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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Some thoughts on 'village-mill projects'
Author:Bruchhaus, E.-M.ISNI
Periodical:African Development Perspectives Yearbook
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
Subjects:women's work
grain processing
Abstract:Since the middle of the 1970s motor-driven mills have been regarded as the best means to reduce the work of rural women in Africa. A 'myth of the mill' has developed: the improvement of rural women's living conditions can only take place with the aid of a mill. In reality, however, many mill projects initiated by governmental and nongovernmental organizations have been failures. In order to demystify the debate and in order to be able to claim with conviction that mills do constitute the most effective means of reducing women's work load, certain fundamental questions must be raised: What are the essential conditions for the success of a (motor-driven) project mill? If these conditions are not available, how can they be provided? Are there other techniques for processing cereals and cassava? Are there other possibilities for reducing women's work load, for example in the areas of farming and supplying the family with water and firewood? The author concludes that even if the mill is, above all, a social service, it must be self-financing if it is to produce lasting effects. In order to secure such self-financing, the mill should be part of a scheme of development activities. But, the longevity of the mill depends equally on rigorous management based on a precise calculation of milling costs. Finally, it is highly recommended to focus on other possibilities of reducing women's work load, including enlisting the help of men. Bibliogr., notes, ref.