Rural Roads, Drylands and Other Reports
Every week, RuralReporters.com 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:
Daffo community in Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau has decried the deplorable state of the only road linking it with the rest of the world, urging the state government to “urgently intervene”.
Mr Mafulul Makwin, Chairman, Daffo Community Development Association, made the appeal on Tuesday in Daffo, when he led youths of the area on a manual repair of some sections of the road.
The road links the area to Bokkos and Panyam in Plateau, and Wamba in Nasarawa State.
Africa’s population continues to grow, putting intense pressure on available land for agricultural purposes and life-supporting ecosystem services even as the scenario is compounded by the adverse impacts of climate change. But the adoption of land degradation neutrality (LDN) measures is helping ensure food and water security and contributing to sustainable socioeconomic development and well-being, especially for Eastern African countries that face immense challenges.
Oliver Wasonga, a dryland ecology and pastoral livelihoods specialist at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, says there is little investment in sustainable land management, especially in the drylands, and yet many communities living in rural Africa increasingly lose their livelihoods due to loss of land productivity resulting from land degradation. Wasonga told IPS that land degradation costs Africa about $65bn dollars annually, around five percent of its gross domestic product. Globally, the cost of land degradation is estimated at about $295bn dollars annually.
Investment in restoration of degraded land is critical in enhancing household food and income security, he said, especially for the majority of Africa’s rural populace that relies almost entirely on natural resources for their livelihoods. “This is more so for the millions of pastoralists and agro-pastoralists who inhabit the dry lands of Africa that form more than 40 percent of the continent’s land surface. Any attempt to attain LDN is, therefore, key to achieving both poverty reduction and development goals,” said Wasonga.
Government, as part of its flagship programme; One Village One Dam, would build 10 units of 300KW Biopower and 80 hectres of centre pivot irrigation dams in 10 selected villages within the Kpandai District.
t would also construct a 300KW dairy farm biogas power plant and irrigation dam as well as fertilizer production units in selected villages in the three regions of the north.
The programme is in partnership with the Renewable Energy and Environmental Conservation (REEC) Biopower, a subsidiary of Hi-Limit Group.
“Education has always been the background of any successful society, the more we can focus on that, the more we can drive education, the better off you have economic development. And one of the biggest challenges we’re going to have in Africa is the shortage of teachers,” says Shane Wall, HP’s CTO and global head of HP Labs.
Wall delivered a presentation at this year’s Responsible Business Forum on sustainable development, held in Johannesburg last week during which he urged companies to focus on providing remote digital education to solve Africa’s education crises and teacher shortage.
About 2 million animals have died there since the end of last year, crippling herding communities, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
“A drought does not need to become an emergency,” said Gilbert Houngbo, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which provides governments with loans and technical expertise for rural development projects.
Investment in irrigation, water points, rural financial institutions, health and veterinary services helps communities to protect themselves and their livestock through even a devastating drought, he said.
Fistula is often described as one of the most humiliating health complications that a lot of women go through silently for fear of stigmatization. But several non-governmental organizations have devised ways of using technology to assist women in rural Africa to seek treatment for the childbirth complication.
Through various mobile money transfer platforms such as M-Pesa in East Africa, NGOs like the Freedom From Fistula Foundation – a U.K. charity organization – are sending money to fistula patients in the remote parts of the continent to cover their transport and treatment costs.
Currently, fistula repair costs between 300,000 and 600,000 Central African francs ($520-$1,050), an amount that very few women in rural Africa can afford.
Fifteen-year-old Pkorkor Lomerilima smiled tentatively before lifting his faded Marvel Heroes T-shirt to reveal over a dozen small scars across his slightly distended stomach.
“I was in a lot of pain when I had the treatment, and I was very scared,” he said, pointing out the scattered incisions, each about half an inch long.
When Pkorkor’s stomach began to swell and his body shivered with periodic fevers, his father took him straight to a traditional healer who promised to find a cure.
Living in Kenya’s rural Baringo region far from any clinic, Lomerilima Lokale was so hopeful the healer would make his teenage son better that he sold five goats and a camel to pay him ― a fortune for the pastoralist family.