Strathclyde Telegraph

The Sustainable Village Initiative

 

Among the many societies on our campus, Enactus certainly is among the least known ones. However, it is the largest student society in the world, present in almost 40 countries and in 59 universities in the UK alone. It is a not-for-profit organisation which encourages the students involved to act in an entrepreneurial way to make the world a better place for everyone. They do so by creating projects that focus on empowering people through improving their skills so that they can be the key to their own success.

In order to start a project, students conduct a needs assessment with their intended beneficiary group, which could be anyone in disadvantaged conditions, to understand how they could add the most value to their lives. Then, they look for project partners to cooperate with, who have a higher degree of understanding of the beneficiaries’ conditions, or have field access in the case of an international project. Afterward, Enactus students develop a business model so that the project can generate a revenue and hence become a proper social enterprise. Part of the revenue is usually reinvested into the project for its future development, and part is split among the beneficiaries to empower them financially. The ultimate goal of every Enactus project is to become sustainable, which means that the team which started it can step back and let it develop on its own.

Enactus Strathclyde has three projects running, two of which are in different phases of their initial stage, and one already well developed.

The newest project is still performing the needs and wants assessment, and it aims to work with unemployed youth. The goal is to enable this youth to develop relevant skills that they will be able to use in a future job search and overall push them in the right direction out of unemployment. The other project is in a slightly more developed phase, having already acknowledged the needs of the beneficiaries, and it aims to teach basic business skills to illiterate adults, and to enable them to earn a wage through selling ethically sourced local snacks into small businesses in Glasgow.

The more advanced project is the Sustainable Village Initiative (SVI). It is set in the village of Chiok Alonga Yieri in Northern Ghana, where last winter they built a borehole that provides the 600 villagers with fresh and drinkable water. It also enables two women who take care of the maintenance and who manage it to gain an income that allows them to send their children to school. From continuous communication with the villagers, the SVI has identified the need for farming during the dry months of the year. The project leader is travelling to Ghana in January with a project member to implement an irrigation system to help combat this problem. From talks with the village farmers, they have decided that such a system will be built with bamboo plants by the villagers themselves. This is a much cheaper and more environmentally friendly way than working with a company that would use their pre-designed set, disregarding the irregular shape of the fields in the village. Empowering the farmers to work for a longer period of time throughout the year will also enable their wives to set up a cooperative for selling the produce in markets in nearby villages, further improving their financial conditions.

In order to travel to Ghana, Enactus Strathclyde is launching a crowdfunding campaign on November the 2nd. Please go visit their Facebook page  and follow the link from which you can donate, or share it with your parents and friends and spread the word.