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James van der Walt

Social Entrepreneur, Ugesi Gold

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Level 1 Social Entrepreneur - Gaming principles to solve rural electrification in Africa.

I'm working on a battery charging station social business for rural electrification. A good analogy is that of a water-well. The small utility business (micro-utility) is started by the locals who sell electricity. This serves as the source of electricity (well), which the local community visits with batteries (buckets) for recharging. These battery packs are then taken back home where they can power smaller electrical appliances like lamps, radio, small TV etc.

There's a massive brain drain from the rural areas as young people migrate to the cities where they believe to find a better life. Unfortunately this is not true and millions end in the slums. We have to stop this and I think gaming coupled with social business is the key. If we can make community upliftment projects fun for the locals they will have a higher success rate. Rural electrification fail because there is a lack of ownership and fun. Free electricity does not work. There must be community involvement. Gaming principles might help.

So how can I make this project into a game? I'm hoping you would help me brain storm a bit. Here are some random ideas.
- Get experience points for charging a battery (both for the users and the utility business)
- Achievement for the longest lasting battery
- Once though experience is earned the user can spend points to either get a bigger battery or maybe even his own solar home system.
- Make the utility business money free. Use a trading system as seen in games. Ie. they trade their skills or goods to get electricity. This will help get rid of that notion "I am poor". So put everyone on the same playing field.
- Start organic farm as a source of good to trade. (Goods trading as in WOW)
- Good gathered at the utility can be sold to the cities to stream money back into the community.
- Bring in an auction house so skills can be traded locally?
- Once the rural-utility reach a level they can start another utility. They can maybe share XP as incentive?


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    Apr 10 2013: The need for education and jobs are the most reasons for migrating in urban areas, isn't it?

    I think the biggest impact you can ever make to society is:


    Think about how you can bring international standard education to rural areas.
    According to my oppinion with our innovative entrepreneurs and technologies about solar runned pc you are able change it. And if you did it you will have parents and families who are willing to back you with your idea.
    With education, people are able to question things around their environment;western lifestyle, product, etc. whatever.

    Still your approach trying to combine social games and innovations is not bad.

    Good luck!
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      Apr 11 2013: I agree! Education is the key to it all. What you teach of course is just as important. My plan is to keep it relevant so in my case - renewable energy and organic growing. Both are in high demand and can bring income to rural villages, so I'll be teaching that. It can also make them independent from the local / national government. People must be empowered to stand on their own two legs.
      • Apr 14 2013: G'day James, I love your idea organic growing and permaculture. In Australia some Indigenous people are growing lettuce under shadecloth and I believe it is hydroponic as well. It now provides the Capital city of Darwin in the Norhern Territory with most of its lettuce. They also grow (not under shade cloth) fruits that are native to the desert climate around Alice Springs. Australian bush tomato, Kakadu plum, lemon aspen grow very well and are delicious. They now have a company I think it is called Outback Spirit Foods and these sauces, chutneys, and mineral water flavourings sold all over Australia.

        More earnings for better education - Yes

        Solar and batteries - Yes please

        Contraception via micro chip (Bayer) for the ladies. Lasts 5 years and cost has recently been halved to around $8 pp.

        My older brother a scientist was trying to come up with something that was solar driven with a windmill......generate moisture/mist/water where the deserts are cold at night and of course hot during the day a kinda condensation thing. I know with my house airconditioner I collect this condensation/water and after about 4 hours I have nearly 1 bucket 8 liters of water.


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