As 2017 draws to a close, we consider the work of the South-South Knowledge Transfer Strategies project.
For millions of disadvantaged people in Eastern and Southern Africa, bamboo has high potential for contributing to poverty alleviation, environmental protection and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Bamboo can be easily integrated into agriculture – including wastelands, degraded lands and in homesteads – or farmed as the main cash crop by smallholders. Bamboo is a perennial resource that can withstand drought and be harvested annually or as needed for cash. Bamboo produces new leaves throughout the year, which are good for fodder and feed, and also sheds leaves year-round, which is good for the soil. Bamboo is also a source of wood and energy, which enables rural communities to break into these products’ markets to raise off-farm income.
The South-South Knowledge Transfer Strategies project aims to help rural communities realise these benefits. The initiative, which is led by INBAR and funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the European Union, works across in Ethiopia, Madagascar and Tanzania. It also includes India, a well-developed bamboo economy and one with a number of important technologies and experiences to share.
This year, the project made some real advances.
We also published a number of training reports on how to set up a bamboo nursery, as well as how to build and operate a bamboo charcoal kiln. All technical reports can be accessed on our resource centre, under ‘INBAR Resources’, by typing ‘South-South technical bulletin’.
Throughout the year, we have published news updates to keep readers informed of the project’s many training activities, which have focused on everything from bamboo propagation and bamboo species analysis, to bamboo’s use in furniture making, reducing water run-off, as a source of food and even how to set up and run a bamboo processing facility. Our updates also include important events, such as the visit by a senior Ethiopian official to one of our project sites back in June. The need for this training is made clear by stories about our work: for example, in Beravina Telomita, Madagascar’s ‘bamboo village’.
Communication is key to the success of South-South cooperation, and of this project. In line with the project’s ambitious communications and transparency guidelines, we have created a simple video to explain what this initiative aims to do:
Finally – South-South cooperation is a learning process. The experiences of this project will help inform and adapt ongoing initiatives in other areas. The South-South Knowledge Transfer Strategies initiative forms an important part of INBAR’s latest flagship report, Inspiring Sustainable Development Using Bamboo. This report is the latest in the UN Office for South-South Cooperation’s South-South in Action series, and should become an important part of the literature.