Why Orania Community Won’t be Voting 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:

Orania community won’t be voting

Determined to maintain their independence, the people of Orania will not be taking part in the local elections. There are no posters lining the streets and campaign cars aren’t making the rounds.

The people of Orania say their enclave is about responsible self-governance. In existence for 25 years, Orania’s population has seen steady growth. It is now home to 450 families.

Orania Movement leader, Carel Boshoff said while some things attract people to Orania, other things push people away. Even the currency is different. The Ora is used to keep money circulating within the town.

“Very many rural communities or even townships close to larger towns stay very poor because all the money seems to flow out of it, going to products and services that are not produced locally… People need to deliver services to each other and products to each other,” he said.

Bridging the gap: Local students make difference in Kenya

No longer will elementary students fear falling into a flowing creek, when they make their way school in the rural Kenyan Village of Mukayuni. Now, because of the efforts and creativity of fifth graders from Wallenpaupack South Elementary School, the children and adults from the Hope Initiative Program Academy (HIP), have a well-structured sturdy bridge to cross.

In their science classes, the young WSES engineers used paper to create their own versions of a bridge, which was then tested with pennies that acted as paperweights to determine what their paper arches could hold. Later, the students used cardboard to decide how the bridge would function and then, crafted their idea on graph paper.

Bayelsa Fishermen Agitate for Devt in Rural Communities

Artisanal fishermen from the oil bearing communities of Bayelsa, have called for the establishment of an Oil Producing Areas Development Commission in the state.

The fishermen, under the aegis of Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria (ARFAN), Bayelsa chapter, made the call in interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Yenagoa.

ARFAN chairperson in the state, Elizabeth Egbe, said that the establishment of the commission had become necessary in order to ensure the rapid development of the oil producing areas.


Africa’s Pollution Problem Is a Lot Worse Than We Think
When most people think of Africa, the first thing they imagine is vast expanses of wilderness dotted with exotic animals and idyllic villages. However, large urban centers across the continent are expanding at unprecedented rates. And with this growth has come a new trouble: air pollution. According to recent reports, air quality is decreasing in a number of countries and it’s putting citizens and nature in danger.

Most stories on air pollution tend to focus on China, Europe and the Americas. However the vast cities across Africa, particularly in Nigeria, are actually home to some of the worst air quality on Earth. This is due to a number of reasons. A lack of emission control measures, wood and charcoal burning stoves, trash burns and unregulated manufacturing industries. The combination of these are killing residents at astonishing rates.

On the streets of Kampala in Uganda the evidence is clear. Residents say that sometimes you can “chew the air” due to the black plumes that emanate from large vehicles that transport goods around the region. Shared taxis, which clog city streets, also tend to go unregulated, with emissions choking residents as they roll by.

How anti-modern farming agroecology NGOs spread GMO misinformation in Africa

Are farmers in Africa is under attack? According to Henk Hobbelink, a Dutch agronomist and founder of GRAIN—a non-profit that campaigns against crop biotechnology and modern farming techniques—the menace is Big Ag, with GMOs as their weapon of choice. Hobelink, according to the GRAIN website, promotes “small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems

Hobbelink has been touring Uganda and other African countries in an attempt to kill growing support among farmers for genetically modified bananas that are resistant to banana wilt, which is devastating the crop. His message: countries that are growing GMO crops, the United States in particular, do not dare feed them to humans but use them exclusively for animal consumption.

New financial bill to consolidate rural banks, microfinance companies

Banking consultant, Nana Otuo Acheampong has told Citi Business News the new Banks and Specialized Deposit-Taking Institutions Bill, will consolidate the operations of microfinance companies and protect the financial regime of the country.

“If you take the rural banks and the microfinance institutions for instance, there hasn’t been any specific Act which is under regulations. Now this one puts them directly under regulations so it provides a very good working definition for players in the industry to know that if they are dealing with any institution, they either fall under one definition or another so it’s a very good bill passed.”

Motorcycle scheme to cover 30k rural workers

A scheme to assist teachers and health workers in rural areas to acquire motorcycles as a means of transport has been launched in the Volta region.

The Better Ghana Motorcycle programme, is targeting 30,000 rural teachers and health workers nationwide, to purchase and pay for the motorbikes on monthly installation basis, without interest charges.

Mr. Gershon Adeklo, Coordinator of the programme said the scheme is a private initiative to help tackle the transportation challenges of public servants in rural Ghana.

According to him, “teachers and health workers, especially those in rural areas have peculiar challenges with transportation, that’s why we can put with this motorcycle programme, so that they have the peace of mind to deliver services to their communities.”

Online university set to be launched in Kenya

The government is planning to set up an open online university next year for effective digital curriculum with the vision to accommodate the digital generation.

Education Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang`i has called to Education researchers to help come up with an effective design on the same.

Dr. Matiangi said the Open University of Kenya is part of strategic curricular reforms pioneered by the government that seek to up scaling access to tertiary education among Kenyans in rural areas who may otherwise never access university education.

CHESIDS is Looking for Young & Innovative Nigerians with a Passion for Social Change in Rural Communities

CHESIDS, a Non Governmental Organisation in Nigeria is interested in partnering with young graduates on intervention projects for the under-served rural communities in Nigeria starting with communities in the North Central Zone. This initiative will equip young graduates who have the zeal to create social change within rural communities especially where those changes ultimately improve the health of community members.

Please visit www.chesids.org for more information.


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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