We at the International Fund for Africa (IFA) believe that only Africans can solve Africa's problems and that resolving matters of food insecurity, water shortages, use of alternative energy, mitigating dire effects of global warming, better stewardship of Africa's ecosystems, providing better and expanded health care, and expanding basic education are essential to Africa's successful economic development.
IFA's founders and directors believe that the best way to address these problems is to focus on rural parts of Africa where some 90 percent of Africans live. The village is the basic unit of African society. We at IFA propose the concept of the "Green Village" to solve the problem of economic development in Africa for the 21st century. The Green Village combines solar power, water harvesting, edible landscaping, conservation farming, and protected cultivation to provide electrical power, water, and food for village-scale economic development.
The Green Village concept can advance many aspects of economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. Food and water security is crucial for every human being. Solar power can replace or augment mechanical and draft-animal power and human labor to make food and water abundantly available, especially when combined with high-yield, sustainable agricultural practices.
IFA proposes to create Green Community Health and Development Centers throughout rural Africa, starting in Zemero, Ethiopia Green Community Health and Development Centers will focus mainly on rural health care and rural development.
Rural Health Care
The link between human health and economic development is well understood by health-care professionals. The more economically developed a society, the better the health and well-being of its people. Electrical power, water, and food provide for basic human needs. A healthy society is a productive society, and fulfilling basic needs enables continued economic development.
IFA's first Green Community Health and Development Centers will be established in Zemero, Ethiopia. Ethiopia's health problems are severe. The World Health Organization reports that infectious and communicable diseases account for 60 to 80 percent of health problems in Ethiopia, which is ranked seventh in the world for the prevalence of tuberculosis. Over five percent of Ethiopia's adult population is estimated to be HIV-positive. Malaria is one of the leading causes of morbidity. The HIV/AIDS pandemic, together with malaria, has driven Ethiopia's poor even deeper into poverty. IFA is acting on the basis that the health-care model that has long predominated in Africa has failed.
Almost universally, Africa's medical clinics' mandate is limited to the medical health of their rural patients. This model, imported from the West, is, unfortunately, incapable of preventing the causes of chronic health-care crises in African villages and does not sufficiently address the devastating effects of poverty, malnutrition, lack of potable water, lack of basic hygiene, lack of education, and lack of infrastructure like roads and electrical power. Patients are often treated and sent back into the community, only to return before long with the same afflictions because underlying practices and conditions that led to the problem in the first place persist.
This model is more costly and less effective than the model IFA proposes, as it continually strains to respond over and over again to recurring problems driven by a panoply of disease factors beyond its reach. The persistence and prevalence of these problems also takes a terrible toll on the villagers themselves, further reducing their capacity to live healthy lives.
IFA proposes to build clinics adjacent to Green Community Health and Development Centers in communities that do not have clinics, or work closely with established clinics as in Zemero, Ethiopia. Green Community Health and Development Centers will focus not only on treating patients but also on disease prevention and health education.The IFA team in Zemero undertook a related medical mission in March 2011.
As mentioned above, the African people's only way out of poverty and its far-reaching consequences is a sustainable, replicable, indigenous model of rural development, initiated by Africans for Africans.
IFA proposes to create the first model Green Village for Africa in the small village of Zemero, Ethiopia, by building a Green Community Health and Development Centers. The Zemero Green Community Health and Development Centers will include a medical clinic, a demonstration garden and model farm, and a multi-purpose center with kitchen, dining area, classroom, and food-processing and food-storage center. The goals of the project are to provide the local people with the necessary training and tools for them to create their own Green Village; local economic development through local production and control of electrical power, water and food; and a Center for health care and education with emphasis on prevention, plant-based diets, and medical treatment.
The model farm and garden will demonstrate advanced techniques of water harvesting, conservation farming, watershed preservation and rehabilitation, and the use of plant-based fertility inputs including composts and fermented plant extracts. Other advanced farming techniques will include the use of low-cost greenhouses and tunnels to provide protected cultivation. Each Center will demonstrate various solar components so the people will embrace these technologies.
The multi-purpose facility will provide meeting and gathering space, a kitchen and food-preparation area, and a room to serve meals and hold meetings. Classroom space will include Internet access and audio-visual capabilities. A workshop will teach trainees how to build solar stills and other devices to provide pure drinking water for the emerging Green Village. Thus IFA aims to empower the people to take their future into their own hands, creating a sustainable society with greater well-being and less illness and misery than in recent generations.
IFA's founders, directors, and supporters are determined to alleviate to the extent possible the cycle of poverty and hunger in Ethiopia and elsewhere in Africa. We will focus on improving health care by improving rural clinics, starting in Zemero with medical equipment and supplies, ambulance and patient transport services, and training to increase the number of qualified medical personnel.
Not everyone is able to go to Africa and work to remedy this intolerable situation, but your donation to IFA will go a long way toward alleviating poverty, hunger, and disease for people in desperate need of basic services so many people take for granted. Please make your donation today. Any and all donations, no matter how small, are greatly appreciated.