The challenge

International development has traditionally followed a top-down approach to technological development and community empowerment interventions for people staying in rural communities. This approach has led to many human, technological and economic development challenges rather than solutions for rural communities, marginalised communities, and underdeveloped populations of the developing world living below the upper poverty line of US$10 per day.

Background

In 2017, when the Global International Development Innovation Network (IDIN) funding came to a close, IDIN members in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region, These Hands GSSE (Botswana), Twende Social Innovation Center in Arusha (Tanzania), and Kafue Innovation Centre (Zambia) came together to form the IDIN-SADC Consortium as a means to pool their experiences and resources together plus expand the work they do within the 3 respective countries and to other SADC member states. IDIN-SADC is a regional consortium led by an Executive Committee (EC) of grassroots innovation ecosystem builders based in the SADC Region.

The solution

We have developed a bottom up approach that re-tools, up-skills, and empowers rural communities, marginalised communities, and underdeveloped populations of the developing world to co-create in workshops and meetings simple sustainable technological and community business solutions to their immediate livelihood challenges. The Executive Committee veers away from traditional top-down approaches to development and technology intervention and instead leads a bottom-up movement of grassroots communities who demonstrate interest in innovation.

About IDIN: The International Development Innovation Network (IDIN) enables a global community of changemakers to design, develop and disseminate innovations that improve the lives of people living in poverty.

Thabiso Mashaba is a Strategist, Cultural Economist, Policy Maker, Development Practitioner and Social Entrepreneur . He is the co-founder and CEO of These Hands GSSE based in Botswana and New Zealand; Former Chairperson of the Botswana Human Resource Development Council’s Creative Industries Sector Committee; Member of the Global IDIN/IDDS Steering committee based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) D-Lab; Advisory Board Chairperson of YSAT Uganda and YSAT South Sudan; Co-Founder and Project Coordinator of the IDIN Southern Africa Consortium; Founding Member of the Southern Africa Innovation Collective Management Team; Former member of the Project Working Team for the Merger of the Botswana Digital & Innovation Hub (BDIH) and the Botswana Institute of Technology, Research and Innovation (BITRI) ; an International fellow of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship of the New Zealand Government; and a 2022 Science Engagement Category Winner of the Falling Walls Global Competition.

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