AfricaRuralConnect project the recipient of an Interactive Media Council Outstanding Achievement Award, a lot more people know it too.Who knew the Peace Corps were Web developers? Certain African farmers did anyway. Now, with its
ARC is a product of the National Peace Corps Association and provides a platform for Africans in the business of agriculture, and those interested in African agricultural issues to present, hear and remix each others' ideas.
The site is built on Wegora, "a collaborative writing platform with an integrated semantic analytics engine."
The site solicits ideas, community members remix them, improving them, commenting or questioning them, endorsing them. These remixes are portable and follow both the original idea and the remixer's profile through the site. The conversations that ensue resemble nothing so much as a bunch of entrepreneurs networking and workshopping their ideas.
Those who suggest the ideas that win a given round, based on the number of endorsements they get, receive prizes. The grand prize is $12,000. This year's ARC contest goes through the month of November.
"Prizes will be awarded to ideas considered the most original, creative, practical, scalable, and likely to succeed and offer the greatest improvements in the lives of small-scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa," said Molly Mattessich, manager of online initiatives for the NPCA, a group and herself a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali.
"We hope this recognition will draw even more people to the site to submit their ideas and engage in a discussion on how to help rural Africa."
Current ideas include "Fusing Sports (Football) with Rabbit and Bee Commercial Farming for Youth Development and Wealth Creation in Murang'a South," "Using Biogas to Change Rural Lives" and "Fuel Energy from Agricultural Waste."