Leksand, Sweden and the Concept of Solidarity: Soliloquising about a farm.
This piece was initially plan as a reaction to a session on the Concept of Solidarity during the YES Summit in Leksand; however, since returning I have had experiences that better serves the topic.
Some have loosely defined Solidarity as sympathy, empathy and may be synonymous to civil society; for others still, Solidarity – begins with us, as individuals and single units. On a larger scale it could be inter-governmental aid/support. The concept of solidarity could be linked to inter-country support and trace its roots from when the landowners worked with each other to keep the landless “in-check”. In contemporary terms, this is seen in bilateral and multilateral relations that countries have and nurture. Thus you will see for instance the Arab league heralding around Sudan or Egypt and the USA and her allies supporting Israel or Afghanistan. However, the solidarity I am talking about here is not one of countries but as social animals; as civil society – which includes services and profit making organisations. How do we “solidarise”? Connecting people to people; solidarity then is not about governments or states. But how do we “feel” solidarity. Well one former political prisoner from Burma says, “Sometimes, just saying ‘I am with you’ is just what we need”. While the physical is important, the moral is perhaps the most important thing that has kept the solidarity movement going. Over the last 8 years I have led Abusua Foundation – a relatively young local initiative in Ghana (Cape Coast) that has focused on the dynamics of youth in development. Personally, my focus has shifted from Youth development to the connect or disconnect between Youth Development and Peace and Security. During the 8years, I have received lots of pats on the back and if those pats were physical, I would have developed a very bad bruise. Moving, youth unemployment or under employment has direct consequences on peace and security. [I will not attempt to theorise on Peace and Security – I am saving my “English for my thesis]. Given that Cape Coast is just two hours from Takoradi [the now Oil City of Ghana], my organisation feels it is time to create viable alternatives to jobs that are being promised before they even come to exist. Young people are slowly drifting to Takoradi and waiting for jobs. Traffic, crime and other social problems have increase in the Takoradi area over the last 2 years. Our foresight and contribution to alleviating the disappointment of young people is to have a farm – wait, not just a farm but an organic farm. A farm where young people can take inspiration from, learn, practice and earn a living from; a farm where adults can re-learn farming (organic) techniques. We have christened the farm the Abusua Sustainable Organic Farm (ASOF) Project. ASOF will be a fifteen acre centre of excellence for organic farm specialising in Organic vegetables and some tree crops. ASOF will also be a hub for over 200 acres of potential partner farms that will produce the same crops as ASOF – thereby creating a sustainable “crop-line”; while Abusua Foundation will create specialised market (s) for the products and in 5years develop semi processing units among others. Key on my mind is the creation of a community managed composting facility – that will generate organic compost from waste generated by the communities around the project site. Also, the ASOF project will have camping, training, and events hosting facilities. In general, I hope that ASOF will become the milk-cow for Abusua Foundation. Now, before you jump to say: “what a bright Idea!” I will like to say support this project with your time, cash and in-kind donation. Because we believe in this project, we are funding this from our own resources.
What do we need?
- Pumping machine
- Farm tools: hoes, cutlasses, hand forks, trowels, etc
- Cost of sinking 2 wells [$1,200]
How you can support us?:
- Make in-kind or cash donations [send an email for how]
- Invest in an acre at $200 and get a percentage on crops harvested
- Come give your time by volunteering on the farm
- You have an Idea I have not mentioned? Email me.
So you still want to show solidarity? Support ASOF!