The NAWSA MAD SYSTEM (ASWAN DAM Backwards)

by Paul Polak Replicating the Functions of the Aswan Dam on Two Acre Farms: Like all big dams, the High Aswan dam traps monsoon rainwater and stores it in the 550 km long Nasser Lake behind it, and distributes it by canal to farmers’ fields during dry season, when irrigation water is desperately needed to grow crops. But can we do the same thing on-farm for the 450 million farms in the world that are smaller than five acres? This would make a game-changing contribution to ending extreme poverty and food insecurity at the same time. The remarkable thing is that this is entirely feasible.…

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Want to Scale-Up your Development Project? Make a Bollywood Movie

In the late 1980’s after launching IDE, I knew we had a big problem. We were convinced that treadle pumps, a simple $25 StairMaster device that could earn a net income of $100 a year or more for one-acre farmers could make a huge impact in Bangladesh. And we knew that market forces were the best way to bring them to scale. But how could we put them in the hands of millions of small farmers? We started out by energizing a private sector network of 75 small manufacturers, 2500 village dealers, and 3,000 village well drillers who we trained a three day course with…

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