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General News of Monday, 5 October 2009

Source: GNA

Ghana wins Africa Rural Connect contest

Accra, Oct 5, GNA - Africa Rural Connect (ARC) of the United States has announced the second round of winning ideas on how to help solve rural Africa's greatest challenges and strengthen agricultural development and Ghana emerged the winner.

An ARC statement said the United States took the second prize and Senegal was third. The ARC Web site is meant to revitalize the international development landscape by helping change the way people around the world share their ideas online and build upon the knowledge of others.

Last month, the three top ideas selected were from Nigeria, Washington, D.C. and Ghana.

Ghana takes home project seed money of $3,000 dollars and the idea that won the top prize was "The Self-Supported Ghanaian Subsistence Farmers" that aims to bring together subsistence farmers and help them to use their potentials, opportunities and resources. The United States' Belly Full Project's "Acceleration of Innovation Programme" won it $2,000. The programme will open channels of communication among groups of people interested in designing simple technologies that can be reproduced in developing countries. The project, to be piloted in Malawi, is working to develop simple, locally produced, income-generating technologies for developing countries. Senegal's "Project Irrigation Initiative" won it $1,000. It is a small-scale irrigation project to increase fruit tree and gardening production and promote agro forestry technologies in rural communities in the West African country. "We are excited about the calibre of ideas that have been posted on the site so far and we're really seeing the Wegora technology help foster a whole new way of thinking online about these types of issues," says Molly Mattessich, manager of Africa Rural Connect and a former Mali Peace Corps Volunteer, said in the statement. "The volume of posts from people and groups around the world has steadily increased and we hope to see that trend continue in the coming months," she said. This is the second time ARC has announced winners for its online contest. Through November, monthly winners are chosen based on the number of endorsements they receive from other participants on the site.

All monthly round winners will compete in the final round later this year where one winning idea will be selected by a panel and awarded $20,000 to implement their plan.

"The contest has spread geographically and transcended borders--we hope to continue receiving ideas particularly from participants on the ground in Africa because we believe they have so much to add to the online discussion," Ms Mattessich said. 05 Oct 09