Digital and tech combined with a good cause: a digital marketplace where donors are linked to African farmers, who shovel life back into the barren soil. Justdiggit trains people in areas of drought to dig circles in which rainwater is collected.
The climate is one of the major concerns of this generation. Realising this, Justdiggit trains people in areas of drought to dig half-moon circles in which rainwater is collected. This process of ‘greening’ ensures that the land will be fertile again within a year, something that is vitally important for the local population and which, on a larger scale, the whole world can benefit from.
Justdiggit focusses on spreading their knowledge all the while empowering locals to organise and carry out the work themselves under the guidance of fundi’s, the local rangers. In order to have a lasting and positive effect on the climate, Justdiggit needs to fertilise as many hectares of land as possible, something it simply cannot do by itself. They believe that empowering the local population is a sustainable solution.
Justdiggit asked Dept how technology could help them achieve their goals. As we’re committed to making a change, the agency is a breeding ground for social and sustainable initiatives. So within Dept, a team was put together to give a helping hand.
The team designed a platform where farmers who want to dig holes in a qualifying area are linked to people who want to sponsor them. Research showed that many of the farmers in African villages are well connected. They completely skipped landlines and ADSL and take care of a lot of business mobile. Over 40% of the population of Tanzania does their banking via M-Pesa, that’s 95 million mobile money transactions per month.
People can easily donate money through Facebook Messenger and a dedicated platform. A system automatically connects the donations to all the farmers who are allowed to dig in a qualifying area. Once a hole has been dug, it is captured with a photograph. The donor receives the photo and the transaction overview. It’s a perfect example of cutting out the middleman, where Justdiggit is purely the facilitator.
The app stimulates communal land restoration by providing a financial incentive to local farmers. So next to a short-term economic impact (e.g. providing locals with work and additional income), it also creates a long term environmental impact (e.g. revitalising the soil so plants can grow).
The most important quantitative goal of the platform in 2019 was to raise the average donation amount. Our prognosis was that the combination of complete transparency of the chain and higher engagement by use of messenger and/or the platform would make this happen. Text continues in 'overige informatie'
This worked out: the particular donations via the platform is now €34,35 per benefactor; that’s almost three times than the regular online donation to Justdiggit before the launch of the tool. This was far above expectations, especially when you keep in mind there’s been no paid media involved.
The project brought some unique challenges, such as limiting fraud as well as maintaining a healthy balance between the supply of donors and the capacity of farmers. In addition, due to the language barrier and failing internet connection, it was sometimes complicated to explain the workings of the app.
The app is now being beta tested with farmers, selected donors along with Dept, and will soon be available for everyone to donate.