Take it personally

This Hands On programme takes a personal view of how development can affect lives and livelihoods of people around the world. Ranging from the homeless on the streets of Hungary, to fish farmers in Vietnam and the poor tribal peoples of Nepal, innovative projects are transforming their lives.

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Processing Payment – India

Parts of Orissa, in Eastern India, are blessed with fertile soil and reasonable climate. But the forested hills are home to some of the poorest communities in the world. Here many tribal people survive at a subsistence level, depending on their orchards and livestock. Although there is some agricultural surplus, their remoteness means these small-scale farmers have little power in the marketplace. A new scheme, promoted by International Development Enterprises (India), is adding value to farmers’ produce and giving them the power to earn cash in the market.

Flour Power – Nigeria

Small farmers in Nigeria have grown cassava as a staple food for hundreds of years, and now the country is the world’s biggest producer. But industrial processing of cassava in Africa is still limited. The full range of possibilities for this versatile crop is currently being explored and demand for it is soaring. At the same time, disease resistant varieties are boosting productivity, giving farmers a chance to generate much-needed income.

Tipping the Scales – Vietnam

The heart of freshwater catfish country in Vietnam is in Mekong Delta. The Mekong has a history of bitter battles, but a more recent dispute between former enemies dealt a serious blow to the country’s fish farmers. When, in 2003, the United States imposed higher tariffs on Vietnamese catfish imports to protect its own 600 million dollar catfish industry, the Vietnamese decided to fight back.

Hungary and Homeless – Hungary

In recent decades Hungary has transformed from a communist regime to embrace a free market economy. While many have benefited from the change, some have suffered under the pressures of this new economic environment. Homelessness, an issue never recognised in the country before, is now rising. However, one of the firms to benefit from private enterprise in Hungary is using its corporate money to back a scheme that helps those who are less fortunate to get back on their feet.

Crafting a Way – Nepal

The Himalayan kingdom of Nepal has many attractions for tourists and spiritual seekers. The income generated by visitors is vital to the country’s economy. The majority of Nepalese who live in rural areas, however, have seen little of this income, as it is concentrated in the capital city. By updating their traditional skills, villagers are now drawing in tourists to these areas, bringing much-needed foreign cash and development to the countryside.

Sewage Farm – Cambodia

Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh enjoys a beautiful setting on the Mekong. The river provides both transport and income for the city’s one million population. Now another, unlikely, stretch of water – polluted with the city’s sewage – is offering economic opportunities for three and a half thousand families through the use of an aquatic weed – Morning Glory.