Ukerewe market women plan to have access to bank loan. Photo Credit -Oluwabusayo Sotunde/ Rural Reporters

Famine, Rural Poverty and Other Reports

Every week, collate reports on development issues in rural Africa and its environs.

This report includes some of our top picks from recent must-read research, interviews, blogs, and in-depth articles, carefully selected to help you keep up with global issues.

Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week:


Adesina calls for global focus on Africa’s rural poverty

The President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, has called for urgent action to end rural poverty in Africa.

He spoke at a conference on the future of the rural world in Berlin, Germany, where in 1884, Africa was partitioned by European colonialists.

“We must pay particular attention to three factors: extreme rural poverty, high rates of unemployment among the youths and climate and environmental degradation – what I refer to as the ‘disaster triangle’,” Adesina told participants during a keynote speech at the ‘One World, No Hunger: Future of the Rural World’ conference hosted by the German Development Ministry (BMZ).

Collective Amnesia in Famine Response and Resilience-Building

The emerging drought-induced humanitarian crisis – prevailing in countries from Niger in West Africa to Somalia in East Africa – and conflict-driven famine conditions in South Sudan, Somalia and Northeast Nigeria, have become a regular phenomenon.

Even though these food crises can be prevented, they persistently arise due to the development community’s collective amnesia on what has worked and what has not in famine response, recovery and resilience-building. We know countries that have constructed robust policies, institutions, and food systems capable of withstanding natural and human-induced shocks fare better than those with weak systems, but approaches to development haven’t changed to reflect this knowledge.

A new approach to drought response and famine recovery must involve building durable systems at various levels. By creating strong systems for implementing policies, building institutions and growing and delivering food, countries can prevent the most deleterious effects of frequent shocks, and also have the capability to bounce back quickly to a normal development process.

Kenya to cure plastic bag addiction with ban

The sight of overflowing heaps of plastic waste at Gioto, the largest dump in Nakuru County, in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, was an eyesore that turned photojournalist James Wakibia into an environmental activist.

Knowing plastic was a national problem, he decided to look beyond his hometown of Nakuru, seeking a way to capture the attention of government and consumers in urban and rural communities across the country.

The midwife who saved intersex babies

Five years ago a midwife in Kenya delivered a child with male and female sexual organs. The father told her to kill it, but instead she hid it and raised it as her own. Two years later, the same thing happened again – and before long she was forced to flee to save the children’s lives.

Zainab was used to delivering babies. As a traditional birth attendant in rural western Kenya, she’d delivered dozens over the years. But none like the one in front of her now.

It had been a tricky birth, but nothing Zainab couldn’t handle. The umbilical cord had got twisted around the baby’s head and she’d had to think quickly, using a wooden spoon to untangle it.

The Rural Challenge of HIV

A new map developed by researchers at UCLA in California calls into question whether a U.N. strategy for eliminating AIDS will succeed in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority of people living with HIV reside.

The map models where people infected with HIV live among the mountains and high plains of Lesotho, a small, landlocked nation in South Africa about the size of Maryland. And in a new study, the UCLA researchers use the data from this model as a roadmap to design an optimal strategy for eliminating HIV.

Their elimination strategy is based on a concept known as “treatment as prevention,” which is built on evidence that treating people with antiretroviral drugs makes them less likely to transmit the virus to others. Many experts now believe the HIV/AIDS pandemic could be ended within a generation if treatment as prevention and other existing means of stopping the virus were fully implemented.


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 She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde

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