Ashundep Ateba Ettanki
Fellow Since 1996
The Rural Development Fund
This profile was prepared when Ashundep Ateba Ettanki was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
Sixty-nine percent of Africans live in rural areas, of which perhaps as many as half live in areas best described as remote and isolated. To reinvigorate the economies of remote areas in Africa, Ashundep Ettanki is developing a model for promoting cooperative savings and production activities for farmers that incorporates credit formation, community re-investment and radio communications. Now piloting the model in his home region of Mamfe, Cameroon, Ashundep hopes, over the longer term, to see his approach to the development of remote rural areas applied throughout sub-Saharan Africa.Ashundep hopes to reverse the feelings of isolation and, therefore, powerlessness that characterize the more remote rural parts of Africa that have experienced deteriorating economic conditions. His approach involves stimulating savings and credit formation for investment by simplifying burdensome government regulations and the regular use of radio communication to spread the word about successful ventures. Since almost everyone listens to radio, Ashundep deploys it to create a "virtual economic community" among remote rural dwellers. Ashundep believes that with this regular broadcasting of their collective endeavor, the pervading attitudes of hopelessness and fatalism will give way to a new self-image of action and achievement.