Sunday, July 04, 2004

AD3 African Diaspora for Development Day

AD3 is an annual event,organised by AFFORD. Visit their website for details

People who know the history of CawdNet know that it began through the vision of the late Peter Adetunji Oyawale, a Nigerian who was living in the UK. When he died, in the early days of the project, the links with the Diaspora were broken. This year CawdNet took a stall at AD3 in the hope of recreating some of those links. Various information sheets were prepared for the great day.

These information sheets are posted on the blog:
- AD3 CawdNet Components
- AD3 CawdNet and You - How to develop your development interests
- AD3 - Buying into the Future
- AD3 - Cawd Volunteers - How you can get involved
- AD3 - CawdNet Enterprises - Investment opportunites to enable small and medium enterprises

AD3 - CawdNet Enterprises - Investment opportunites to enable small and medium enterprises

Enabling SMEs in rural Nigeria


CawdNet is uniquely placed to support the development of SMEs, Small and Medium Enterprises, in rural Nigeria. CawdNet is firmly based in rural communities in various states in Nigeria. It knows local people, situations and needs. It has extensive experience of capacity building through micro-credit and training. It has pioneered effective communication links. It has an extensive network of key people in the rural communities. These people are beyond the reach of the telecommunications infrastructure, so cannot be reached by phone, fax or email. Even the postal service is unreliable. Personal contacts are the key to effective communication in these areas, and CawdNet has the contacts. CawdNet is also active, through the Internet with “the connected community”.

This makes for a powerful network for setting up new enterprises.

CawdNet is looking at various business initiatives, which are a natural development of its present work. These can be considered under two broad headings, distributed and centralised.


Distributed enterprises build on the micro credit work but take it a step further. Microcredit tends to be used for very small, one-person initiatives, like petty trading and soap making. CawdNet wants to move that up a stage. The distributed enterprises will be slightly ambitious, but building on CawdNet's established strengths and experience. CawdNet will provide a one-stop-shop and a sheltering umbrella for the set up and support of the small businesses.

The example of mini-solar production

Most of the people in rural Nigeria are served badly or not at all regarding mains electricity. As a result many of the devices that they use are battery driven, and recharging batteries is difficult, if not impossible. A workable solution is to re-charge using solar power.

In Kenya there is a small business, which assembles “mini-solar” devices. These devices enable people to use solar power to charge the batteries for their torches, radios, walkmen, phones and so on. The raw materials for the solar “panels” are off-cuts that might otherwise be wasted, so they are comparatively inexpensive. The end products are affordable and in demand. In the Kenyan example the assembly unit is at an orphanage, where it is successfully providing income.

CawdNet would like to set up a number of similar businesses scattered over the various states where it is active. CawdNet would provide the initial training, business plans, the loans necessary to get started, ongoing support, help with marketing as required, and a source of components needed in the assembly process.


CawdNet is in a good position to learn about business initiatives, goods and services, that are working well elsewhere and adapt them to the needs of rural Nigerians. These will be ordinary centralised enterprises, and require little explanation here.

For example there is a successful business in South America, built on an imaginative approach to implementing domestic solar in an affordable way. The idea might transfer well to Nigeria, but first we need to do market research to compare the South American and Nigerian situation regarding present outgoings on candles and kerosene

CawdNet Enterprises offers unique opportunities for people wanting to invest in the future of rural Nigeia

AD3- Cawd Volunteers - How you can get involved

Cawd Volunteers support the CawdNet network in various ways

- Linking with representatives of the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) through the weekly email exchange

- Doing research on the Internet to help inform the SIGs and the core members of CawdNet

- Sending information out to Nigeria – by making requests to information providers to send direct, or by burning information onto CD-Roms to send out.

- Raising the profile of CawdNet by writing about it, talking about it, attending events

- Helping with things that need doing – all sorts

To get involved

Get to know us and let us get to know you. We don't have "jobs". We do have lots of "work" that needs to be done. Together we will find something to fit your interests, skills and available time. There is so much to be done that you will gradually be able to create a role that really suits you.

Do as little or as much as you like – just as long as you do what you say you will do, in the time you said you would do it.

For more information

AD3 - Buying into the Future

The idea of “Buying into the Future” came when CawdNet people were discussing the needs of the Education Special Interest Group (SIG), but we soon saw how it could apply to other SIGs.

The education example
Teachers are asking for in-service training (INSET) on ICT awareness. This is because ICT is coming onto the curriculum at primary, secondary and tertiary level. However, although there may be some provision in major urban areas, in the rural areas where CawdNet operates there is no INSET provision (and no provision for computers nor expectation of getting any, in fact most schools are book poor and have no electricity). Teachers are concerned that they are not prepared to teach this new curriculum area and are asking CawdNet associates to help them to “know computers”. The CawdNet associates in this case are Oke-Ogun Community Development Network (OCDN) and Fantsuam Foundation (FF).

Teachers are ready to study in their own time, and expect to pay for the training from their own pockets. The problem is that they have little disposable income. They typically have many financial responsibilities towards members of their extended families (who may well be subsistence farmers). This means it is difficult for them to pay realistic training fees. OCDN and FF are small organisations that need to cover their costs. The missing piece is a mechanism for paying, or subsidising, the teachers’ fees (inexpensive by “developed world” standard). This is where the idea of “Buying into the Future” comes in.

In the future these teachers should not need to pay for their own INSET. In the UK for example pioneering enthusiasts paid for their own training, but later ICT INSET was provided to teachers free of charge. What if our rural teachers could find themselves in a similar situation now? FF and OCDN would be able to provide the training. If we could “Buy into the Future” it would have the dual benefit of training the teachers and helping with the sustainability of FF and OCDN training services.

We can do two things to bring this positive future closer. For the medium and long term we can try to influence policy makers (state and federal government and international agencies) to enable free INSET. Meanwhile, on a local level we can try to provide the course fees, “as if” the government was already funding INSET – what we call “Buying into the Future”.

Raising funds for “Buying into the Future” initiatives will be done through CAWD

AD3 CawdNet and You - How to develop your development interests.

General interest in development?
Find out more about CawdNet

Time to spare?
Ask about Cawd Volunteers

Money to give or interested in fundraising?
Ask about CAWD
(Charity for African Welfare and Development)
See for details of on-line giving. E-mail for fundraising suggestions.

Money to invest?
Ask about Cawd Enterprises.

Products or services to field test or showcase?
Ask about OCDN and Fantsuam

Student needing fieldwork or case study?
Ask about CawdNet

Wanting links with rural communities?
Ask about our “information footpaths”

Special interest?
Ask about our special interest groups (SIGs).
SIGs are big or small, formal or informal.
New ones are on the way – so if you don’t see your interest please ask
We already have:
- Health
- Education and training
- Women
- Youth
- Farmers
- Sustainable energy
- Use of local languages
- Micro-credit
- Water and sanitation

AD3 Components of CawdNet

- Oke-Ogun Community Development Network
OCDN: previously know as OOCD 2000+ a grassroots community development project; special interest groups – education, health, women, youth, farmers.

- Cawd Volunteers
Volunteers based in the UK, using home Internet connections to support CawdNet: doing research, raising its profile, passing information on to the activists in rural Nigeria.

- Rural Search Light
RUSEL: A micro-credit and training organisation active in Oke-Ogun.

- Fantsuam Foundation
Started as a micro-credit organisation in Kaduna State, has grown and diversified.

- Charity for African Welfare and Development
CAWD Registered charity number 1104228. Contact CawdNet for details of how to give.

- CawdNet Enterprises
Sustainable business development, employment and investment opportunities building from work in micro-credit and training.