A village is the Centre of a new technology driven revolution to define African development from the perspective of the people affected. Instead of the current narrative whereby programmes are led from other continents.
“This is an alternative to traditional international development approaches. An agile approach where the community define, design and drive their own community development into IoT driven SMART villages with a holistic package of services.”
Does that sound fantastic and like a Christmas shopping list for the rabid Africa for Africans crowd?
Meet Perseverance Ganga, the man behind those words. The founder of The International Institute of Junior Coders and Engineers Group describes himself as a serial entrepreneur. He is a development expert.
With over 20 years’ experience at United Nations entailing postings in over 45 countries, and an endless list of qualifications, Perseverance is one of the high achieving Zimbabweans giving the country its well-deserved reputation as the place to find the best people for the job. Whatever that job may be.
He has big plans for his home village, Nyamukondiwa or Makoshori which is 10km from Guruve Growth Point in Mashonaland Central Province of Zimbabwe.
What sets him apart from all other big dreamers is that Perseverance is on the ground, working with the people in the village to build the dream, one step at a time. He has started with piped water into the village. For anyone who understands the challenges of accessing water for most villagers in rural Zimbabwe, that is a giant step in improving lifestyle standards already taken.
The big idea
Perhaps the biggest idea in Perseverance's vision is that of crowdsourcing at village level. To start off with, it is the villagers who define what they want. So ideas are very localized. While basic needs and aspirations are almost universal to all mankind, specifics differ. So villagers in Tsholotsho may not have the exact same vision as the ones in Nyamukondiwa.
The crowdsourcing also helps the initiatives by harnessing available resources for maximum impact. Perseverance says instead of each homestead in the village buying tiny little solar panels, the villagers can come together and create a solar farm. For the same amount of investment, they generate far much more power.
The same goes for things like installing boreholes and other public infrastructure developments. An area with 3000 households can install 12 boreholes in 12 months by having each household contribute a dollar a month.
At the core of this development is a piggery. From two pigs by mid 2021, Perseverance had more than 130 and was working for a milestone of 1000. He is now an established pork farmer.
Conservation, sustainability and renewable are some of the key terms in today’s parlance when it comes to development. With deforestation through the use of firewood for cooking.
The model therefore puts energy as one of the areas to look at. Percy says that bio digester plant fed on waste from the piggery is the solution to provide clean renewable energy to the village.
The model is well thought with matters like transport, recreation, and talent identification and development in the cultural industries taken aboard.
Everything is brought together with ICT. Perseverance believes it is the role of the young and educated people to provide the link between the village and modern technology.
By using the knowledge and skills that they have acquired to solve the challenges facing the country’s population, the onus is on ordinary Zimbabweans to drive development and not wait for someone else to come and do it.
You can tune in to Perseverance talking about the village on:
Sir Perseverance FG(Mbinga Ye Nguruve)
Perseverance's Facebook page, is a place where the man pours out his passion for his homeland. He is unapologetic about celebrating the good things of Zimbabwe. And he shares some little known gems to hook local and international travelers.
His post on the beautiful Mutorashanga pool is a great example. The vivid pictures and the equally fascinating lore just make you itch to find your hiking boots and get there. Who doesn’t want to look through crystal clear waters at the plane on the bottom and wonder how it ended up there?
Calling it like he sees it
While Perseverance goes all out to talk about the multi-faceted beauty of Zimbabwe and is passionately patriotic, he is not one of those pretending that everything is fine.
While he pushes for personal agency to better one’s circumstances in any country in the world, he also recognizes the importance of authorities creating conducive environments.
He takes on issues such as how Government must cultivate real sustainability for farmers through viable producer prices. He argues that it is not empty political utterances, but meaningful and practical policies that will result in Zimbabwe becoming an attractive economic center.
All images including cover courtesy of Perseverance Ganga