For the past 15 years, Africa has seen remarkable change. New
energies, new experiences, a burst of creativity, a courage defying
explanation are being manifested by millions of people. Especially
in the villages, a silent revolution is underway that is changing
the continent's developmental landscape. In tropical Africa,
literally millions of farmers have moved to take the future into
their own hands and to reclaim the self-reliance that was theirs
until the disruption of colonial occupation and the
post-independence era of rapid modernization. As a result of the
tens of thousands of small village projects that they have
initiated, these farmers are improving their living conditions.
Because most people outside of Africa know little of these
changes, Pradervand has written of a grassroots revolution which
could be the greatest sign of hope for Africa today. This unique
study, the outgrowth of his four and one-half month, 14,000
kilometer trip through 111 villages in Senegal, Mali, Burkina,
Faso, Zimbabwe, and Kenya topples many stereotypes and offers a
hopeful view of African development. It describes the numerous
self-help projects initiated by peasant farmers including the
creating of original savings schemes, the invention of new food
storage systems, the distribution of family planning information,
the setting up of barter exchanges, the organization of centers for
traditional medicine, and the building of indigenous farmers'
organizations. The book also lays great emphasis on the cultural
dimensions of development and how peasant-farmers are stressing the
need to return to their own cultural roots.
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