Infrastructure for Prosperous Villages
Lack of power is a big obstacle for rural development. but relatively simple cost effective technology makes it possible for any village to generate enough electricity sustainably to provide power for local industry, agriculture and residential needs Decentralized free standing community based energy systems can be cost effective - if they are designed as an integral part of the village development master plan .
The pilot project in the Democratic Republic of Congo has clearly demonstrated that small farmers can develop and build the solutions which will lead to a better future for their families and communities. Starting in 2005, in a barren valley, and with a staff of only 12 people, the prototype agro-based community in Democratic Republic of Congo now has over 3,500 paid staff, thousands of unpaid volunteers, and harvests over 100 different organically grown crops. Last year, the project’s corn harvest was over 12,000 tons and the rice harvest exceeded 3000 tons. This figure is climbing steadily every year, and work is beginning on 10 more community-based agro cooperatives in the area. Six years ago, 98% of the population in this area was unemployed, and nearly everyone was facing starvation. Now, the province is making steady progress towards its goal of full employment.
Community member who want to run business have the opportunity to receive the best vociational training. Sometimes this may take the form of an interndhip with an existing business. In order to qualify for financial assistance, the budding entrepreneur must complete all training. Even farmers need training - they need the practical skills necessary to transform wasteland into fertile farmland, as well as business skills.
Rural communities have plenty of brilliant hard working people. Often, all they need to succeed is the start up capital, which can often be very small. Farmers also need capital to buy seeds, equipment and related materials for the next planting, and a bank to take payment for their harvest. The communities need capital to make possible infrastructure improvements. Rural communities are generally underserved, and getting micro and meso loans is practically impossible. The GSR Village Banking Net is a low cost low risk solution.