Lesoit is a village in Tanzania inhabited by the Maasai people. The villagers derive their income from various sources but mostly from animal farming. Manufacturing could be the other alternative of increasing sources of income among the people of Lesoit. Local economic development (LED) gives people living in local communities a chance to improve their local economy (Worldbank). One way of improving local economies is by going “local” in many spheres of business (Joyce). There has been arguments that decentralized manufacturing would improve local economies. Proponents of decentralized manufacturing argue that production by masses rather than mass production is the way to go if villages are to grow economically (Gandhi, 2016). This view is supported by evidence highlighted by Bertanni and Barrione (135-147) who pointed out that it is possible to develop centers which act as both leaders in cultural production but also in creativity. Roberts and Townsend (2) observed that rural creative economies contributes a lot to the resilience of the local communities. Some of the creative sectors they identified include design, crafts, film, architecture, arts, software, antiques, and photography among others. Schuman (6) argued that the best way to uplift local economies is by creating businesses owned by local communities. He pointed out that businesses owned by local communities sustainably utilize locally available materials in their production and also create employment which pay decent wages. In the process, the community becomes self-sufficient and will not rely on imports. Schuman noted that the only way communities can best strengthen their economies is by building on their internal strengths. There is an opportunity for manufacturing in Lesoit village. The Maasai people attach a lot of importance to celestial bodies like moon, stars, and the sun. For example, by observing the stars, they can tell when a season is beginning or ending, different seasons, and they can also forecasts the year in terms of things like economic conditions, climate, and navigation (Mollel and Rafiq). Early civilizations also depended on the observations of the motion of the stellar sphere to tell seasons (Andersen 17). There is a star the Maasai refer to as the irmoruak lorkine. When they see the stars appearing on the sky, they tell them it is the beginning of a rainy season. People then start preparing for the rainy season. That the Maasai knows something about celestial bodies imply that a business idea can be carved out of this cultural knowledge. The business idea will be associated with celestial bodies. One of the business ideas is to produce a telescope.
A telescope will help the people in the local community to understand better about the celestial bodies like the sun, the moon, and the stars. It will help them observe the stars and determine exactly beginning and end of seasons. They will also use the instrument to forecast better about climate and economic conditions. The telescope would not require sophisticated machines and materials to manufacture. It would utilize locally available materials and will be assembled entirely using human labor. Handicrafts have been found to help a lot in boosting local economies (Maps of India). It help local communities earn better income. Evidence has shown that commercialization of locally available products helps in reducing vulnerability and poverty among the local people (Shackleton et al 505-526). The manufacturers will buy locally available materials. Then they assemble the telescopes with assistance of the people they hire from the local community. Once assembled, the manufacturers will employ people to distribute or sell to local traders who will sell to the users. All these activities will involve exchange of money for goods or services. In the process, the local people would earn better income. The telescopes manufactured can be produced in mass quantities and the surplus even sold to the surrounding communities. The surplus can be sold to traders operating in urban centers who will then sell to either other traders or people interested in acquiring the telescopes. The ultimate beneficiaries of the telescope project are the local people who produce it. This project can trigger a chain of manufacturing in the village. For example, the success of this project can usher in new ideas to the local people who might want to further other economic activities like commercial farming or crop/animal processing. Luckman (249-270) pointed out that people without even formal training have an ability to set up creative businesses. The internet has given such people a great opportunity to access larger market at a relatively lower cost. Capital is not a big problem where there is creativity and innovation. There are various development partners which can promote local economic development (UNCDF).
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