Rural Reporters Weekly Top Pick
It’s the beginning of a new week and as part of our tradition, Rural Reporters collates a weekly 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 top updates from the previous week.
The proposal by Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti to limit land ownership by large-scale farmers has caught them by surprise, the African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) said on Tuesday.
“The African Farmers Association of South Africa was caught by surprise as anyone else by the sudden and unexpected announcement of new land ceilings proposed by government,” the organisation said in a statement.
“This came as a surprise to us. During our earlier engagements with him [the minister], he didn’t mention these levels with us nor anyone from the organised agriculture. We don’t know how he came with those figures or farm sizes,” said AFASA secretary general, Aggrey Mahanjana.
Until Ebola, the main hospital in Gueckedou was often deserted. Now, on a Saturday afternoon, the place is bustling. Doctors and nurses move efficiently from patient to patient. Families sit on straw mats beside the beds of their loved ones, talking quietly as they wait.
“Before, the service was empty,” Doctor N’Fansoumane Kalissa, the hospital director, told IRIN. “The sick didn’t come…They saw traditional healers or were treating themselves. But people have started coming here because they know Ebola was real and that even though Ebola is no longer here [in Gueckedou], they understand [that hospitals can help] and now they come to get cured.”
Tens of thousands of children in northern Cameroon, including many refugees from neighbouring Nigeria, are out of school because of cross-border attacks by Boko Haram.
“The government and aid agencies are grappling with a complex emergency situation,” said Middjiyawa Bakari, governor of Cameroon’s Far North Region.
“Getting enough classrooms, teachers and various forms of assistance to the internally displaced children and refugees remains critical,” he said.
Those now deprived of education include almost half of 62,000 children who have been internally displaced because of attacks by the Nigerian insurgency, which have led to the closure of more than 120 schools since September.
Sex abuse by U.N. peacekeeping personnel has been a problem for decades, and it is still happening despite the world body’s official policy of zero tolerance for sexual exploitation, a group of former diplomats and U.N. officials said on Wednesday.
The group, including Graça Machel, author of the landmark study “The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children”, is joining with AIDS-Free World in a campaign called Code Blue to demand that the United Nations remove the immunity that protects sexual abusers within peacekeeping missions.
Several senior United Nations officials, however, told reporters ahead of the event that there is already a policy of waiving immunity in most cases for civilian staff and U.N. police when they are accused of crimes like rape or sexual abuse.
So-called “functional immunity,” they said, only covers actions that are part of someone’s job, which means that any alleged criminal activity is not immune from prosecution.
Senegal’s capital Dakar is showing off its new face, with a development boom. New infrastructure has been given a shot in the arm and in the past few months several projects have been completed. Senegal is determined to become an emerging country by 2035.
“Senegal’s rural areas have huge potential. We organised the women into Economic Interest Groups, helping them with packaging, labeling, and processing. They’ve developed beekeeping and poultry farming. We help them to commercialise and market their produce on our website,” says Khadidiatou Diop.
Senegal knows many challenges remain. But more than ever the country believes it has cards to play and is confident it can pursue its reforms to become a key player once and for all on the African continent.
Many visitors in poor, sub-Saharan African countries are struck by how schools outnumber factories. The large number of schools is due partly to the success of one of the Millennium Development Goals – that primary education should be available to all children.
According to the World Bank, the proportion of boys finishing primary school in sub-Saharan Africa increased from 58% to 73% between 1999 and 2012. In the same period, the proportion of girls finishing primary school climbed from 48% to 66%.
But what are these newly educated young people doing? In urban areas, many are hawking goods in the street, sitting around in small stalls and finding somewhere as comfortable as possible to sleep.
More than 3 million people living below the poverty line in KwaZulu-Natal are set to benefit from the country’s first poverty eradication office, set up by the provincial premier, Senzo Mchunu.
Speaking to The Mercury, Mchunu said the new Durban-based office would begin its work next month to address the causes of poverty, rather than glossing over it through grant dependency.
“This plan has been in the making since last year, but we have now finalised the details and are ready to roll out,” he said.