Rural Africa Weekly Report: Leaving No One Behind In Kibera and Other Reports
Every week, Rural Reporters collates a report on development in rural Africa and its environs. The reports include are some of our top picks of recent must-read research, interviews, reports, blogs and in-depth articles to help you keep on top of global crises. Here are some of the updates you ma have missed from the previous week.
“Music and healing is an old tradition practised in Africa for millennia; it makes sense for it to be revised with modern scientific methods.”
Musicians in rural Kenya frequently perform for the sick on an informal basis, according to Akombo. In Nairobi, however, this practice has become almost non-existent. Professor Akombo says conventional government-run hospitals do not recognise the value of complementary medical practices like music therapy, particularly in treating mental health issues.
Kibera, the most populous slum in Nairobi (and East Africa), once appeared as a blank space on most maps because it was considered an illegal settlement. Because of this perceived illegality, basic demographic statistics for the slum were not collected, meaning the government didn’t provide basic services such as water, sewer, security, electricity and education. Thanks to Map Kibera, this is now starting to change.
Acrosss the highway from the lawns of Nairobi’s Muthaiga Country Club is Mathare, a slum that stretches as far as the eye can see. Although Mathare has virtually no services like paved streets or sanitation, it has a sizeable and growing number of classrooms. Not because of the state—the slum’s half-million people have just four public schools—but because the private sector has moved in. Mathare boasts 120 private schools.
This pattern is repeated across Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. The failure of the state to provide children with a decent education is leading to a burgeoning of private places, which can cost as little as $1 a week (see article).
The parents who send their children to these schools in their millions welcome this. But governments, teachers’ unions and NGOs tend to take the view that private education should be discouraged or heavily regulated. That must change.
The failure of state education, combined with the shift in emerging economies from farming to jobs that need at least a modicum of education, has caused a private-school boom.
The challenge of energy usage in rural communities in developing countries including Uganda continues to rage and the search of alternative energy source other than the main grid is on the increase.
In Uganda just like other countries in Africa, energy sources such as firewood, candles, kerosene is being used by many communities in rural areas.
But this trend is now changing with communities adopting biogas and solar energy usage for cooking and lighting.
The Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform has considered the 2014/15 Annual Report of the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights. The Committee congratulated the Commission for improvement in their performance, especially exceeding their targets for the year under review.
The Chief Land Claims Commissioner, Ms Nomfundo Gobodo, informed the Committee that by the end of the 2014/15 financial year, the Commission had received 57300 land claims since the reopening of lodgement of land claims in terms of the 2014 amendment to the Restitution of Land Rights Act. Furthermore, about 67 000 land claims have been lodged to date.
An emerging trend of claimants that opt for financial compensation rather than restoration of land rights is a concern. “We understand that legislation gives a right to any claimant to choose a preferred settlement option. However, as this Committee we want restitution to contribute to correcting the land ownership imbalances; cash compensation doesn’t assist us to reach that goal,” said the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Ms Phumzile Ngwenya-Mabila.