Call for FGM Ban, Youth with Disabilities and Other Reports from Rural Africa

Every week, Rural Reporters collate reports on development in rural Africa and its environs. The reports include some of our top picks from recent must-read research, interviews, reports, blogs and in-depth articles which have been carefully selected to help you keep up with global issues. Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week .

Sierra Leone Urged To Ban FGM After Death Of Teen Girl

The death of a teenage girl in Sierra Leone during a female genital mutilation (FGM) procedure performed by a women-run secret society should spur the West African nation to ban the practice, anti-FGM campaigners said on Thursday.

Fatmata Turay, 19, died earlier this week after undergoing FGM as part of her initiation rites for entry to the Bondo, a powerful society that carries out the practice and wields significant political clout, according to several campaigners.

Three members of the Bondo society and a nurse have been arrested.

South Africa: Little Progress for Youth With Disabilities

South Africa has made little progress in addressing the discrimination and exclusion faced by children with disabilities when accessing schools, Human Rights Watch and Section 27 said today. South Africa’s national government needs to take urgent action to demonstrate its commitment to inclusive education.

In November 2015, the minister of basic education, Angelina Motshekga, announcedthat the Department of Basic Education would take major steps to strengthen the implementation of its inclusive education policy. In March 2016, President Jacob Zuma announced his commitment that “all government institutions must ring fence a budget for participation by and empowerment of young persons with disabilities, and must report annually on the impact of these programmes.”

Yet, the government’s 2016-2017 budget does not have a dedicated budget line for inclusive education, and does not stipulate financial support for full service schools, which would be adapted or built to accommodate children with disabilities and provide specialized services and attention in a mainstream environment. The Department of Basic Education statedthat it has budgeted R6.3 billion (US$450 million) for special schools in 2016, and allocated funds for workbooks for visually impaired learners. 

AU to Streamline Communication On Agricultural Commitments

The fourth estate is an important player in African development. This is the realisation that the African Union (AU) Department for Rural Economy and agriculture is reaping from it.

With that, a cross-section of media practitioners and press attaches of the AU from over 20 African countries are meeting in Lusaka Zambia to brainstorm on how to improve agricultural sector communication.

At the centre of debate is the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development (CAADP) and the Malabo Declaration, two significant items on the continental agenda.

CAADP is a continental programme that was initiated by the African Union with the overall goal to “Help African countries reach a higher path of economic growth through agriculture-led development, which eliminates hunger, reduces poverty and food insecurity, and enables expansion of exports.”

Interventions For Rural Communities Improve Drought Resilience

Improved measures to cope with drought events and funding for mitigation of drought effects to build resilience were key topics during the second day of the week-long African Drought Conference on Tuesday.

Delegates were in agreement that better communication for early warning mechanisms on national, regional and continental level for droughts was of importance, as well as funding for mitigation efforts reaching rural communities in villages, which was often late or lacking altogether.

“We could investigate if existing national environmental funds could be utilised to become the catalysts for drought aid, but they should be appropriately capitalised to assist rural communities during drought,” said Environmental Commissioner in Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism Teo Nghitila.

Is Uganda the best place to be a refugee?

When they fled to Kampala from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in February 2008, Robert Hakiza’s family had food for two months. “The third month was a disaster,” he says. By May, though, his mother and two sisters were out making money. “My sister started selling necklaces,” he says. “At one point, she was keeping the entire family of eight.”

Eight years on, the organisation Hakiza founded, Young African Refugees for Integral Development, employs 16 staff, comprising both refugees and Ugandans. Though his sisters dream of resettlement elsewhere, he is content. “Uganda is one of the best places to stay for refugees,” he says.

By 2015, Uganda had become the third largest refugee-hosting country in Africa, after Ethiopia and Kenya, with more than half a million refugees. That number is rising rapidly. Alongside ongoing crises in Burundi and DRC, violence in South Sudan has driven more refugees to Uganda during three weeks in July than in the first six months of 2016.

Horne Creek Apple Varieties Help Rural Farmers In Africa

The heirloom apple varieties in the Southern Heritage Apple Orchard at Horne Creek Living Historical Farm are making a difference in countries across Africa and Asia. Cuttings from the trees in the orchard are being grafted onto rootstock and planted across the two continents.

The trees provide farmers with a means of growing sustainably produced fruit and they bring economic growth to the poorer and often war-torn regions. Farms in Tanzania, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo are among many throughout central Africa that are learning how to grow these sturdier apples.

“We are pleased that the apple varieties being grown in the Southern Heritage Apple Orchard at Horne Creek Farm are being used to help change the lives of so many rural farmers in Africa,” said Horne Creek Site Manager Lisa Turney. “It is great to see a piece of North Carolina’s history making a difference in the 21st century.”

Skateboarding Brings Hope & Purpose To Rural South Africa

“We are skateboarders because we want to live a life that is cool and awesome.”

This statement could have been overheard at one of Southern California’s many skate parks, and it could have been spoken by a young little grommet who splits his time between skating and surfing. What makes this statement unique, however, is that a young South African boy from rural Durban said it.

Malawi: Govt Takes Economic Investment to Rural Communities

Government says it will continue rolling out development programmes which have potential to pull the rural masses out of poverty cocoon.

The commitment was registered Monday by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa when he visited Nkhamanga Livestock Club in the area of Chief Mwaulambia, in Chitipa District.

Nkhamanga Live Stock Club is supported by Nyama Word, with resources from Rural Livelihoods and Economic Enhancement Programme (RLEEP) through its ambitious Agriculture Commercialization Fund.

MINUSMA Funds Project To Light Up Mali’s Rural Communities

The days of sleeping early due to the non-availability of electricity in some parts of rural Mali are over, thanks to an intervention from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

Some 1,500 households are now able to turn on the light at night in Kidal, in northern Mali as a result of the $50,000 project funded by MINUSMA.

Kidal has been caught up in a raging battle between Tuareg rebels and government forces for some years now making it increasingly difficult for them to have access to services like electricity.

Mali’s electricity is produced from a shared dam on the River Senegal which also produces power for neighbouring countries including Senegal and Mauritania.

Local NGO, AFORD (Association for Training, Research and Development) has been roped into a 6-month lighting project to help Malians in rural areas benefit from the solar project as about half of Malians live on less than $2 a day.

 

Busayo Sotunde is a prolific writer with special focus on Business, Entrepreneurship, Reproductive Health and other development issues in Africa. Her articles have been published by different outlets including Investing Port and Ventures-Africa.com. She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde

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