Maiyola, a Fulani community in Kaduna state/photo credit: Ibrahim Mohammad.

Rural Electrification, Family life in rural Ghana 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:

In rural Senegal, seeds of hope for working women     

In Nganda, a rural community in remote Senegal close to the Gambian border, restaurant owner Aissatou Tisse is carving out a reputation for tasty homemade, locally grown food.

About 100 kilometres (60 miles) away in the village of Niakhar, handicapped Daba Dione feeds her family by raising chickens on a modest smallholding. Thanks to a training course in veterinary health, she is routinely consulted by neighbours about their own poultry. “Today, I’ve even forgotten the difficulties of the past,” Dione told AFP.

In Nganda, where some families cannot afford all the food they need, IFAD has financed farm support programmes jointly with the Senegalese state since 2012. Villagers are given seeds adapted to survive in drought conditions and also get basic agronomic training in soil management.

A village in Kenya is quietly disproving the biggest myth about basic income   

As basic income has gained mainstream interest as a way to reduce poverty, people have started speculating how it might play out on a large scale. Would the system make people work more or less? Would they spend all the money immediately? Where would the funds come from?

Anecdotal evidence and nearly all empirical research has shown that unconditional cash transfers help people help themselves. Recipients often use the income to pay for their kids’ school fees, buy medicine, repair their homes, and invest in their small businesses to further grow their wealth. While some use the money for so-called “temptation goods,” as economists call them, the majority of recipients defy the stereotype that people in poverty somehow lack moral character or responsibility.

Algae-based solar cells could one day power rural Africa

Algae-based solar cells could one day power rural Africa, say researchers from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

In a paper published in the journal Nature Energy, they describe how they are improving the efficiency of algae-based solar cells in converting solar energy into electricity.

Through the natural process of photosynthesis, plants and microorganisms like algae and bacteria have been harvesting solar energy for billions of years.

Family life in rural Ghana

It may be arguable, but these days, for most urban dwellers, the sense of community living does not exist. Many people have families that are spread out over many cities, as a result of which people in urban areas now live more nuclear lifestyles. GBC’s Abdul Hayi Moomen reports, however, that in many rural areas in Ghana families are still bound together as one unit.                  

What Senegal needs to do to close its energy gap by 2030

To achieve universal energy access by 2030, the UN says Senegal must double its electrification rate. Currently, only 33 percent of rural Senegalese have electricity access. But connecting rural homes to the centralised grid is too expensive for most households and building the transmission infrastructure will take years.

Last year Senegal took steps to address these challenges, starting with diversifying its energy mix. About 88 percent of Senegal’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels and the rest is from renewable energy. It aims to increase the proportion of renewables to 20 percent by 2017. One of the ways it is doing this is by tapping into solar energy.

Namibia: Ambulance Bicycles Help Improve Maternal and Infant Health in Rural Areas

Director of the Bicycle Empower Network Namibia, Michael Linke, said they have reached a milestone of 50 000 bicycles imported into Namibia so far.

“We have also tested a waste recycling project and introduced Africa’s first solar electric ambulances with aim of improving maternal and infant health and general healthcare access,” he added.

He said that one of their objectives is to share what they learn as widely as possibly and that everyone who donated and is part of this project is helping to bring about transformation in affordable, sustainable, emergency transport throughout the continent and this will improve healthcare access in Namibia and throughout Africa.

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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