Ashley Westaway

Ashoka Fellow
South Africa,
Fellow Since 2009

Citation

This profile was prepared when Ashley Westaway was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Ashley is reestablishing small-scale farming by leveraging existing resources in struggling regions of South Africa. Though the Bantustan regions are often destitute, Ashley realized that cash does flow there and could be used to spark the development of a vibrant rural economy. Therefore, as a first step, he is harnessing government funds paid out in restitution claims with government grants to develop infrastructure while also attracting private investment and international donor funding. The work that he has led has helped poor, isolated rural settlements use these resources to start communal farms, build schools and local heritage museums, start tourism initiatives and get the local government to increase service delivery to these once remote areas.

However, in order to create economic vibrancy, Ashley knows that simply directing more resources towards the community is not enough. Rather, more focus must be placed on developing human capital by training a new generation of farmers, improving the quality of education and restoring dignity to these areas. To accomplish this, Ashley is taking advantage of human capital existing in the regions (particularly in universities) and building up local research capacity by attracting students to work on projects in these areas.

As financial resources are harnessed and human capital grows and improves, former Bantustans are now poised to tackle other engrained social problems.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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