Nigeria’s Next Security Challenge 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:

Here’s a rundown of the top stories making headlines in rural Africa this week.

 

Nigeria’s Next Security Challenge is at a Tipping Point and Could be as Deadly as Boko Haram

In February, about 300 people were killed and a further 7,000 persons displaced in four communities in just one local government area Agatu, in the middle belt state of Benue.

Despite being overlooked by the international media for the most part in recent years, the herdsman-farmer clashes are on track to be a significant destabilizing security issue for Nigeria over the next few years. And unlike with Boko Haram which was ostensibly defined by religious boundaries, these clashes have more potential for a ripple effect within Nigeria when the sensitive issue of ethnicity is added to the mix. The herdsmen are Fulani, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group that spreads across West Africa and is the world’s largest nomadic people; the farming communities, particularly in the middle belt and south, are made up of many smaller predominantly Christian ethnic groups. It is not uncommon to hear references to the Fulani jihad of Sheikh Othman Dan Fodio of the early 19th century and claims that the attacks are a continuation of the ancient religious military campaign.

 

The failed reform of public broadcasters in Africa

While most national broadcasting organizations nowadays prefer to call themselves “public services”, in essence they remain what they have always been: state broadcasters. And in spite of their diminished reputation, they are still a force to be reckoned with.

As things stand, only national, state-controlled broadcasters have the potential to provide news, education and entertainment to the broad majority of the population in most countries in Africa. They dominate radio and TV services in all aspects: with regard to technical reach, diversity of languages and popularity in terms of audience ratings.

They are usually the only broadcaster in the country with a nationwide network for both radio and television transmission, including services to remote rural areas.

 

Albinos facing ‘systematic extinction’ in Malawi – UN

A United Nations human rights expert has described Malawians living with albinism as “an endangered group facing a risk of systemic extinction over time if nothing is done”.

“Persons with albinism, and parents of children with albinism, constantly live in fear of attack,” said Ikponwosa Ero, the UN independent expert on the rights of persons with albinism, at the end of her visit to Malawi.

Higher Education Cannot Wait for 2030 Global Goals

Africa cannot wait until 2030 for the next round of global goals to address the urgent need for quality higher education. Despite higher education targets being included within Sustainable Development Goals 4.3, 4.9 and 17, these goals do not address the critical need for improved quality. Rather, they centre on incremental development, enrolment rates, unsustainable practices and international dependency.

UNESCO warns that by 2025, 258 million Africans will reach higher education enrolment age. If this explosive student-age population growth could be channelled into higher education, national development across Africa would greatly benefit (Montanini 2013).

Ethiopia, Where the Paris Climate Agreement Gets Real

The same day global leaders were gathering at the United Nations in New York to sign an historic climate agreement, my family and I stood in front of a tiny solar-powered trailer on the side of a dusty, dirt-packed road in southern Ethiopia. The tiny SolarKiosk, nestled near traditional thatched huts and surrounded by cows and goats, sells different-sized solar lanterns, as well as power for mobile phones and bottles of Fanta.

While Ethiopia’s current carbon footprint is tiny compared to developed countries, what happens down the road, as its economy grows, is a big question. The country’s commitment—to be carbon neutral, even as its lifts 25 million people out of poverty, by 2025—is wildly ambitious. The fact that its population is soaring and that most rural communities still lack electricity—and need it—only adds to the challenge.

We need more nurses, midwives in rural areas

Nurses and midwives being the predominant service providers in rural settings and in the entire health system at large need to have competent and proficient skills, and that is what the government has always been insisting on.. AMREF insists that the goal of the nurse-midwife upgrading programme should be aimed at improving healthcare service delivery to communities living in Tanzania especially those in rural settings.

Its purpose should be to increase access to appropriate and effective professional development for health workers in the 10 outlined regions. The ultimate beneficiaries of this programme are indeed the communities that shall have access to better care from betterinformed health care providers and that is what is actually mentioned in the UN Sustainable Goals.

The nurse upgrading eLearning course needs ultimate support, because it is a product of a national approved eLearning curriculum regulated by NACTE, MOHSW and TNMC.

The project targeted to enrol 1000 nurses across 10 regions in the eLearning course over a two years’ period. A six month test pilot did run in the said schools for 200 nurses, before the scheme was fully rolled out.

Tanzania to spend $680m for rural electrification projects

In Tanzania, Dr Medard Kalemani, the deputy minister of energy and minerals has declared that government has earmarked $680 million for phase III of the rural electrification project.

Kalemani stated that phase II of the project, spearheaded by the Rural Energy Agency (REA), is expected to reach completion by June this year, reports East African Business Week.

“REA expects to implement phase III project for three consecutive years where we expect to spend the said amount and this will be the last phase,” he said.

 

Mobile Land Claims Offices Bring Hope to Rural Communities

About 27 696 land claims have been lodged through the mobile lodgement offices alone since their introduction last year.

Government, through the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights, introduced the mobile offices to reach remote rural communities during the land claims process. The claims process allows people who were removed from their land under apartheid rule, but who missed an earlier deadline for lodging claims for compensation, to do so until 30 June 2019.

It is estimated that at least 3.5 million South Africans were forcibly removed from their land as a result of the Native Land Act of 1913, which effectively reserved 87 percent of land in the country for the white minority.

By visiting these remote rural areas, the six mobile offices in Sol Plaatje, Gemsbok, Mabulandila-Vulindlela, Inkanyezi, Maropeng and Thembekile, the commission has provided relief for families who otherwise would not have had the resources to travel to the 14 lodgement offices in the country’s nine provinces.

Using Tablets In Rural Africa, XPRIZE Hopes To Inspire Education

Having propelled humanity to the edge of space, the XPRIZE now hopes to inspire education for hundreds of millions of children, starting with a five-year competition that launches in Tanzania today.

The XPRIZE Foundation has partnered with United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and the World Food Programme (WFP) to find a way to provide education using open-source software and tablets “that will enable children with limited access to schooling to teach themselves basic reading, writing and arithmetic”.

Launched in the northern city of Dodoma in the east African country by the country’s Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Professor Joyce Ndalichako, the $15 million Global Learning XPRIZE is a five-year competition where some 4,000 children in 200 villages will take part in the 18-month field trial. Each child will receive one of 8,000 Pixel C tablets donated by Google.

 

 

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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