#Re-ImagineRural (Part 3)

__”Small big ideas”… What are yours?

Most people in Africa live in rural areas. We will never truly develop Africa until we can take entrepreneurship to these areas! Today I want to look at “small big ideas” that can transform rural communities or are already doing so. I want to hear from entrepreneurs doing “small big things” in rural areas, either for-profit or as social investors. “Small big ideas” are impacting communities all around the world, even through “entrepreneurially-minded” policymakers.

Write to me about anything you are doing, or have seen, that constitutes a “small big idea” that is changing people’s lives.

As an entrepreneur, you should always challenge yourself to find solutions to improve the lives of rural people and empower them to generate higher incomes.

Let me start with something I have been working on with my wife and daughter with the help of some family friends in South Africa:

__ “An egg a day for under-fives.”

During my last board meeting at the Rockefeller Foundation a few months ago, someone shared with me an expert study about the impact of eggs… a “small big idea”! For those who are interested, I will share the link in the Afterthought below.

Now I am sure everyone on this platform knows that malnutrition is one of the greatest challenges affecting poor rural children in some parts of Africa, as well as other parts of the world.

“Stunting” is a condition resulting from poor nutrition and affects children’s’ size and height, as well as their learning potential in school. Children who suffer from stunting may have difficulty concentrating, and thus fall behind their peers in the classroom.

This tragedy not only affects the individual children, but also robs a nation of its future workforce, ultimately contributing to low economic development for the whole nation.

Nutritionists, policymakers, economists and philanthropists have battled to deal with stunting for decades. In some African and South Asian rural communities, stunting affects as many as 40% of the kids!

__What can we do?

While there are many solutions being developed, one study which caught my attention found that if you feed an infant one egg a day up to age five, you can cut incidents of stunting by 47%…

When I showed the study to one of my daughters she asked, “Why don’t we feed the kids eggs?”

“Okay. Let’s put together a project team where we locate regions with a high concentration of stunting, supply them with eggs and see what happens,” suggested her mom.

We then consulted a friend of ours who runs a KFC on how we can secure enough eggs to supply schools in rural areas.

“You can train smallholder farmers to rear “layers” and buy their produce. Any young entrepreneur can be trained to raise chickens. They key is to give them a guaranteed market for their eggs…”

Stay tuned!

“An egg a day for under-fives” is just one “small big idea” of ours, with many beneficiaries now, and into future generations… (I will update you later as our research and pilot project continue).

Meanwhile let me share the “big” idea:

# It helps to deal with the health of the nation and its future workforce.
# It can stimulate an industry. Do you know how big the egg industry is worldwide?
# It can stimulate a national economy.

Do you have a “small big idea” for rural entrepreneurship? Let’s talk.

To be continued. . .

by 24 Replies

About Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

24 thoughts on “#Re-ImagineRural (Part 3)

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.
    Together we need to infuse our “entrepreneurial mindset” into finding solutions to improve the lives of people in rural areas! If every rural school bought eggs from the local community, or themselves kept chickens for their eggs and sold them to the kids and their parents, it could have a real impact on nutrition. What other food groups are critical for a growing child? Are people in your local community involved in producing and selling them?

    Here’s the link to the study I mentioned: https://www.pubfacts.com/detail/30209431/The-benefits-of-animal-products-for-child-nutrition-in-developing-countries

    Reply
    • Evelyn Ruwoko

      Re-ImagineRural ‘Big small ideas
      I must say i was truly excited when you launched this initiative on Nutrition and Food Security as i am currently studying towards a Bsc in Public Health Nutrition. Between 2013 -2016 I was privileged enough to be part of a team of young people working on documentaries on the Effects of Climate Change in Zimbabwe. My idea is based on the fact that the issue of Nutrition in Africa has not been documented especially on video. Imagine the impact of a documentary on ‘An egg a day for under fives’ and if we could have a series of Documentaries on Nutrition in Africa from Child Nutrition, Women and Youths in Farming, Organic Farming, Feeding schemes in rural schools and many more. If a series of 13 episodes could be produced every year and widely distributed undoubtedly there would be an even bigger response from young innovative Africans with brilliant ideas on Nutrition and Food Security in Africa and we would be one step towards food security and making sure that no child dies of malnutrition. There are many channels of ensuring people would have access to these videos for example Kwese, Facebook, YouTube and other TV networks. I hope you can consider my idea and allow me to be part of the team to work on this educative and awareness -raising initiative. Thank you http://www.vimeo.com/twenty28 contains some of the documentaries on Climate Change in Zimbabwe produced by K-2028 Motion.

      Reply
  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.
    I have been reading a lot about eggs. Do you know which country eats the most eggs?
    In your answer don’t just speculate, do your research, and give the number of eggs eaten per capita.
    It would be also interesting if you can find the number of eggs consumed in your own country.

    Reply
    • simbarashe tomah

      according to FAOSTAT South Africa consumes 150 eggs a year per person and Mozambique just 4 eggs wow!! And my country Zimbabwe 42 eggs. The biggest producer of eggs in the world is China followed by USA, no African country in top ten egg producers. Nigeria is the biggest in Africa producing 660 000 metric tonnes metric tonnes, followed by South Africa

      Reply
  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Reflection:
    One of the saddest things I discovered recently was the number of African countries that actually import eggs from places like India, and Brazil!
    For some countries it is as high as 75% import of eggs.

    There is actually a shortage of eggs in most African countries.

    I just don’t get it. Do you?

    Reply
  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Itaba writes,

    If there’s something that every African should have in their hands right now are all your posts Sir Masiyiwa. They Inspires us to do, go where the need is greatest and help the smallest, understanding investing(As Owners not traders) and investors, develop skills, playing by a different (ethical) set of rules(Saying No to Corruption), start small, dreaming big as it possible, to never ever give up and many more.
    Knowing that I could not sleep, waiting for someone else to do that other than myself. I compiled all your posts Sir, with your reflections, pictures, answers to different question and most importantly your afterthoughts. From the Embrace Tomorrow up to this Post as I have added it, divided them into 6 books basing on years. Am requesting for your Permission sir, authorizing me to share it to all the amazing people on this platform for free as the way you are doing it to us. I will use my little phone(through WhatsApp) though it will take some days but I will do it to all your Partners Sir.
    My Short Story, Am Itaba David, a University of Dar es Salaam Student from Tanzania Pursuing Accounting degree at the same time doing my proffessional examinations (CPA). Am 20 years Old looking forward to become a CPA – T next year as nothing turns on that. You have always challenged me to learn and understand number and for that I say Thank You (Ahsante Sana) Sir.

    Following your permission Sir, I will give out my number and start sending the books right away.
    With Love, from Tanzania.

    My reply,
    This is amazing!
    I have asked my team to reach out to you and see what they can do to help you with this initiative of yours.
    I will also ask them to arrange a visit for you to see our businesses, as well as get a small prize of $10,000.
    I feel honored by your efforts.
    Thank you, and others who have done the same.

    Reply
    • Gerald Tapiwa Moyo

      Dear Dr. Masiyiwa.
      It is very amazing to hear that someone really desire to exhibit the good works by you Dr. Masiyiwa for that is a great honour we should thank the Lord God Almighty for that. I am working on a book that aims upon persuading people to do good at all times. Its title is Qualities of Actuality, by the grace of God it is my greatest wish that it reaches to everyone known as a human being.
      Keep on doing the hard work Dr. Philanthropy is benevolence.
      I reside in Goromonzi, Zimbabwe.
      Am Nineteen years of age.
      Am a poet, author (of the first book I just mentioned above), spoken word motivator to the world around me, I have great desire for Computer Programming which am in pursuit of, even though I have not stepped my foot into a university.
      Regards
      Gerald Tapiwa Moyo.

      Reply
  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Julius Muzenda has written a very long proposal (which I don’t recommend):
    Here are some edits from it:

    Julius Muzenda writes,

    Dear Dr Strive Masiyiwa I am a young Entrepreneur aged 24. Iwould like to tell what I’m doing in my rural area Buhera Zimbabwe and also need your support.
    I have a poultry project i named it MAGIC FARM FRESH SUPPLIERS OF LIVE BROILERS,BROWN EGGS & HORTICULTURAL PRODUCTS.

    BACKGROUND
    MAGiC is a small poultry project which started in 2012. It is located in Buhera district, some 50km from Chivhu town along Harare-Murambinda road. The project is at infant stage due to financial limitations, the ideas are great but capital has hindered the growth and success of the project. Currently, we are running the project as a family, myself the father, my wife and 3 children. The project is in two categories, Layers and broilers with 100 birds layers under caging system and a monthly output of 100 boilers per month. We started the project with only small ideas but now dreaming big.
    …..

    WATER SUPPY

    We have a 60 mtrs borehole powered by solar system for cheap and easy access of water. This we managed as a result of the small profits accumulated from the project over a period of 3 years.

    LAND
    The land is on a one and half acres, an inherited family stand and is located in the rural areas under….

    MARKET

    The market is basically the community around us, teachers from nearby schools and townships. As of now I’m failing to meet the demand which can expand …..

    FEEDS AND VACCINES

    Suppliers of feeds and vaccines are in Chivhu town only 50km away from my area making it viable for the project to succeed since transport costs are favourable.

    LIMITATIONS
    Capital – is a major constrain to expand the project to meet demand
    Transport- marketing of products require efficient means of transport, hence there is need for the family to have a pick up.
    Training- My family members need training in poultry management. This is one area I think as a family we need to improve on to manage the project. As of now we are relying upon the basic fundamentals that we learn at high school.
    Market- We need to expand the market up to Chivhu town and Murambinda growth point and nearby high schools

    ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR
    Construction of fowl runs that can accommodate upto 1200 birds
    Providing adquate security by fencing the area encompassing fowl runs and homestead
    Drilling borehole and connection of the solar system for both powering the borehole pump and domestic use lights
    Construction of a storage room with a capacity

    WISHES AND DREAMS

    Expanding the project from the current levels to 10000 birds
    Employer of at least 10 workers
    Be major player in the poulty industry
    Helping the less priveledged in my community, orphans and the old age
    Create a decent income for my family…

    My reply,
    I have decided to grant your wish!
    This is a beautiful initiative.
    You are exactly the type of person I wanted to flush out by this write up.
    I’m going to try and make an example of with you of what is possible:
    #1. I will personally guarantee a loan for you to expand your venture, as well as to give you the necessary training.
    This is assuming that you are able to work with our bank executives and others to develop a satisfactory Business Plan.

    Someone will be in touch with you!
    God bless you!

    Reply
  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Musonda Chansa writes,

    In kaputa in northern Zambia our stuntedness rate stands at 44% one of the highest in Zambia. As a royal establishment we are implementing a cassava /pigeon peas /soya beans project. As a social enterprise spearheaded by our special purpose vehicle we are giving new improved cassava seed varieties, giving land, offering mechanisation, aggregation and market linkage. We are intercroping the cassava with pigeon peas or soya beans to improve soil fertility. The cassava will be sold, the pigeon peas will be used as a source of protein as it contains as protein..

    My reply,
    My small team will be in touch.
    I would like to connect you with the people at Agra. I will pay for you to visit them.
    I would also like to see if we cannot help you to expand into poultry for those eggs.

    Reply
  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    #A call to action!
    @MasiyiwaChallenge!

    I have always been fascinated by Rural Industries. It would be great if we could develop an online network in each African country so that we can register businesses that operate in rural communities:
    #Register and put the information online, including helping them set up websites.
    #Promote and share information.
    #Provide access to capital for those who set up businesses of any kind in rural areas.
    #Skills training for rural entrepreneurs.
    #. Research ventures that can be carried out in rural communities:
    -study examples in other countries including places like India, China, Indonesia where I have seen some amazing rural ventures.

    This type of network does not need government, and can be done by social entrepreneurs on this platform.
    If you manage to set something up in your country, I would like to know in a few months time. Who knows what we might do together!

    Reply
  8. webteknik

    This is all a political stunt to delay or derail the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The dumb Republicans always fall for these Democrat political stunts and that is really the problem. They need to grow a pair and stop the Democrats from doing this every time a conservative is nominated for the Supreme Court. Republicans are going overboard on this (just yesterday KellyAnne Conway came out and said this is serious and must be taken that way) which tells me she was heavily influenced by the MeTwoMovement. Democrats like to say its the seriousness of the charge, not whether the charge is true. Remember during the 2012 presidential election, the Democrat Senate Majority Leader (Harry Reid) kept saying Romney never filed income tax returns and that he owed back taxes. After the election was over, Harry Reid was asked about the absurd statement that Mitt Romney did not pay his taxes and Reid said it worked, didn”t it because Romney did not get elected. That is also what is going on here by the Democrat Party. They are so corrupt and crooked that they will do anything to get and stay in power. Republicans need to take a vote and move on because all this stuff with Ms. Ford is a distraction. Remember Ms. Ford is a Democrat activist who hates President Trump so much, she would do anything to thaw him from accomplishing his job. I say, ignore these accusations from this lady because she also has mental problems.

    Reply
  9. Stephen Kamugasa

    This indeed is great work! It is commendable and must be encouraged. But what Africa needs most of all is basic – what some may dismiss it as primitive – means of assistance to allow rural poor Africans to produce more food in order to feed themselves, and where possible, to sell the surplus at a market for real ready cash…

    Reply
  10. Gerald Tapiwa Moyo

    I am deeply motivated by the contents of this blog and I also wish the whole world may be able to read and understand the cases that are in the less privileged parts of our communities. It is such an amazing role that Mr Masiyiwa is playing I am captivated by the works you are doing Sir. Myself as a poet I have been trying my level best to promulgate to the world so that it may also open its eyes to give a hand to those in real need. I have wrote Give me Love and Shelter a poet which expresses deep requests for love, shelter and food.
    I would like to work in this situation for the better to the children and those who need actual help. You can catch me up on +263779266108.

    Regards
    Gerald Tapiwa Moyo.

    Reply
  11. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Obi Benito writes,

    Permit me to say this sir: you are a gift to Africa, you are a gift to me because I have learnt a lot from you. From your lessons I took the courage and started a small business against all odds- without money, even in the midst of discouragement from family members. I took the risk of purchasing in credit and supplying, and it paid off. I have started something, in garri and oil (food products) supply. I am still a university student. So time and chance are not too friendly to me. Though the business suffers setbacks. Nevertheless, my joy is that I now know how the business runs so it is easier now to launch into any larger dimension. Presently I am facing a major transport and logistics challenge, the goods are not arriving in time, it has led to disappointment in the part of my customers. But I just remember your last talk on “Rural Transport and Logistics” . Maybe this is happening because I am needed to fix it up, probably after my university education. As for rural industries sir, I need you to assure me of a loan after school and I will make you proud. God bless Dr Strive, I love you sir.

    My reply,
    I’m proud of you!
    First of all I need you to complete your education. For your generation it is almost impossible to make progress in future without an education. Since you are smart go all the way.
    If you can try and add to that education some business courses. I want you to be able to draw up a proper business plan.

    Reply
  12. Evelyn Ruwoko

    #Re-ImagineRural ‘Big small ideas
    I must say i was truly excited when you launched this initiative on Nutrition and Food Security as i am currently studying towards a Bsc in Public Health Nutrition. Between 2013 -2016 I was privileged enough to be part of a team of young people working on documentaries on the Effects of Climate Change in Zimbabwe. My idea is based on the fact that the issue of Nutrition in Africa has not been documented especially on video. Imagine the impact of a documentary on ‘An egg a day for under fives’ and if we could have a series of Documentaries on Nutrition in Africa from Child Nutrition, Women and Youths in Farming, Organic Farming, Feeding schemes in rural schools and many more. If a series of 13 episodes could be produced every year and widely distributed undoubtedly there would be an even bigger response from young innovative Africans with brilliant ideas on Nutrition and Food Security in Africa and we would be one step towards food security and making sure that no child dies of malnutrition. There are many channels of ensuring people would have access to these videos for example Kwese, Facebook, YouTube and other TV networks. I hope you can consider my idea and allow me to be part of the team to work on this educative and awareness -raising initiative. Thank you http://www.vimeo.com/twenty28 contains some of the documentaries on Climate Change in Zimbabwe produced by K-2028 Motion.

    Reply
  13. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Ngozi writes,

    We started the poultry business in 2016 with a vacant rooms at the back of our house in Ikorodu a rural area of Lagos state. We wanted a test-run because of the little background of elementary agric science we had back at school.
    We started with 30 Broilers and to our surprise we sold off at maturity and people demanded more.

    Before then, we also bought 50 pieces of layers, that was the game changer, we saw possibilities, we supply our neighborhood eggs and we can’t meet their demands.
    Because of space we need expansion, we built a shed to accommodate 200 layers and 100 broilers. Yet can’t meet the demand.

    We want to acquire at least 5000 layers, buy cages for them, be trained on how to produce our feeds, have access on sourcing our medication and vaccines at a good rate, and buy trucks to help in transportation of goods and commodity.

    My reply,
    I like this!
    Now we can help with training and some Impact capital. We will bring you to Zimbabwe as part of the training.
    My people will reach out to you.

    Reply
  14. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Adeyemi writes (He is in Oil and Gas).

    You afe going to be very rich one day. Not because you are in oil and gas but because you are a smart entrepreneur.
    Don’t cut corners. Keep learning.
    You will be just fine.
    I’m proud of you!

    Reply
  15. clifton ngungu

    Hie Strive my name is Clifton Ngungu and I’m an entrepreneur who is developing a supply chain model via Muzinda Hub. Our project stems from the hypothesis that African farmers are subsistence farmers by nature (farming is mostly hand to mouth) and yet agriculture remains the last gateway to attaining a better livelihood for most smallholder farmers. Farmers sell a portion of their harvests to get money to pay bills etc. , whilst they store the remainder for subsistence purposes. However for farmers to buy groceries and inputs they first have to sell their produce and then make their purchases. As a result of this we began testing a supply chain model that allows rural households to purchase groceries and inputs within their communities via barter trade. We have a small network of micro-traders who are operating this business model at a profit margin of over 60%. We have developed an e-commerce web app that all our agents will soon use to order their business stock. I would like to partner with Ecofarmer and Ecosure in offering more value to smallholder farmers and empowering more rural entrepreneurs via this supply chain model.

    Reply
  16. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Pascal writes,

    Only recently I met and interacted with two groups of people doing amazing things to help the African child.

    1) I met a team of young doctors, who developed a growth monitoring device that detects early warning signs of stunting in children below five. The amazing thing about this device is that it is so simple to use, that women in the village were able to use it accurately after a trial demo. I mean unschooled mothers. The potential to turn the tide of stunting in African children with this device is limitless. And this technology is patented. They are actively seeking partnerships now to make it mainstream.

    2) I also got involved with Save A School Initiative, the brainchild of a Lioness Mum who has been a follower of your platform. She has taken it upon herself to raise funds to transform schools in rural areas, starting with Funmiland schools, a ramshackle school in the swamps of Lagos and changing it to a place befitting human learning. With this initiative, over a hundred students of this school will no longer have to sit in the mud and rain to receive their classes.

    I am thoroughly inspired by these people doing great things that have the potential to turn the lives of our children around for the better, especially those in rural Africa.

    My reply,
    Awesome!
    Send us more details on both of them.

    Reply
  17. Evelyn Ruwoko

    Re-ImagineRural ‘Big small ideas
    I must say i was truly excited when you launched this initiative on Nutrition and Food Security as i am currently studying towards a Bsc in Public Health Nutrition. Between 2013 -2016 I was privileged enough to be part of a team of young people working on documentaries on the Effects of Climate Change in Zimbabwe. My idea is based on the fact that the issue of Nutrition in Africa has not been documented especially on video. Imagine the impact of a documentary on ‘An egg a day for under fives’ and if we could have a series of Documentaries on Nutrition in Africa from Child Nutrition, Women and Youths in Farming, Organic Farming, Feeding schemes in rural schools and many more. If a series of 13 episodes could be produced every year and widely distributed undoubtedly there would be an even bigger response from young innovative Africans with brilliant ideas on Nutrition and Food Security in Africa and we would be one step towards food security and making sure that no child dies of malnutrition. There are many channels of ensuring people would have access to these videos for example Kwese, Facebook, YouTube and other TV networks. I hope you can consider my idea and allow me to be part of the team to work on this educative and awareness -raising initiative. Thank you http://www.vimeo.com/twenty28 contains some of the documentaries on Climate Change in Zimbabwe produced by K-2028 Motion.

    Reply
  18. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Thought of the day!

    I remember some years ago visiting a village in one of the Indian states, and noticed some milk cows in small paddocks. They were fed and watered in situ and did not roam around. There is no space there for roaming cattle [a practice which is now discouraged in many countries, as part of modernization]:

    “Each family is given a cow, under a program we call the “white revolution”, the milk is collected by entrepreneurs who provide cold storage and distribution.”
    Someone explained to me.
    I was impressed as I realized that this is part of a fight against stunting.

    Being a “FAST FOLLOWER”, I thought to myself imagine if African governments could do the same with cows:
    If each family were given a loan to have a milk cow, and also assisted with feedstock solutions so they don’t roam around. You could have a Cold Chain Storage system at the local business center and people could deliver their milk daily on bicycles. It would need a generation of young entrepreneurs who would develop products beyond just milk. In another country I saw an effective solar powered cold storage system for fruit, vegetables, milk and meat. It’s not all grinding mills at our rural business centers, we can add other services.
    Imagine if every rural school child had a glass of milk and an egg a day. The learning outcomes would be phenomenal.

    It just needs a new way to @ReImagineRural.

    Reply
  19. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Thought of the day!

    I once bumped into a young African entrepreneur on one of my travels, who had a remarkable vision:
    He had left the US and returned to Africa to start a rural “Contract Ploughing Business.” His Model was simple:
    He wanted to buy tractors, and set up a base at a rural Business Center. He would then go out and plough for local small holder farmers, on the understanding that he would be paid 20% of the harvest. He also provided Transport to the farmers with his tractors.
    Being a banker he understood that he could finance that business just like a farmer.
    He knew that small holder farmers can not afford to own tractors and transport vehicles, or to set up infrastructure like drying plants.

    He planned to set up shared storage and drying facilities for things like maize and Cassava.
    Grain Storage is s huge global industry which is not done by governments in most countries.

    Whilst I never heard from him again. It is the kind of thinking that I would personally invest in.
    These are the kinds of initiatives I’m interested in highlighting during this series.
    The future of Africa absolutely depends on this type of entrepreneurship.

    This is the type of entrepreneurship that will drive:@ReImagineRural

    “Come’On guys, where are you”?!

    Reply

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