Mud Hut Schools, Volunteerism and Other Reports

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:

Mud Hut Schools Must Go – Education NGO

While improvements in matric results are to be commended, mud hut schools must go, the non-profit organisation Higher Education Transformation Network said on Thursday.

“We acknowledge and commend the significant investments by government in improving school infrastructure through the introduction of technology and the drive for the eradication of mud school,” said HETN spokesperson Ramafala Ramatshosa.

However, he suggested more still needed to be done when it came to foundation phase education for the rural poor and other disadvantaged communities.

Volunteerism: A Prerequisite for Africa’s Progress       

“Africa will write its own history and both north and south of the Sahara it will be a history full of glory and dignity.” These profound words of an African leader in the 60’s have haunted the continent for over 5 decades and working towards their earnest fulfillment is surely the responsibility of each succeeding generation. It is no longer tenable to keep talking of Africa’s great potential; rather, it is time to realize it for the benefit of present and future generations. Knowing fully well that Africa’s past has long been defined by commodities, its future should be defined by leveraging the collective strengths of its people’s skills and talent.

This is the formula of how this can be accomplished. Leveraging sectors for which the continent holds a comparative advantage by dedicating resources available to the continent. These include physical like technological, institutional, financial and demographic (60% of Africa’s population are young people) dividends.

A lightweight trauma pack to save and change lives on rural African roads

The trauma pack concept was also conceived as an enterprise development opportunity for manufacture and deployment in Zambia, using cheap, accessible, local materials and low-tech manufacturing processes. And the design – which was developed with the active involvement of 105 people from all walks of life in Zambia, and 25 medical experts in Britain – costs around 95% less than those available in the UK.

Retired couple returns from the US with literary gift to rural folks

Philip Thiuri and his wife, Bernadette, both received their tertiary education in the United States of America where they have also worked most of their lives.

Now retired they have returned home, and knowing the importance of knowledge are establishing libraries and reading centres in rural areas, where education standards are most wanting.

On a crisp sunny December day, we visit one of the Rural Reading Centre’s in Mairi, Kangari in Murang’a County. The picturesque village, surrounded by lush manicured tea plantations looks like a perfect place to have a learning institution, as indeed Njiiri’s High School is in the neighbourhood.

Music Development in the Rural Areas

Music has been around for centuries and continues to transform as different generations develop and create new genres.

Music is important in every country, which is why most countries sing their national anthems. Music has also been used to entertain and distress people. This is one place where pure talent should outweigh who one knows. This certainly isn’t the case in the rural areas. Exclusion in the rural areas comes in the form of the economy, politics, sport, the media, and music. I will focus in music exclusion.

RBI asks banks to supply 40% of notes to rural areas

To mitigate hardships of poor and marginal farmers due to cash deficit following demonetisation, the Reserve Bank on Tuesday directed banks to distribute at least 40 per cent of currency notes in rural areas.

The 50-day exercise ended on December 30, but the cash supply situation is yet to ease in certain pockets. As a result, the government has not lifted the withdrawal ceiling of Rs 24,000 per week.

On observing that bank notes being supplied to rural areas is not commensurate with the local requirements, some steps have already been initiated, RBI said in a notification.

Focus on schools in rural areas

With the official announcement of the national matric results due to be made today, two of the country’s biggest teachers’ unions believe significant improvements will only happen if a lot more effort goes into schools in rural provinces.

Executive director of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) Basil Manuel said they were not anticipating major improvements in the pass rate.

“We already heard what Umalusi said last week regarding the quality of mathematics and the challenges experienced during the unrest in Vuwani, Limpopo, where pupils were barred from going to school for several months. Vuwani was a single tragedy that caused a blot on our education system.”

 

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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