I was sharing with you about a new Malian NGO project that arrived in Sikasso. You recall a while back I mentioned how a drip irrigation system magically appeared over night. It set up on the side of the main road through Sikasso.
Some people arrived to set up the system for this gentleman as an “example” an left. No training, no follow up, nor did they seem to provide any further help or advice. A disaster in the making in development project.
They manged to plunked a sign in the ground with a phone number to call to buy a like drip irrigation a system. When I asked him how he unclogs the drip hokes, he said they gave him a tool. I asked to see it and he said it is in the bag back at the house. For two weeks he was not even coming to the garden with the tool required to verify and keep the drips flowing properly.
However, due to his lack of understanding, the young Malian gentleman stopped watering the plants with the irrigation system, and started hand watering. I went to see him a few weeks after the set up and he generally did not get how drip irrigation works, and had a serious lack of the basic comprehension. So, he began telling all the people coming by, “I doubt this system a lot.”
After I passed by, a few of my drip network friends stopped by to see the guy as well, since they know the man.
Their discussions with him made it clear that it was simply a situation where he was never taught, trained, or given any follow up. So the poor man was discouraged and not understanding the basics of how the simple drip system works, saves him time, money, and can radically increase harvest.
So my two guys, with experience in drip irrigation with me, took him to see their systems, and took the time to explain how drip operates, and what simple steps are required each day to keep things working well.
A week later, presto, the guy is excited and seems to “get it” now. He realizes it’s much less work, and it just plan old works to water the garden well, and is now talking about Getting a second system.
He’s changed his tune. Which is good for him, the project he is part of, and our work as well. We do not need people spreading the word that drip irrigation does not work. It’s simply not the case.
Anyway, I was kind of proud of my guys. They are doing exactly what I taught them to do. Share the information and knowledge broadly and freely. Have those conversations with everyone about drip irrigation and other simple ideas. SPREAD THE WORD. This information needs to come for them, locals, to their their neighbors. Not from me the foreigner.
I was so proud of these guys because here they are, out helping another humanitarian development project get off it’s feet for the good of the local people. Helping a fellow human, making it work for his future.
What do they get for doing this? What do they get for helping to fix this other NGO agency major start up fail? Nothing.
My friends get no pat on the back for it. MOPD gets no recognition or pat on the back for bringing our knowledge to bear on the situation, but that is OK.
The leaders of this other NGO project have no idea how colossal a failure their launch was, an what people were saying. They had no idea how much damage this could have done to our project. I bet they did not even know we are here working and promoting the same thing. And, lastly they probably will never know about Salifu, and Emmanuel, and how much help they received from them these guys.
A family was helped, and we hope many more discover drip irrigated gardening in this region through this new project. They need to be here.