What’s The Gist In Rural Africa?
Every week, we look at stories making headlines on rural development in Africa. These stories are not necessarily based on rural locations but are sometimes those that can improve the lives of rural dwellers in Africa directly or indirectly.
Here are the top stories for this week (October 19-25, 2014):
Africa’s Rise is Leaving Rural Children Behind
Primary school enrollment in African countries is among the lowest in the world and disproportionately distributed. Forty-two million children in sub-Saharan Africa are out of school and children in rural areas are twice likely to be out of school. It is a situation that demands a change in attitudes and political will towards long-neglected regions and rural communities. This is not just a matter of justice and fairness but also about building sustained economic growth, which can only come with an educated, skilled workforce from all geographical locations.
Mankotsana Village To Get Connected
Communications Minister Faith Muthambi says she will approach mobile service providers to erect cell phone towers so that residents of the rural village of Tau-Mankotsana Sekhukhune, Limpopo, can get connected.
Traditional leader Rammupudu Boleu II said: “I might be old but I’m interested in the issue of communication. I’m hands on and understand the importance of effective communication.
“We hope that once the cell phone towers are put up, villagers, especially young people, will be able to share our good stories with those who are far away from our village.”
BOL To Launch Rural Mobile Filling Stations
BOL Chief Executive Officer, Willie Mokgatlhe said the development of mobile filling stations in rural areas would mitigate the challenge of accessibility of fuel specifically in remote areas and facilitated involvement of citizens in the oil industry.
Mokgatlhe said citizens would have the opportunity to operate mobile filling stations in their communities, adding that this initiative augmented benefits for the communities in which the filling stations operated. He said the benefits of this initiative included employment creation and provision of services such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and convenience stores.
Empowering Farmers Through Mobile Communication In West Africa
Leading Ghana-based technology provider Farmerline has announced plans to join the Business Call to Action. The company plans to empower 500,000 small-scale farmers by 2019 in west Africa to advance their livelihoods by accessing information that helps them to improve their harvests. The company also plans to provide a specialised mobile communication and data-collection platform to 5,000 development organisations and agri-businesses in the next five years
The company is working to bridge the information gap that many farmers face in accessing expert agricultural information and real-time data support. Farmerline provides outbound messaging and seasonal subscription services that offer smallholder farmers individualised messaging via their mobile phones as well as a dedicated support line to answer specific questions.
Drought and climate change in the Horn of Africa require responsibility and resilience
The Horn of Africa is considered one of the poorest regions in the world, and ongoing droughts continue to plague this region. The 2011-2012 drought and famine was the worst to hit the region in 25 years, and claimed 260,000 lives. Half of the lives lost were children under the age of 5. The United Nations estimates that 16 million people in the Horn of Africa are in urgent need of food and other humanitarian assistance today.
If climate change continues at the same rate, East Africa’s food security could get even worse with a 20 percent decline in the growing period of key crops by the end of the century and productivity of bean crops cut in half.
Aquaculture to Benefit Rural Women and Ex-Soldiers
The Aquaculture Development Action Plan designed for small scale production of fish will benefit mainly the youths, rural women and ex-soldiers
ARTS & CULTURE
Understanding African Witchcraft
Across the African continent, there is a pervasive outlook characterized by material and non-material, the natural and the supernatural, the seen and the unseen, the visible and the invisible. The invisible world is populated with entities, which Africans believe are capable of doing either good and evil.
These negative and positive metaphysical forces control events and happenings in the world (including the storms of misfortune) people experience in daily life. Witches are among the evil spirits that cause misfortune using human and material means to inflict injury and harm. When people experience death, illness or accidents which they attribute to witchcraft, they then try to smell out this enemy. A witch hunt suddenly erupts. If the witch is not flushed out immediately, people in the family live in constant fear, suspicion and mistrust. If the witch is not openly named and shamed, a covert prosecution occurs. People in communities live in constant state of fear of witchcraft, as if in a magical war.
Rural Africa Can’t Stem Spread Of Ebola
While much of the fight against Ebola in West Africa focuses on highly populated cities, often overlooked are rural areas where inadequate infrastructure and health care fuel its spread. The lack of any medical facilities for hundreds of miles in these remote regions of Sierra Leone — like in neighboring Liberia and Guinea — is a main reason the country is failing to gain control of the crisis.
In addition, poor tracking and limited access mean health officials don’t know exactly how many residents are being infected in these rural areas, making it nearly impossible to curtail the spread of Ebola.