Six Publications that tell the stories and possibilities of SRI

SRI is a set of sustainable rice farming technologies that can help small farmers to significantly increase their rice yields. It is a low-input technology, which can be flexibly applied based on the local factors and farm conditions.

SRI methodology is based on four main principles that interact with each other:

  • Early, quick and healthy plant establishment
  • Reduced plant density
  • Improved soil conditions through enrichment with organic matter
  • Reduced and controlled water application

Based on these principles, farmers can adapt recommended SRI practices to respond to their agroecological and socioeconomic conditions. Adaptations are often done to accommodate changing weather patterns, soil conditions, labor availability, water control, access to organic inputs, and the decision whether to practice fully organic agriculture or not.

sri-cover1. From The System of Rice Intensification (SRI), Responses to Frequently Asked Questions, Norman Uphoff  Norman Uphoff has lead the worldwide movement to understand and promote SRI,  a work for which he has won numerous awards. His SRI FAQs is just one of an extraordinary number of publications he has produced.

 

2. SRI has been successfully adapted to many cultures andmore-rice environments. Here is a link to an excellent joint publication which highlights the successes that Oxfam, WWF and AfricaRice have all had with SRI.

 

 

 

3. Here is a link to the worldwide Leisa issue on SRI. This is an excellent introduction to SRI and how it has been adapted to local conditions by farmers, researchers, governmental organizations and NGOs.

4. Here is the SRI-Rice website at Cornell which is the most comprehensive resource in the world. There are academic articles, reports on conferences as well as how SRI has appeared in both the popular and business press worldwide. The site is media rich and it is possible to search for resources by country as well as language.  Monthly updates are provided in several forms.

  • http://sri.ciifad.cornell.edu

5. This Handbook for the Peace Corps was done to provide an Introduction to SRI for West Africans.  It was part of a very successful, multi-year project that expanded SRI in 13 West African countries using groups familiar with SRI as the trainers or “Champions”.  It is an excellent example of how training materials have been used to successfully adapt SRI for countries around the middle of our planet.

feed-the-future6. Here is a link to a major West African SRI project. SRI-RICE at Cornell was a major consultant on the SRI-WAAPP project, which will hopefully have a second phase/expansion. Thanks to Devon Jenkins, returned Peace Corps volunteer, and and Erica Styger for their work on this publication.

 

Coming Publications

Equipment for small scale farmers that can be built at the village level, for less than 50 USD, by metal workers and blacksmiths is a critical element of the successful adoption and spread of  SRI.  Here is an example of a weeder, called the “Mandava” Weeder that has been successfully used in many countries in flooded rice fields.  Earth Links produced these CAD drawings as part of our work to make these well tested designs available worldwide without cost. Earth Links also contributed some of these early weeder plans to the West Africa project above as well as to Latin American demonstration projects with IICA..

The NGO (SRI Global Inc) which Earth Link helped start, in turn helped to start the NGO, 3ASahel, that was a Champion promoter for Mali.  The first phase of the WAAPP project has successfully ended.

mandava-weeder

SRI has many benefits such as climate change adaptation and mitigation which is described in the publications above.  An emerging issue and critical health problem is the high levels of Arsenic in some rice. The real reduction in arsenic that appears to be produced by SRI growing techniques (from significant reductions in water use) is an area of research that needs to be done and shared worldwide. Here is a link to the study that should have published results soon.

Stephen Leinau
Executive Director
Earth Links Inc
elinks@cruzio.com

 

 

 

Donations of Equipment and Supplies to Other Nonprofits from Earth Links

By Stephen Leinau, Executive Director

In my thirty years working in the nonprofit world, I have maintained an interest in meeting the needs of nonprofits and their clients with tangible items: work clothes, tools and the various necessities of life. From my tenure as the Director of the Long Island Food Bank in the 1980s, and coordinator of the USDA food distribution program on Long Island, to my work with Earth Links, I have learned from first-hand experience the value of materials that nonprofits need and can put to good use immediately serving people in need.

Volunteer Chris McPherson and donated clothing, 1995

Since its founding in 1991, supporting other nonprofit organizations has been at the core of Earth Links’ mission of “bringing people and resources together.” Through corporate, business, and individual contributions during those twenty five years, Earth Links has donated over one million dollars worth of materials to other nonprofits, including new clothing, software, computers, communication gear (such as satellite phones and ham radios), office supplies, and other items without costs to the nonprofits we serve. These materials have been and continue to be critical to the work of women’s shelters, community development projects, and advocates for indigenous peoples. Given the cuts to local, state, and federal budgets  (as well as economic uncertainties on the horizon), groups are in even more need, and Earth Links would like to continue this work in future.

We are always looking for the financial resources to support our giving of material donations from corporate and small business sources. Each $1,000 donation to Earth Links allows us to solicit, pay shipping and handling, and deliver $10,000 worth of needed items to other nonprofits.

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Insulated coveralls for local farm workers.

 

Donate now to help our continuing efforts to provide people with the resources they need!

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Kids Learn about Water Conservation and Water Security

In 2014 Earth Links, musical duo ZunZun and Raindancer Media released their third Music Video in a series that covers Watershed Awareness, Water Science and Water conservation.

The music videos, H2O Go with the Flow, in English and Spanish, are a fun and effective way to learn about water science and water conservation through Movement and Music.  They are wonderful in the classroom or at home with the family.

Have a kid who wants to help other kids out? After talking with musical duo ZunZun, who work with school children on water conservation and watershed education, we came up with some suggestions for children who want to help communities that need clean, safe water: fundraising for water projects in communities suffering or at risk of water insecurity.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

According to the Millennium Project, 2.4 billion people worldwide live in water-scarce regions, children would be responding to a vital need. Fundraising for these projects (building a well, for example) can be fun and informational: a group of kids or a class can put on a dance marathon or other event. These projects would preferably be specific, at a village or community level and costing less than $1,000 to complete, so that children at one school could take responsibility for raising all the money needed to complete the project. Young people would have the experience of making a real and lasting difference in the lives of other children and their families. The water projects would be identified and managed by a respected nonprofit nongovernmental organization (NGO) that specializes in helping communities develop sources of inexpensive, simple to maintain, community-controlled water.

Our initial research found the following list of NGOs working globally on water projects. We welcome suggestions for other nonprofits doing good work in this area.

  • Drop in the Bucket is an organization that is often mentioned as well run, effective, and welcomes donations by school children.
  • Globalwater has a website that includes stories about students getting involved and their successful fundraising, including ideas for creating fundraising events.
  • The nonprofit a child’s right puts children’s water needs front and center.
  • Philanthropedia has extensive lists of organizations doing water projects and gives recommendations for each organization based on a survey of experts, organizations such as WaterAid, Water for People, IRC (International Water and Sanitation Centre), PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health), Water.org, iDE, and WASH Advocacy Initiative. Please see their excellent website for more details and links. Some of these NGOs are religious, and some do not necessarily focus on water, though they often provide water, sanitation, and hygiene projects as critical parts of more comprehensive, community development projects.

Online Petition Sites

Here are some links for people who are interested in online petitions: what good they are and do, where and how to set them up, and what changes in the “business of campaigning” are ahead for online issue advocacy.

• This article, funded by nonprofit technology clearinghouse TechSoup, is a terrific summary of the difference between pledges and petitions, how to integrate both into larger campaigns, and the kinds of technological tools on offer on the internet.

• Socialbrite.org has a good list of online petition sites and various plug-ins that can turn your own website into an online petition.

• Since last fall, Change.org has dropped from many people’s lists of good online petition sites because of its new advertising and sponsorship policies. See this article on Huffington Post for more information

• Read this Economist article on Purpose.com, a relative newcomer to the online petitions scene.

Facebook Pages for Nonprofits

Confused about how to use Facebook for your nonprofit? We empathize! Here are some links to articles we’ve found useful in understanding the social media platform and its benefits for nonprofits.

Social Source Commons Blog has a great post that clears up a common misconception about Facebook Profiles (which are only for individuals) and Pages (which are for organizations), as well as guidance in setting up Pages and tips for converting an organization Profile into a Page:

Many times, organizations will set up a Profile on Facebook to represent themselves. Most of us have our own Facebook Profile, so we feel comfortable setting up a Profile for our organization when we are presented with the task. However, Facebook wants only individuals to maintain Profiles. They search for organizations representing themselves in Profiles and aggressively delete them because they want all Profiles to represent individuals. In any case, the features for a Facebook Profile don’t match how most organizations would want to use Facebook anyway. The Profile has a limit of 5,000 friends (which you must approve), no metrics and low search engine optimization. As an organization, therefore, do not set up a Facebook Profile. The features are not designed for organizations and if Facebook finds you, they will delete you.

We also recommend checking out Wild Apricot’s Membership Knowledge Hub’s “How to Set Up an Nonprofit Facebook Page,” and Firstgiving’s “Back to Basics – How to set up your Nonprofit Facebook page,” both of which are clear and give step-by-step instructions.

Receiving Donations Online

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Setting up a way to receive donations via the Internet can seem like a daunting prospect for nonprofits both big and small, given the proliferation of means to do so and the necessity for nonprofits to effectively position themselves as worthy of support.

Here are some of the online giving platforms available to nonprofits to receive online donations:

Here are a collection of links to helpful information on how to benefit from the steady move people and nonprofits are making to secure online donations:

“Currently, our findings do lend some support to the use of online donating platforms for smaller organizations that are not easily recognized by the public or lack credibility. Because perceptions of the online platform contributed greatly to whether or not an individual donated online, smaller lesser-known organizations could benefit by joining well-known online fund-raising platforms that have earned donor trust and legitimacy. Their participation in larger online platforms will likely have a greater impact on the success of their online campaigns than if they were seeking online donations on their own.”