Rural Reporters Weekly Top Pick: 5 Things You Missed

Happy new month!

Every week, Rural Reporters curates a report on development in rural Africa and its environs. The reports included 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 may have missed from the previous week.

 

Tanzania’s Free SMS Health Campaign Helps Pregnant Women, New Mothers

Breast milk not only protects newborn babies from infection, it also lowers mortality among malnourished children.

Luckily, Rahim knew better than her well-meaning friends, having signed up to receive text messages on staying healthy during pregnancy and after giving birth as part of a government campaign to improve maternal and newborn health in the east African country.

“Some people were telling me breast milk is not enough for the baby, they even advised me to give my baby porridge so that she doesn’t feel hungry. They were wrong,” Rahim, 28, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Mbagala, a sprawling suburb known for its dilapidated drainage systems and clogged roads.

Since the campaign, Wazazi Nipendeni, “Parents Love Me” in Swahili, was introduced three years ago, some 125,000 pregnant women have registered for the free text messages.

 

Rural Entrepreneurs Invited to apply for £35,000+ grants to Grow their Businesses

Rural businesspeople and communities can apply for a helping hand to expand their business or launch a new venture.

There is £24 million available in the new Growth Programme and applications for grants opened today. Individual grants are upwards of £35,000, depending on the individual project.

The programme is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and managed by the Rural Payments Agency, working with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), which are partnerships between local authorities and local businesses.
Child Prostitution Prevalent in Volta, growing in Western regions – Report

The US Department of State 2015 Human Trafficking Report, released yesterday July 28, 2015 describes Ghana as a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.

The report also notes that child prostitution is prevalent in the Volta region and is growing in the oil-producing western regions of the country.

It states among other things that Ghanaian girls are subjected to a form of forced ritual servitude to atone for sins of a family member, which can last for a few months or several years – referring to the traditional system common in some parts of the Volta Region known as ‘Trokosi’.

 

How Technology is Driving Change in Rural Communities

In the new world economy, innovative technology has been driving change, especially in education, healthcare and business ecosystems, making life better and easier for the rural communities around the world.

Narrating her experience how technology has helped her save a life, Josephine Udo, 40, a petty trader, had just left home for her stall beside the ever-busy road in Oban town, Cross River State.

On her way, she received a phone call that her youngest son has gone down with fever. She immediately aborted her journey to the stall and quickly dashed home, picked her son and proceeded on a 10km journey to the nearest hospital.

The illness cost Bassey’s mother lots of money and time but could have been worse if not for that one phone call.

To eat or not to eat; that is the big question corrupt Africa Faces Today

The last week was a good one for flag-waving Kenyan patriots. US president Barack Obama (or “cousin Barry” to many Kenyans) visited the land of his father, becoming the first sitting American president to do so.

On the same weekend cousin Barry was in Kenya, Kenyan-born British cyclist Chris Froome won the Tour de France (TDF), the world’s most gruelling and prestigious cycling race, for the second time.

For the point we are going to make here, it is worth noting that this year’s TDF also saw the first entrance by an African team, South Africa’s MTN-Qhubeka. Two Eritrean members of the team became the first black Africans to race in the TDF.

Mr Obama had a few very good days, and between his visit to Kenya and Ethiopia, he got more applause and crowd love than he has in the past five years in America, despite the fact that he presides over the lowest level of unemployment in the US since 1973.

He pressed all the right buttons, acknowledging the progress that many of the continent’s leaders have overseen in their countries, while chiding them for corruption, repression, and changing constitutions so that they can become presidents for life.

 

 

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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