Photo Credit: CGIAR

Rural Voters, Smart Migration and Other Reports

Every week, Rural Reporters collate reports on development in rural Africa and its environs. The reports include some of our top picks from recent must-read research, interviews, reports, blogs and in-depth articles which have been carefully selected to help you keep up with global issues. Here are some of the updates you may have missed from the previous week


Is Wi-Fi really the answer for rural communities in Africa?

The short answer is yes. However, it can never be as simple as that, as there are many factors, broader than the telecommunication space that need to be addressed. However, as many of Africa’s population reside in rural communities, just like citizens living in urban areas they must be afforded the same opportunities and benefits – and providing access has been noted to go a long way in driving economic development and social inclusion.

Central Bank Team Travels to Rural Liberia on Currency Awareness

A team representing personnel of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) is in rural Liberia to undertake public awareness on the new series of Liberian Dollar bank notes to be released soon.

The team left Monrovia Monday, August 22, 2016. It comprises personnel of the Banking Department.

The CBL personnel will visit strategic locations throughout the political sub-divisions of Liberia to inform rural dwellers and other stakeholders about the new series of banknotes to be issued

Gabon’s Leader Gives Elephants Free Rein. Rural Voters Don’t Forget

In most countries, the exchanges would probably not have even registered as a blip on the presidential radar. But they caught the attention of Gabon’s president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, who has made protecting this central African nation’s wildlife and forests a centerpiece of his tenure.

Mr. Bongo, whose family has held Gabon’s presidency since the Lyndon B. Johnson era, has earned international praise for his commitment to conservation.

But as he faces re-election on Saturday, his efforts have earned him something else as well: resentment from many residents who complain that he worries too much about wild animals and not enough about them.

Some potential voters said they planned to sit out the vote in protest, repeating a common refrain that can be heard in the forests and on city streets alike: Let the elephants vote for him instead.

Can ‘smart migration’ build climate resilience in Africa?

When higher temperatures and dry spells make the lives of farmers a daily struggle, many choose to move away from their homeland and try their luck elsewhere.

It’s a painful choice, and one that leaves families and entire communities culturally displaced, altering their way of life irreparably.

But sometimes, migration doesn’t have to be the only alternative to adaptation – it can complement it.

That is the surprising finding of a team of researchers who set out to investigate the lifestyles of five hundred agro-pastoralists in different parts of Samburu county in Kenya, a semi-arid region increasingly affected by climate change.

Egyptian women say doctors don’t discourage female genital cutting, study finds

Women in Egypt are seeking out doctors’ opinions on whether they should circumcise their daughters and, though it is illegal there, physicians are not discouraging the practice, giving legitimacy to a procedure that has serious medical risks, according to a new study led by a former Stanford University School of Medicine researcher.

Rates of female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation or female genital cutting, have rapidly declined in Egypt in recent years as a result of women’s empowerment and mass media campaigns that highlight the potential health risks of the procedure, which include infection, hemorrhage and death, said the study’s lead author, Sepideh Modrek, PhD, who was an instructor in medicine at Stanford when the work was conducted.

Among the 410 women interviewed in the study, about one-third said they were uncertain about the need for the procedure and/or were worried about the risks for their daughters, so they sought out doctors for advice, the study showed. Most women who said that they would follow through with the procedure for their daughters were having it done by physicians, rather than traditional midwives, as a safety precaution, the researchers found.

AU — Ending Hunger by 2025 will require joint contributions

While speaking at a meeting for selected Media practitioners and press attaches of the African Union from over 20 countries in Lusaka Zambia last week, the AU’s Laila Lokosang said that Africa still has much more to do to end hunger. “We made some progress in the first decade from 2003 to 2013. It is now upon us to end hunger within this decade, 2015 to 2025,” Lokosang said. Lokosang, who is from the AU Commission’s Department for Agriculture and Rural Economy however described this as an uphill task for Africa.

Abia govt procures 40 motorcycles to monitor rural schools

In a bid to ensure proper monitoring and supervision of the activities of teachers in the rural schools in the State, the Abia state Government has given out 40 motorcycles to the state Ministry of Education to enable them access schools in the interior hinterland.

The government explained that this move was to ensure that schools in rural areas are monitored and supervised to meet set standard. They are to be used by the zonal and area inspectors of education.

Zimbabwe: Drought Affects Schools, Hospitals     

A preliminary assessment of access to safe water at institutions indicates that over 1 100 schools and over 125 health facilities have a reduced water production capacity from their main water sources due to the drought situation.

According to the Rural WASH Information Management System (RWIMS), an estimated 11 000 sources (boreholes, deep wells, shallow wells) have been reported to have a reduced yield with over 750 perennial sources also reporting reduction in their capacity or are drying up due to the drought situation, reducing access to safe water for approximately 3,4 million people.

Approximately four million people, including 1,9 million children in rural Zimbabwe are at risk of food insecurity during the peak of the hunger season according to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment report from July 2016.

Rural India is eating less than it did 40 years ago

As India’s 70th year since Independence begins, widespread progress is evident, but in rural India, where 833 million Indians (70%) live, people are consuming fewer nutrients than are required to stay healthy, according to a National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau survey.

On average, compared to 1975-’79, a rural Indian now consumes 550 fewer calories and 13 gm protein, 5 mg iron, 250 mg calcium and about 500 mg vitamin A lesser.

Children below the age of three are consuming, on average, 80 ml of milk per day instead of the 300 ml they require. This data explains, in part, why in the same survey, 35% of rural men and women were found to be undernourished, and 42% of children were underweight.




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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