Support Out of the Ground’s Sustainable Business Competition Entry

I’ve just been invited to submit a business plan for review by the William James Foundation, which draws on a network of over 700 sustainable business leaders to provide valuable feedback on socially conscious business plans, and up to $100,000 in prizes. What I need now is to raise $500 by Dec 17, which goes toward the initial fees for entering the competition.

Visit my crowdfunding page here.

I believe this process will provide invaluable feedback in launching this project in the months and years ahead.

Thanks for your support!

Global Water Forum – 3rd Prize!

I just received 3rd prize in the Emerging Scholars Award for an article, “Outlining a transition from cost-effective to productive rural water service improvements” Thank you Lord!

The main point I make is that charity, because it seeks to maximize its impact by minimizing costs, misses the huge potential in water for community growth.

I point to the case of boreholes and handpumps. They are everywhere in Africa – mostly because they are the cheapest available means of securing clean water. But for a not so unreasonable additional cost, every borehole in Africa could be pumping water for high income activities, especially small-scale irrigation, and paying for itself as well as supporting permanent gains in poverty reduction.

Upcoming Website Redesign

Through a new initiative of Global Giving, this website is going to be slowly redesigned by a graduate design course at the Kennesaw State University Visual Arts Dept. I’ll be speaking with the students and teacher of the course, Prof. Lin Hightower, through the process, as soon as we can find a time that works. I am very much looking forward to this, and am grateful for their help, as they are working pro bono and will definitely help in taking things forward next year. 

Africa’s Groundwater: Perfect for Small-Scale Development in Many Areas

A recent publication in Environmental Research Letters indicates that while high-yielding aquifers are rare outside of North Africa, potential for small-scale irrigation is considerable in many areas:
“The potential for intermediate boreholes yields of 0.5–5 l s−1, which could be suitable for small scale household and community irrigation, or multiple use water supply systems, is much higher, but will again require effective hydrogeological investigation and borehole siting.”

The ubiquitous hand pump fails to release this potential for Africa’s development. I am writing about this now, and hope to submit a piece to the Global Water Forum by the end of the month.

Update from Simango

Here’s Pastor Kebby’s latest update:

“We have had several workshops with OM [Overland Missions]. We have planted 3 types of
crops from OM so far.  We have learnt to make home made pesticides.

At the Church garden, we have 13 househods working and 8 sections
planted with various crops, while 5 sections at Sibunimba with Okra
being harvested.  We have not planted at Simakalanga garden because of water which is
drying at a faster rate.

We are also facing a challenge of people damaging the wire fence which
led to pigs enter the garden at one time, we reported the matter to
the neighbourhood police.

Another challenge is the money both for the project and the Church
building even just to have the roof on metal poles or pillars. We are

Do visit the Project Donation site if you’d like to help, as they certainly could use it!



Fair Planet Seeds

I just had a long conversation with Shoshan H. from Fair Planet Seeds, an Israeli start-up with the vision to take upon itself the initial risk that seed companies won’t take in order to conduct initial field testing of appropriate vegetable seed varieties in different regions of Sub-Saharan Africa.  We’ve agreed informally to partner on any potential expansion of Out of the Ground’s work in Zambia. I think their working model is great, and could have a huge impact on smallholder gardens. Their model could also work very well in combination with ours – we provide irrigation and water investments on micro-loans, and they help identify and provide appropriate, high-quality seeds.