The Web of Voices

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Sheabutter and Knowledge Sharing in rural Africa

Women farmers in Tominian , Mali produce pure, high quality sheabutter. They offer it at 1000 fCFA per liter (1,50 EUR). Unfortunately, nobody buys it. Low quality, smelly sheabutter is sold at the local markets for 500 cFA.

The women would like to increase their sales. But how to pack sheabutter in small quantities? How to keep sheabutter fresh in the heat? A laboratory studied the composition of their sheabutter, but there are no standardized quality measures for sheabutter. Who are other producing regions of sheabutter? Which process do they used? How do customers use sheabutter? Which recipes do customers use when baking with sheabutter?

Some answers could be found on the web e.g. Wikipedia, or on best practices websites from NGOs. These women do not read. Besides, they cannot share their best own practices, because they cannot write. They don't have a computer or even a smartphone. Only the old simple mobiles are used here.

Thereis much knowledge in rural Africa. The webstill does not provide modalities to enter voice data, nor access data using voice/mobile phone. There is no structure to store or search best-practices in voice or e.g. video.

The sheabutter is one case, but illustrates the general problem in rural Africa.A solution is needed!

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Info posted by

Anna Bon
30 October 2013

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