African Green Revolution, Water Saving Schemes and Toilet Problems

A genuine platform of a dynamic and doable economic progress and development advocates for a sustainable project such as a Green Revolution. In a simpler context, it entails an extensive and encompassing set of research development alongside technology transfer initiatives which had historically transpired between the early years of 1930’s and 1960’s. The very core of a functional Green Revolution is to increase agricultural productions anywhere in the world.

Father of Green Revolution

Historically, Norman Borlaug is cited as the “Father of Green Revolution.” As a result, he was bestowed a Nobel Peace Prize during the circa of 1970’s because he was able to save millions of lives from the ill-effects of starvation due to the scientific know-how of yielding a wide variety of cereal grains, irrigation infrastructure, modernization of management techniques and the distribution of fertilizers which are compositely made from synthetic components and hybridized seeds, above anything else.

African Green Revolution

Due to its prolific and long term effects on food production, Africa has uniquely coined their very own version. This is dubbed as the African Green Revolution.

This revolution was not an easy undertaking for this persevering Third World country because of climate and soil issues, inadequate infrastructure, the absence of network firms that will sell commercialized grains to farmers and the likes. But, everything is possible with FAITH. God moved in many mysterious ways. The sudden and historic emergence of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa has paved the way for the life changing green revolution project for a once famine stricken nation.

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa is an organization that specifically deals with all the agricultural products in the country. It was funded by Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda. This was courtesy of their widely-renowned Rockefeller Foundation. The main objective of this alliance is to improve the production of agricultural products and to provide endless support to local farmers and its accompanying labor force.

Goals

AGRA has enumerated the following goals to prove that the African government is really dead serious about improving its people’s quality and state of living: These are the following:

  1. Increasing the income of 20 million farmers
  2. Dramatic reduction of starvation by 50 percent in 20 countries
  3. The gradual development of a sustainable and climate friendly agriculture

Projects

AGRA has several projects to better exemplify the positive outcomes of Green Revolution. Some of these are as follows:

  • The development of disease-resistant strains of cassava; these genetically made cassavas are especially made to immune a cassava brown streak virus.
  • PhD programs in several universities in Ghana and South Africa

Water Saving Methods in Africa

In South Africa, the Water Conservation and Demand Management possesses several potentials to keep up with versatile ways in saving water through a serious campaign using public education as its method though it had a slim effect in the agricultural sector for some reasons. For several years, there were also micro jet and drip irrigation.  However, these mechanisms were only applied to less than 10 percent of an irrigated farmland. Meanwhile, a leading car company in the same territory that is widely-recognized as Avis, had advocated for the recycling of water. In turn, this will be used for buildings. For homeowners, they are advised by authorities to opt for water recycling technologies.

Going back, Avis had invested 1.9 million in 2008 using the local currency. The said water saving investment paid off after it was able to save an approximate of 4.2 million litres. As an integral part of their water conservation scheme, the firm is into reprocessing procedures of grey water from washing machines and baths.  Afterwards, this will be utilized wisely to wash 20,000 cars. On the other hand, potable water is used by their public employees.

Lastly, the harvest of rainwater is also one of the best ways in water conservation for South Africans. Some people had pioneered the greening of major buildings.  Additionally, Retailer Woolworth has innovatively built a grey water reclamation system. In essence, this water conservation scheme was able to remarkably irrigate the country for 10 months within a year without the aid of potable water.

Toilet Problem in Africa: A Never Ending Health and Sanitation Dilemma

The endless saga of Africa’s toilet problem is still prevalent according to a research study by Water raid and its comprehensive report which was released on the 19th day of November, in celebration of the World Toilet Day.

Along this line, it was significantly found out that almost 70% of people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have any toilet accessibility; although there had been several investments made in this respect.

Over the years, several presidents in Africa had bitterly failed to prioritize the paramount importance of sanitation. Consequently, citizens continue to defecate in open areas or they are resorting to use pails to answer the “call of nature.”  Hence, the prevalence of bacteria-related illnesses are inevitable. Significantly, it was found out that for every gram of fecal matter carries 1 million bacteria and 10 million viruses.

To a large extent, the vicious toilet problem in Africa holds back the labor force of this struggling country. Thus, their annual global economic growth had gravely slumped due to these sanitation deficiencies which terribly pushed this country to the limits.

Immediate Solutions

One of the best solutions to this toilet problem in Africa entails deep involvement of both public and private partnerships and the investments of large corporations. Similarly, community-based alliances and non-government organizations are doing their share to finally resolve this issue in the next few years. For instance, Ghana has a team which calls itself as Clean Team Ghana that provides the installation of affordable in-house toilets to urban and low-income communities.

Likewise, there are toilets that do not require any water at all.  Instead, these make use of a chemical to mask the foul odor.  Users have to pay a small amount of 10 cedi which is equivalent to $2.50. Three times week, a waste collector exchanges a used canister for a new and clean one. Wastes are then taken to a processing site where a filthy canister is being washed and sterilized. Generally, the overall cost of this toilet sanitation project is estimated at 35 cedi a month on a per toilet basis.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grants $400,000 for Innovative Toilet Technology in Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa, which is considered to be one of the bastions of origin of life, continues to fall behind in terms of economic and health development. Massive population growth, extreme poverty, severe lack of employment, civil conflicts, and even corruption in the government have been blamed for the slow improvement in the areas of sanitation and water supply over the last 20 years.

Although the figures continue to climb–there’s more than 20% boost in water supply and around 3% for sanitation–it still doesn’t change the fact that millions still don’t have access to these basic necessities, especially latrines or toilets .

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the world, aims to change all that by introducing a very innovative method of sanitation that will not only resolve the poor health facility issues but will also deal with the challenge of obtaining more water supply.

How Will It Work?

First the foundation is extending $400,000 grant to Pollution Research Group, an organization currently being headed by Professor Chris Buckley and is presently based in University of KwaZulu-Natal. The main goal is to harness the wastes that can be derived from several ablution blocks built in some of the impoverished communities in Durban.

One of the first testing grounds for this initiative will be eThekwini, which is home to close to a million people and with an increased population growth of over 6% each year. Most of its adults are also out of work, which can partly explain the lack of proper sanitation facilities in the area.

The project is multifold, though the general principle is consistent: make the most out of the wastes and convert them into something useful for the community. With the help of the technologies including a chlorination process that shall also be designed by the PRG, they will be able to transform solid wastes like diapers into a vital component of fertilizers and flush water and urine into a potential source of water. In the long run, the system will be more sustainable as the converted solid wastes can also be utilized to heat specific components that form part of the entire technology.

The Initiative’s Impact on a Larger Scale

This practical way of addressing the problems of health and sanitation in the community can already have a huge impact in Africa and, to a large extent, the rest of the world. One, the foundation and PRG can work closely with other African-based organizations such as AGRA (Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa), which concentrates on providing support for small-scale farmers who are always plagued with issues on lack of water supply and poor quality of soil. The converted waste products can then be offered to these farmers to augment their own supply.

Second, if this initiative becomes successful, it can be replicated by other African communities and may be modified to work in other impoverished countries where the same access is lacking. Moreover, this may facilitate the reduction of human waste pollution, which is one of the major contributors of water supply contaminations in the world.