Changing Planet

Rabbit-fish farm wins contest of ideas to develop rural Africa

A project that combines backyard rabbit-keeping with fish farming, produces affordable protein, and provides the means to keep children in school, is the winning idea in a competition to find solutions to rural Africa’s most pressing challenges.

ndekero-rabbit-farm-picture.jpg

Illustration courtesy of Jacky Foo, via NPCA

Jacky Foo of Stockholm, Sweden, won the U.S.$20,000 grand prize of Africa Rural Connect, an online contest that drew some 10,000 participants over four months.

The competition was organized by the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), a charity that connects, informs and engages returned U.S. Peace Corps volunteers, former Peace Corps staff and friends of Peace Corps committed to fostering peace through service, education and advocacy.

NPCA launched Africa Rural Connect (ARC) this summer as an online community to stimulate collaborative thinking to generate ideas to help solve rural Africa’s greatest challenges, the charity said in a statement.

“Our judges spent several days deliberating on the final ideas to ultimately select the $20,000 grand prize winner,” said Molly Mattessich, manager of Africa Rural Connect and a former Mali Peace Corps Volunteer. “Foo’s winning idea will serve to inspire others to develop effective and innovative ways to help remedy the continent’s agricultural issues, from the ground up.”

Jacky-Foo-and-rabbit-farm-participants-photo.jpg

Jacky Foo (far left) with participants in the rabbit farming project.

Photo courtesy of Jacky Foo, via NPCA

children-line-up-for-meal-photo.jpg

Students line up for lunch at Our Lady of Annunciation Primary School, Meru, Kenya.

Photo courtesy of Jacky Foo 

Foo’s idea, called the Ndekero challenge, is to develop a community rabbit-keeping system that can work in partnership with a rabbit agri-business farm, NPCA said.

“He will implement the project in the small town of Ndekero in Meru, Kenya through Globetree in Sweden, where Foo is a program officer for environment and sustainable development.”

rabbit-farm-photo.jpg

Photo courtesy of Jacky Foo

A rabbit farm will be established at the 30-acre farm of the Nazareth Sisters to produce 100 kilograms of rabbit meat every month. Foo will provide part-time, income-generating jobs to several parents in the community so their children can continue going to school instead of dropping out to help the family earn money to cover basic necessities, NPCA said.

The proposed farm will trade adult rabbits for weaned rabbits bred in cages kept by the surrounding community. The rabbit farm will be surrounded by a moat to keep the rabbits in and predators out. The water barrier will be used to breed two kinds of edible fish.

Rabbits multiply quickly and their meat is considered to be healthy for human consumption.

rabbit-fish-farm-system-picture.jpgThe aim of the rabbit project is to develop a partnership between the rural farmers and the farm. This will connect the farmers to the market and simplify production at the backyard level, says Jacky Foo. The farm will also provide tanned rabbit skins for the development of cottage industries using the pelts, he says.

Illustration courtesy of Jacky Foo

If this project works it will provide an agri-business that generates jobs, food, and subsidize the education of the community’s children.

Mattessich and other representatives from ARC, along with Foo, will hold a press conference later this month in Nairobi, Kenya to highlight some of the ideas generated from the contest and discuss current issues facing rural Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa.

“This has been a competitive contest and we received so many great ideas on how to improve agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Mattessich said. “While the contest is over, the Africa Rural Connect online community is just beginning and we hope people will continue posting their ideas well into the New Year.”

Foo’s vision is outlined in detail on the ARC Web site and also on the Rabbit Network Kenya site. For more pictures of this project visit the album on Jacky Foo’s Facebook page..

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn
  • jibran_pcc

    “Our judges spent several days deliberating on the final ideas to ultimately select the $20,000 grand prize winner,” said Molly Mattessich, manager of Africa Rural Connect and a former Mali Peace Corps Volunteer. “Foo’s winning idea will serve to inspire others to develop effective and innovative ways to help remedy the continent’s agricultural issues, from the ground up.”

  • samwel owiti

    with the information have from ur project i want to start rabbit farming where is the market

  • boch

    Iam greatful for the above information and i have an interest on rabbit and fish farming within meru town how can get the market

  • kalsang wangpo

    Hi,
    I m also interested in a fish farm in rural india , any suggestions and ideas are welcome

  • AGBEME JUSTICE

    We want this project in Ghana too. Can you be of help. please contact me.

  • r c kohli

    Hi,
    I m also interested in a Rabit with fish farm in rural area can you send some guideline important massage ideas with photos .
    please send.
    thank you

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

Social Media