Rural Africa Weekly Report:  Income Growth Lifts Thousands Out of Poverty in Rural Botswana 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:

 Incomes Growth in Rural Botswana Lifts Thousands Out of Poverty and Decreases Inequality

Thousands of Batswana rose out of poverty thanks to increased growth in rural areas driven in part by rising agricultural incomes and welfare improvements, according to a World Bank Study released today in Gaborone.

The Botswana Poverty Assessment report, found that the number of poor people in the country declined by nearly 180 000 between 2002/3 and 2009/10. This denotes a poverty rate decrease of 19.4% from 30.6% when using the national poverty line. In this period, 87 percent of the decrease in poverty occurred in rural areas, where 158,000 people rose out of poverty.

Gutu, Mberengwa Rural Boast Improved WASH

The whole environment was polluted, while dirt-related diseases were the order of the day. But I am happy, all that is in the past. I am now living in a clean environment,” says 49-year-old Chipo Murisi of Ward 4 in Gutu rural.

Murisi is one of the many people in Gutu who now boast of owning an upgradable blair ventilated pit latrine (UBVPL), thanks to the WASH programme that is currently taking place in the area.

The programme is funded by the European Union, while organisations ZimAhead, ACF and Practical Action are implementing the projects within the nine wards in Gutu.

In Education Push, Tanzania to Punish Parents of Children Out of School

As Tanzania prepares to introduce free basic education for all, the government has warned that it will punish parents who fail to ensure their children go to school.

George Masaju, Tanzania’s attorney-general, warned that parents deemed to be holding back efforts to create a literate society by keeping children out of school would face punishment.

“Causing a child to drop from school for any reason is a criminal offence because you offend his fundamental right of being educated,” Masaju said late last month at a graduation ceremony at Feza School in Dar es Salaam.

Beyond the Poverty of Poverty Reduction: The Case of Cotton

As Africa continues to reap ambiguous benefits from cotton, the plight of the West African countries that depend the most on cotton exports − the so-called Cotton Four (C-4) made up of Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali − has received considerable international attention.

However, lost in all of this action and attention was a darker reality. As an agenda to foster Africa’s economic liberation, the Cotton Initiative was always a damp squib.

African Nations Pledge to Restore Natural Forests

Tree by tree, more than a dozen African governments pledged to restore the continent’s natural forests at the recent United Nations climate talks.

The AFR100 initiative is a pledge by African nations to restore 100 million hectares of forest by 2030, according to the organization.

Wanjira Mathai, daughter of the late Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, described the AFR100 forest restoration project as unprecedented.

“I have seen restoration in communities both large and small across Africa, but the promise of a continent-wide movement is truly inspiring,” said Mathai, chairwoman of the Green Belt Movement founded by her mother. “Restoring landscapes will empower and enrich rural communities while providing downstream benefits to those in cities. Everybody wins.”

El Niño is Set to Hurt Millions of Africans in Early 2016 as Rains Fail to Show

Could the same weather pattern that’s causing the balmy pre-Christmas weather in the East Coast and Midwest of the U.S. also be responsible for a punishing drought in southern Africa on the opposite side of the globe?

Scientists say yes—and they are pointing the finger at one of the most potent El Niño systems every recorded in the Pacific Ocean. The large pool of unusually warm water in the Pacific—perhaps the most extreme in 75 years—is forcing changes in normal weather patterns in the US, where it is keeping cold winter air firmly bottled up in the Arctic.

El Niño’s reach is also being felt in the sun-baked farmlands of rural Zimbabwe, Malawi and South Africa, where rains that usually start in October or November have simply not materialized this year.

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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