We thought about what would an ideal village look like, where abundance was all around? This a preliminary list suitable for a country like Malawi, where many are living below poverty line. We have not included the basic needs such as access to food, water and sanitation, as those are part of national goals met through the national programmes already in place.
In an Abundance village: 1. All households have fuel efficient stoves. Having fuel efficient stoves reduces time for women to collect firewood thereby allowing them more time to care for their children, participate in income generation activities and improving their health.
2. All households have at least one tree in their homestead We hope to encourage each homestead to choose a tree of their choice, whether it is tree for firewood or a fruit tree and plant it in their land.
3. At least one bicycle for each household A bicycle is more than just a two wheeled transportation, it is freedom to move out of the village to seek economic opportunities, it is reduced time to travel to clinics and places to look for work...its is an empowering vehicle.
4. At least one mobile phone per household Mobile phone means possibilities... endless possibilities for improving people's life through connecting to people who might buy their products, inform about jobs, community events, be informed about news from the radio (in the phone) and allow the external world to get in touch with people. Nobody can manipulate others by withholding information. A mobile phone helps share information and empowers. If every household in the abundance village had smart phones, the possibilities are endless!
5. At least one solar lamp per household Solar power is the way to go in communities who are completely off the grid. Having a solar lamp in the house allows the mother to continue her household chores, children to study and more productive time for adults in the house doing things that generate income.
6. All schools have desks and chairs We visited schools in Malawi that did not have desks and chairs and this saddened us. Basic furniture MUST be available at all schools. Children should not be sitting on the floor to study.
7. At least one bicycle ambulance per village The elderly in the village need to be transported to clinics on time and bicycle ambulances are excellent for this and suitable for the poor road conditions in these rural areas. We feel every village should have at least one bicycle ambulance for its elderly population.
8. At least one tree nursery at the village Tree nurseries help generate income and have multiplier effects as planting a tree provides fruits, bark and wood for a long time when sustainably harvested.
9. Youth training opportunities available The youth who have been left out of the formal education system (due to inability to pay fees or if they have failed primary school) should be provided with opportunities to learn some skill of their choice. This gives them opportunities to become entrepreneurial and generate jobs for others.
10. Support for sick and elderly. We believe that the sick and elderly must be cared for and we must meet their needs, which may vary... from blankets during winter to refurbishing their roofs during rainy season.
Any suggestions on adding to this list is very welcome!