, never replicating sufficiently to make a significant change?
A single farmer in Burkina Faso started an agricultural revolution in the semi-desert area where he lives, which has spread to other parts of Burkina Faso and into neighbouring countries. The ’tree farming’ approach he championed (by personally travelling to around 100 other villages by motorbike) has re-greened millions of acres in the dry Sahel region; enough so that the effects can be seen from outer space. The innovation: pits which were dug to concentrate rainfall onto crop roots were made larger, and manure was added to them during the dry season. Tree seeds in the manure sprouted with the crops and these tree saplings increased soil fertility, shielded crops from overwhelming heat, and acted as windbreaks.