In the first post of this year I wrote about my desire to hear more authentic stories from Africa and it would appear I am not alone. Over at Africa on the blog a question what put to readers about the contributors should focus on in the coming year
I would like to hear about how Africans handle the day by day working, family care, and what they do to have fun.
I had enough of hearing about Africa from the local news, mostly about Sudan and wars, I want to hear whats going on from a citizen who lives normal life. I want to stop listening to bloggers who have regular life, who speaks about their twins, husbands, with all due respect, its all the same, give us something new on the web.
I agree with him so much so that when I am out about in Uganda I get drawn to conversations that tell me about the lives of people on the ground and I will often seek out people in rural location for conversations. I am especially drwan to women. I like to hear about how they cope with life in the village, their support networks, business interests, challenges and aspirations .
The women were keen to pick brains on all manner of things and this is what I learned about these folk
1. They need capital to scale their business
2. The cost of borrowing is way too high for those folk that do not own land or any other assests that banks can lend against
3. They need tools and machinery like tractors to make their work easier and faster
4. They need us to share our knowledge and skills as to how they could run their business more effectively
5. They would like running water and electricity in their village as it is near impossible to operate without either of those
As you can see none of those are unreasonable expectations, in addition it is not a request for handouts.
But are policy makers listening to such women?
What can you and I do to ensure that these voices are heard by the decision makers?