Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Showcase


Channel Catalog


Channel Description:

ReliefWeb - Updates

older | 1 | .... | 23 | 24 | (Page 25) | 26 | 27 | .... | 728 | newer

    0 0

    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    11/12/2012 15:15 GMT

    Par Stéphane BARBIER

    DAKAR, 12 nov 2012 (AFP) - Le feu vert des chefs d'Etat ouest-africains à l'envoi de milliers de soldats dans le nord du Mali pour en chasser les islamistes, est un pas décisif dix mois après le début de l'offensive des groupes armés dans cette région où ils ont laminé l'armée et l'Etat malien.

    En approuvant les recommandations de leurs chefs d'état-major d'envoyer 3.300 hommes au Mali, les dirigeants ouest-africains réunis dimanche à Abuja ont réussi à surmonter leurs divergences de départ sur une telle intervention, mais ils se passera encore plusieurs mois avant qu'elle commence, selon des experts.

    Les dirigeants de la transition à Bamako ont attendu septembre pour demander une intervention, et des chefs d'Etat comme le Burkinabé Blaise Compaoré, médiateur de l'Afrique de l'Ouest dans la crise malienne, ont toujours privilégié le dialogue, d'autres, dont le Nigérien Mahamadou Issoufou, l'usage de la force.

    "Il y a eu beaucoup de progrès ces dernières semaines en terme de cohérence internationale", souligne Gilles Yabi, d'International Crisis group (ICG) à Dakar, "mais nous ne sommes cependant pas à la veille d'une intervention qui se décline dans la durée", même après accord de l'ONU associée à sa préparation.

    Si, sur "le plan politique et des principes il n'y a plus de divergences majeures", il doute "que tous les détails de l'intervention aient été finalisés".

    Le nombre précis d'hommes envoyés par les pays de la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao), leur niveau de formation, les moyens et capacités militaires de la force, son financement, restent encore flous.

    Or, estime Jean-Charles Brisard, spécialiste des questions de terrorisme, "il faut mettre en place une offensive massive et rapide car le principal risque, c'est l'enlisement".

    Gilles Yabi table sur une intervention "au deuxième semestre 2013", soit un an et demi après le lancement de l'offensive dans le nord du Mali, en janvier, de la rébellion touareg du Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA), à la faveur du retour de Libye d'ex-rebelles touareg des années 90, lourdement armés.

    Le MNLA était alors allié aux groupes islamistes armés, Al Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi), Ansar Dine (Défenseurs de l'islam) et le Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (Mujao) qui l'ont rapidement chassé de cette vaste région qui occupe les deux-tiers du territoire malien.

    "Remise sur pied de l'armée malienne"

    Depuis juin, ils y imposent avec rigueur la charia (loi islamique), en procédant à des exécutions par lapidation, des amputations de présumés voleurs, des coups de fouet aux buveurs d'alcool, aux fumeurs et autres "déviants".

    L'armée malienne a été humiliée dans le Nord et l'Etat y a disparu.

    La chute de cette région a été précipitée par un coup d'Etat militaire qui a renversé le 22 mars le président Amadou Toumani Touré, accusé d'avoir laissé Aqmi s'installer et prospérer dans le Nord sans donner à son armée les moyens nécessaires pour combattre ces jihadistes venus d'Algérie.

    Les putschistes, dirigés par un obscur officier, le capitaine Amadou Haya Sanogo, ont rendu le pouvoir à des autorités civiles de transition, sous pression internationale, en particulier de la Cédéao.

    Mais le capitaine Sanogo reste influent à Bamako où il a été nommé à la tête d'une structure chargée de réformer ce qui reste d'une armée bafouée, composée d'environ 5.000 hommes sous-équipés, censés participer à la reconquête du Nord.

    "Un axe important est la remise sur pied de l'armée malienne", estime Gilles Yabi et "cela aussi prendra du temps".

    La décision du sommet d'Abuja de ne pas confier au Mali le commandement de la force, risque de froisser une partie de l'armée et les organisations "patriotiques" opposées à toute intervention étrangère, compliquant encore un peu plus la tâche des autorités de transition.

    Le sommet a rappelé que, parallèlement à la force armée, le dialogue avec des groupes du Nord rejetant le terrorisme et la partition du Mali devait se poursuivre. Il est actuellement en cours, via la médiation burkinabé, avec un des groupes islamistes, Ansar Dine.

    Une perte de temps, selon Jean-Charles Brisard: "Ansar Dine est un point de focalisation aujourd'hui. Mais en réalité c'est un leurre d'Aqmi, la solution politique est un leurre. Il y a une problématique sécuritaire qui doit être résolue sans préalable politique. C'est aux jihadistes de déposer les armes".

    bur-stb/mrb/sba

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


    0 0

    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Kenya, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan (Republic of), Sudan (the), Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania (the)

    HIGHLIGHTS

    • Heavy rains to continue across region
    • Start of deyr rains results in flooding in central Somali Region of Ethiopia
    • Great Lakes: aid operation is “effective but not sufficient”
    • Insecurity plagues areas of Kenya
    • Plans for polio vaccinations begin; thousands of children still at risk in Somalia
    • U.N. Security Council extends Somalia peacekeeping force
    • Hepatitis E confirmed in Yida, South Sudan
    • Suspected yellow fever outbreak in Darfur
    • Uganda struggles to bring Marburg outbreak under control

    0 0

    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Malawi, United States of America (the)

    LILONGWE – The United States Agency for International Development/Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) has contributed food valued at US$14.1 million (MK 4.23 billion) to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to help assist Malawians facing food shortages due to crop failure and high food prices.

    The in-kind contribution of fortified blended food, known as Super Cereal, vegetable oil and pulses from USAID/FFP will allow WFP to meet the food needs of more than 1.6 million people for five months.

    “The U.S. Government has administered over US$206 million in Food for Peace and Food for Education funds and food commodities in Malawi since 1961,” said USAID Malawi Mission Director Doug Arbuckle. “This assistance brings hope and nourishment to millions in communities across Malawi in an effort to offset hunger and malnutrition resulting from natural disasters, droughts, and food insecurity.”

    Prolonged dry spells and rising food prices have left many people across southern and central Malawi struggling to get enough food this year. The WFP operation is currently assisting nearly 700,000 beneficiaries in nine districts (Machinga, Chikhwawa, Nsanje, Balaka, Blantyre, Neno, Ntecheu, Phalombe and Zomba). It will be scaled up during coming months to reach 1.6 million people during the January-to-March lean season in all 15 affected districts.

    “We appreciate the swift support by USAID to the people of Malawi at this critical time,” says WFP Country Director Abdoulaye Diop.

    The USAID-contributed commodities will be distributed alongside maize contributed by the Government of Malawi from the Strategic Grain Reserve for the relief operation as an initial response targeting the most affected areas.

    “WFP welcomes the initial release of 25,000 metric tons of maize by the Government of Malawi and looks forward to more support from our partners to meet the complete requirements of the operation,” Diop said.

    WFP requires US$15.4 million to cover the immediate needs of the affected population during the forthcoming lean season.


    0 0

    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Djibouti

    La crise continue pour les éleveurs de la frontière sud et les ménages urbains

    PRINCIPAUX MESSAGES

    • Près de 70.000 personnes dans les zones rurales se trouvent à des niveaux d’insécurité alimentaire de Stress (IPC phase 2) ou de Crise (IPC phase 3), et dans de nombreuses zones du Nord-ouest et du Sud-est le déficit alimentaire des ménages est compensé par les programmes d’aide alimentaire du PAM.

    • Selon le scénario prévu pour la période allant d’Octobre 2012 à Mars 2013, les ménages de la zone pastorale du Nord-ouest maintiendront un niveau d’insécurité alimentaire de Stress (IPC phase 2), grâce à une aide alimentaire continue et une productivité améliorée de l’élevage. Bien que les pluies de Karan/Karma aient été généralement favorables, la dépendance des populations de l’aide alimentaire reste élevée et plus de 60 pour cent des sources d’alimentation des ménages proviennent encore de l’aide alimentaire.

    • Dans la zone de moyens d’existence pastorale du Sud-est frontalier, les ménages peuvent à peine satisfaire leurs besoins alimentaires minimaux même avec un épuisement accéléré de leurs moyens d’existence et l’adoption de stratégies d’adaptation non durables telles que la vente de charbon de bois. On prévoit que les ménages de cette zone resteront au niveau de crise (IPC phase 3) pendant toute la période des prévisions. Par contre, on prévoit que les ménages de la zone d’existence pastorale du Centre et de la zone du Sud-est routier resteront à un niveau d’insécurité alimentaire de Stress (IPC phase 2) pendant la période des prévisions.

    • Dans la zone urbaine de Djibouti, l’augmentation de l’insécurité alimentaire est accentuée par le prix élevé des produits de consommation de base, en une période de l’année où les dépenses sont élevées. Les ménages urbains pauvres resteront à des niveaux d’insécurité alimentaire de crise jusqu’à la fin de l’année et reviendront à des niveaux de stress de janvier à mars, lorsque les dépenses non alimentaires des ménages suivent une baisse saisonnière.


    0 0

    Source: SAACID
    Country: Somalia

    Highlight This Month: Capacity Building

    The CTC Programme in Mogadishu became operational in September of 2009, and over the last 3 years has developed significant technical capacity. The programme was initially designed using Valid’s CTC approach, and has been customized over time with the integration of UNICEF’s IYCF, EPI, and Nutrition, Health and Hygiene Promotion (NHHP) modules. The technical capacity of the programme currently consists of a team of 23 individuals that have received training as trainers (ToTs) and are now certified in the following specializations:

    • 9 ToTs in OTP/SFP by Valid International;
    • 5 ToTs in Community Mobilization for CTC/CMAM by Valid;
    • 4 ToTs in Stabilization Centre (SC) Management by UNICEF;
    • 2 ToTs in IYCF Counselling by UNICEF;
    • 2 ToTs in NHHP by UNICEF; and
    • 1 ToT in EPI by UNICEF

    With this team, led by a recently appointed Training Manager, SAACID has begun a full-time training regime that provides training for all new staff in the CTC approach to community management of acute malnutrition, specialized training in the above for more advanced nurses, and quarterly refresher training for all staff and outreach workers. This month alone 21 nurses were trained to become IYCF counsellors, 550 outreach workers received refresher training and training on the importance of breastfeeding and immunizations, and 68 site support staff received refresher training and training on age identification techniques.


    0 0

    Source: AlertNet
    Country: United Republic of Tanzania (the)

    By Kizito Makoye

    DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AlertNet) — Changing weather patterns in Tanzania have caused a rising wave of migration from rural to urban areas, with thousands of youths flocking into Dar es Salaam, the largest city, in search of work.

    Read the full report on AlertNet.


    0 0

    Throughout October, Belet Weyne flood affected people received assistance in the form of food and water with the interventions reaching an estimated 18,000 households affected and displaced across the district. According to the flood task force, the situation is currently under control with limited gaps in sanitation requirements.

    Country: Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Yemen
    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

    0 0

    Source: Inter Press Service
    Country: Senegal

    By Souleymane Faye

    DAKAR, Nov 12 2012 (IPS) - The residents of five villages in the Boyard Valley, in southwestern Senegal, are freeing themselves from “the tyranny of imported rice” by stepping up local production of this important staple food.

    “Agricultural production has been intensified here for several years now, thanks to the revival of rice farming,” Marie Sagne told IPS proudly.

    Farmers in Sagne’s home village, Boyard Ndiodiome, had stopped growing rice altogether, as soil fertility was compromised by rising salinity. They were able to begin planting rice again thanks to work carried out by the Project to Support Local Small-Scale Irrigation (PAPIL), financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

    PAPIL built an anti-salt dam in the village, restoring the productivity of many of the fields which had fallen into disuse. Since 2006, PAPIL has also been providing local farmers with quality seeds, fertiliser and technical training, in collaboration with its partners, the National Agency for Rural and Agricultural Advice (ANCAR) and the Regional Office for Rural Development (DRDR) in Fatick, the regional capital.

    Working together, these agencies have thoroughly modernised farming techniques in the valley. For example, the random planting of rice seedlings has been abandoned in favour of planting them in orderly rows. Farmers have also learned how to construct dikes to retain water for their fields.

    “Producers have taken the new techniques on board and we are supporting them,” explained Jean-Paul Bampouky, head of DRDR in Fatick.

    PAPIL also established the Mbin Jam Inter-village Committee for the Management of the Boyard Valley – Mbin Jam means “the home of well-being” in Sereer, a local language. This committee, led by Ibrahima Faye, includes 420 rice farmers from across the five villages – Boyard Ndiodiome, Boyard Tock, Sing Boyard, Ndiagamba and Dack. Eighty percent of its members are women.

    Each member of Mbin Jam contributes 5,000 CFA francs per year (equivalent to ten dollars), which entitles them to seed and fertiliser for their fields. The total area planted with rice in the valley rose swiftly, from 10 hectares in 2006 to around 25 hectares in 2007.

    “In 2004, we were harvesting a bit less than 500 kilos of rice from each hectare planted with rice. Thanks to the technical training from our partners, we were at 3.5 tonnes per hectare by 2006, and four tonnes per hectare in 2008,” Faye told IPS.

    “For several years now, some households here have not had to eat rice imported from overseas or grown elsewhere in Senegal as the local harvest meets all their needs.”

    Mbin Jam member Maï Niakh is proud of this achievement. “We eat local rice for 12 months of the year,” she said.

    But Faye said not all of the group’s members have been quite so successful. “Other farmers were unable to grow enough to meet their household needs, though when we managed to get rid of wild rice (a perennial relative which competes with the rice planted by farmers), we boosted productivity enormously.”

    And, he added, in 2011 a lack of water prevented the crop from ripening properly, and the 23 hectares planted by Mbin Jam’s members produced only around 250 kilos per hectare.

    The 140 tonne crop from the previous year, harvested from 35 hectares, is a more typical yield. But as the rice reached maturity in mid-October, Faye feared the average yield in 2012 would be affected by the group’s renewed struggles to control wild rice and insect pests.

    Mamadou Camara, head of PAPIL’s regional office in Fatick, was more confident. “Our forecast for 2012 is (a yield of) between four and six tonnes per hectare in the Boyard Ndiodiome valley,” he said.

    “(Local) self-sufficiency in rice has nearly been achieved,” Camara added. “Our major rehabilitation projects for 2013 will consolidate this by permitting the planting of up to 200 additional hectares.”

    Mbin Jam is eagerly awaiting the building of ten kilometres of rural roads in the valley, the construction of a warehouse for storage and processing, and the purchase of a tractor by PAPIL in 2013.

    In light of strong results, AfDB, which funded PAPIL from 2006-2010, decided to extend its support for the programme through 2013, said Camara. The Islamic Development Bank will continue to finance the project until 2015.

    “What we’re still lacking is agricultural equipment,” said Dack farmer Mame Mor Ndiaye. “When we get a tractor, we’ll produce not just enough rice to eat, but also a surplus to sell.”


    0 0

    Source: Government of Ethiopia
    Country: Ethiopia

    Addis Ababa November 12/2012 Various development projects are underway in pastoral areas of the country with nearly one billion Birr, Minister of Federal Affairs, Dr. Shiferaw Teklemariam said. The Pastoralist Affairs Standing Committee of the House of Peoples' Representatives evaluated plan for 2005EC. Speaking on the occasion Dr. Shiferaw said the projects are underway in four regions namely in Somali, Afar, Oromia and South Ethiopia Peoples' States. The Minister said the projects significantly contribute to improve the livelihoods of pastoralists. He said the projects are in the areas of basin development, capacity building and also voluntary villagization program, among others. Standing Committee Vice-Chairperson, LijAlem Wolde on his part stressed the need to undertake activities in environmental protection, ensuring the benefits of women and youth and also prevention of HIV, according the Information and Communication Directorate of the House.


    0 0

    Source: Oxfam
    Country: Somalia

    November 9th, 2012 by Jesse Kinyanjui

    In Somalia, one of the most difficult and dangerous places for aid agencies to work, the conflict has left many communities hard to reach. Mobile phones offer an innovative way of educating such communities with life-saving information.

    Oxfam and our partner Hijra started a pilot project to provide public health information to people’s mobile phones, timed to coincide with the peak cholera season, when many displaced families living in crowded camps in Mogadishu are particularly at risk. Despite the many challenges in Somalia, there is good network coverage and phones are cheap and available. Many Somalis use phones to receive remittances from relatives overseas.

    A messaging centre was set up in Hijra’s office, capable of sending 10,000 messages an hour – as long as there is power. The messages can be received on any ordinary phone. 10,000 people took part and received five “sessions” of messages explaining cholera prevention and control.

    A recent evaluation of the pilot phase found notable impact among the youth, who are most keen to use new technology to connect to the outside world. Young people were talking about the project at school, and said it was seen as “cool” to get involved and learn about cholera in this new way. Peer pressure got many new youth involved.

    The main expense was setting up the platform and software. But the software can be changed to fit the context, local language and subject matter without an IT expert, so programme staff are able to manage it. The sessions cost about 60 cents. Although many people have phones, not everyone has credit – so users are refunded $1. Just like traditional public health campaigns, (where staff and volunteers go out into communities to engage face-to-face) the software is interactive, allowing people to text questions for staff to reply.

    Feedback has been mostly positive. Unlike traditional campaigns, people said they liked being able to store the messages to look at in their own time – particularly women who were at home looking after children. One said it was like “attending a workshop in your own home.” People remembered the text messages more than radio bulletins (which cannot be saved) or posters.

    One man said he made up an Oral Rehydration Supplement (ORS) for his sick child after referring back to the text messages. One woman had wanted to use chlorine but did not remember the dosage and had to refer back to her text message.

    There were many recommendations for us to take forward. Youth said they would like to receive “private” information about HIV/AIDS and sex education, as well as health songs as downloadable ringtones. Other suggestions included using e-vouchers for aid distributions, and community feedback via text to help us increase our accountability. While the youth liked to receive text messages, older generations – particularly women – preferred a real voice, so a Voicemail component was recommended.

    Mobile phones are not a perfect solution on their own, but done in coordination with traditional methods they have so far proved successful. Traditional public health promotion may be more participatory, but youth are increasingly engaged with new technologies and, in areas where access is not guaranteed (whether due to security or weather), the mobile phone based platform offers a new way for Oxfam to engage with communities.

    A second phase of this project is now underway, comprising a fully fledged mobile phone Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (mWASH) platform, with the capability to undertake rapid assessments, distribute non food items (NFIs), conduct community education, and conduct monitoring.


    0 0

    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: World, Brazil, Cambodia, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Thailand, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania (the), Zambia

    New FAO report focuses on investments in developing countries, urging caution on large-scale land acquisitions

    13 Novembre 2012, Rome - International investments that give local farmers an active role and leave them in control of their land have the most positive effects on local economies and social development, according to a new FAO report published today.

    The report, Trends and Impacts of Foreign Investment in Developing Country Agriculture, emphasizes that investment projects that combine the strengths of the investor (capital, management and marketing expertise, and technology) with those of local farmers (labour, land, local knowledge) are most successful.

    Business models that leave farmers in control of their land give them an incentive to invest in land improvements and also favor sustainable development. The publication offers a number of case studies on the impact of foreign investment in Africa and Asia, including large-scale land deals often referred to as land grabbing.

    "While a number of studies document the negative impacts of large-scale land acquisition in developing countries, there is much less evidence of its benefits to the host country, especially in the short-term and at local level," says the report. "For investments involving large-scale land acquisition in countries where land rights are unclear and insecure, the disadvantages often outweigh the few benefits to the local community," it notes.

    The report advises that "acquisition of already-utilized land to establish new large farms should be avoided and other forms of investment should be considered."

    Jobs creation in doubt

    In large-scale land investments the main type of benefit appears to lie in employment generation, but there are questions as to the net gains and sustainability of the jobs created. "In several projects the number of jobs was lower than what was initially announced ... and in some projects even low-skilled worker jobs were mainly taken up by non-locals".

    Foreign investment in agricultural land in developing countries has increased markedly over the past decade, according to the report. The lands acquired tend to be among the best available, with good soil quality and irrigation.

    But since a majority of foreign investment projects aim at export markets or the production of biofuels, "they may pose a threat to food security in low-income food-deficit countries, especially if they replace food crops that were destined for the local market."

    Potential adverse impacts include: the displacement of smallholders; the loss of grazing land for pastoralists; the loss of income and livelihoods for rural people; and degradation of natural resources such as land, water and biodiversity.

    Alternatives to land acquisition include contract farming deals, outgrower schemes giving farmers a share of the capital, and joint ventures between investing companies and farmer cooperatives. Inclusive business models require effective local organizations that also represent groups who are often marginalized such as women, young people, landless farmers and migrant workers.

    National laws and institutions are key

    National laws and institutions governing agricultural investment and land tenure are critical in determining whether such investments have positive or negative effects, the report says.

    Countries can obtain guidance from some international agreements such as the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security adopted in May 2012 by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

    Highly pertinent too are the Voluntary Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment that respect rights, livelihoods and resources jointly proposed by FAO, IFAD, UNCTAD and the World Bank. In addition, the CFS is about to start consultations for the development and broader ownership of principles for responsible agricultural investment that enhance food security and nutrition.

    While agricultural investment is the most important and effective strategy for poverty reduction in rural areas, "the challenge for policy makers, development agencies and local communities is to maximize the benefits of foreign agricultural investment while minimizing its risks," the report says.

    Foreign direct investment on the rise

    FAO estimates that investment to the tune of more than $80 billion a year is needed to keep pace with population and income growth, and feed more than 9 billion people in 2050.

    Although Foreign Direct Investment has risen significantly, especially in Asia and Latin America over the past decade, only a small share goes to agriculture -- less than five percent in sub-Saharan Africa. This represents an opportunity, however, given the high potential for growth, particularly in the light of currently high international food prices.

    "It is important that any international investment should bring development benefits to the receiving country...if those investments are to be ‘win-win' rather than 'neo-colonialism'", stresses David Hallam, Director of FAO's Trade and Markets Division in a foreword to the report.

    [PR 12-127 EN]


    0 0

    Source: Kenya Red Cross
    Country: Kenya

    One year after the Kenyans for Kenya Drought Initiative began, one of the areas, Walda Location in Sololo District, Moyale is already reaping the fruits of the Initiative. The Initiatives mid to long-term programming was to focus on Integrated Food Security, Water and Sanitation and Health with a specific objective of ensuring resilience to the impacts of drought for affected populations in Turkana North, East Pokot and Moyale.

    The integrated food security and livelihood project in Walda was aimed at improving the food security situation of an estimated 2,100 people through irrigation projects, greenhouse farming and training of farmers. A total of four boreholes yielding 60 cubic meters per hour have been sunk.

    A water pan as well as a dam for water storage was also sunk as well as delivery and installation of irrigation systems done. 60 acres of land was also identified for farming. The seedbeds were also set up. One year later, the residents of Walda are already recording bumper harvests. The key crops that are already being harvested include Tomatoes, buttercups, kales and spinach.

    The residents are all smiles as they sell their farm produces in markets that include Marsabit, Moyale and Isiolo. Cooperatives have been established to ensure that the residents who have changed their lifestyle from pastoralist to also include farming learn how to manage their funds as well as ensure that their produce gets to the market.


    0 0

    Source: IRIN
    Country: Senegal

    KONO, 13 November 2012 (IRIN) - On 17 November Sierra Leone will head to the polls as President Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People’s Congress (APC) and his main rival Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) face off in what will be the country’s third election since the end of an 11-year civil war.

    The current government has received praise in some quarters for attracting foreign investment, particularly in the mining sector, as well as for improving the country’s infrastructure, and notably introducing free health care to certain vulnerable groups.

    But the president also faces criticism for failing to tackle extreme levels of poverty - 66 percent, according to the most recent World Bank statistics, and high unemployment rates across much of the country. His term in office has been marred by accusations of corruption levelled against members of his government, including Vice-President Sam Sumana.

    In the diamond-mining town of Kono in eastern Sierra Leone previous elections have been contested fiercely, partly because of the ethnic mix in the town: all of the country’s ethnic groups are represented in Kono after decades of migration driven by the lure of the area’s diamond deposits.

    Income from these diamonds helped fuel Sierra Leone’s civil war, benefiting mainly Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels but also soldiers with the national army.

    Youth unemployment

    In a small café on the dusty main road, young men sit sipping sweet tea and discussing the upcoming elections and the state of the country. Along with around 70 percent of youths in Sierra Leone, Rabieu Amedou is unemployed. “The worst problem here is that there are no jobs for us. That is why these people are causing trouble in the streets,” he said. Last month clashes between the two main parties left several wounded in the town [there are no specific, unpoliticized figures on this].

    The government has introduced measures to reduce youth unemployment, including creating a national youth commission, set up in 2009 to improve youth skill sets, job opportunities and engagement in local governance, but these initiatives have not solved any problems on a wide scale.

    Even for those with steady employment, poverty is a fact of life for most of Kono’s residents despite rapid economic growth. This year the country’s economy will grow by up to 21.3 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund, yet this wealth has yet to be felt by most ordinary Sierra Leoneans.

    Sia and her niece Tenema work in a small corrugated-iron shelter beside the main road, selling small bags of groundnuts for 10 US cents, and peppermint sweets for two US cents. “The government has done nothing for us,” said Sia, who plans to vote for the opposition on Saturday . “There is so much inflation, and we have to pay a lot of tax.”

    Ethnic dimension

    Another common criticism of the current APC government is that they have no time for supporters of opposition parties and members of alternative ethnic groups, including Mendes and Konos. “We are governed by Temnes and Limbas,” complains Sia. In past elections the two main political parties have relied heavily on ethnic support bases, with the Mendes from the south and east voting for the SLPP and the largely northern Temnes voting for the incumbent APC.

    “The APC just look out for themselves,” said Jatu Kanu, who owns a restaurant opposite a large mosque in the centre of town. She says her brother was removed from his job as a registrar for the national Pharmacy Board because he was a Mende, and a supporter of the SLPP.

    “Koroma is tribalistic,” says another bystander, Francis Biango, who feels the government has not paid enough attention to Kono District.

    Corruption

    Francis, like many here, points out that while thousands of kilometres of smooth new tarmac roads have been laid all over the country, the east has been excluded and the main road to Kono remains rutted and chronically pot-holed, becoming almost impassable without a 4WD during the rainy season.

    Some opposition supporters believe politicians are becoming rich off the proceeds of Sierra Leone’s extensive mineral resources, while the country continues to languish in 180th place out of 187 in the 2011 UN Human Development Index. Most notably, Vice-President Sam Sumana has been faced with a string of allegations of corruption around illicit timber deals. “The politicians enrich themselves to the detriment of us impoverished people. We will never, ever tolerate that,” said another resident of Kono, Mohammed Bangura.

    Yet despite the challenges of everyday life in Kono, many here argue that development cannot be achieved overnight and point to the economic growth achieved during the last five years.

    Hasan works in the diamond mines around the outskirts of town. He does not like digging for diamonds as it does not pay well, and he hopes to get another job soon but he says he will vote for President Koroma on the basis of his performance so far.

    Infrastructural improvements

    Perhaps the most of visible of the government’s achievements are the improvements in infrastructure, including what the APC refers to as “the largest road rehabilitation, reconstruction and construction ever [in Sierra Leone]”. Ibrahim Kamara, 38, left Sierra Leone during the civil war, returning to the country in 2011 after 18 years away. He now builds roads, “Ernest [Koromo] is bringing development to this country,” he told IRIN.

    In 2007 many Kono residents had no electricity, “Now we have power… So I will vote for the president,” said Kumba, sitting in front of a small shop in the village of Yengema, a few kilometres outside Kono.

    Under APC’s current term, a large hydro-electric dam has been built at Bumbuna in the north of the country. Several other smaller power plants have also been built, significantly improving electricity access.

    Health

    The president has also earned acclaim over health sector reforms, including introducing free health care for children under five, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

    Despite shortages of drugs and trained medical personnel, the initiative has contributed to the reduction of child and maternal mortality rates. In 2006 Sierra Leone had the world’s worst under-five mortality rates, at 283 out of 1,000 children dying, and has now improved to fourth worst, with 174 deaths per 1,000.

    Sierra Leone’s recovery has been slow and painstaking, yet progress has been made. Adorning the APC’s headquarters in Freetown in large red and white print is President Koroma’s campaign slogan, which appeals for patience from the Sierra Leonean electorate as they prepare to cast their votes. “Monkey Still Working” it reads, “Let Baboon Wait”.

    tt/aj/cb


    0 0

    Source: IRIN
    Country: Cameroon

    YAOUNDE, 13 November 2012 (IRIN) - Scientists and farmers’ associations have high hopes that a variety of cassava could help build their resilience to droughts and food insecurity.

    Cameroon’s National Development Programme for Roots and Tubers (PNDRT) has distributed seedlings of a new high-yield, pest-resistant variety of cassava to 1,000 smallholder farmers - most of them women - all over the country with a view to buying back cuttings from them to multiply distribution in coming years.

    While regular cassava varieties produce 9-10 tons per hectare, these improved varieties can yield as much as 20-35, according to Rachid Hanna, country representative with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and PNDRT. The two institutions have been working since 2005 to develop these new species, with backing from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

    Cassava is the second most important source of carbohydrates in sub-Saharan African, after maize, and is eaten by around 500 million people globally every day, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Every year 280 million tons are produced, with half the supply coming from Africa.

    The crop is seen as key to boosting food security amid climate change Regular varieties are considered by Cameroonians to be a “crop of last resort” as they can grow on poor soils and in difficult climatic conditions, and require little to no fertilizers.

    About 80 percent of Cameroonian households, most of them subsistence farmers, consume cassava on a daily basis, though a 2010 study by Plant Foods for Human Nutrition indicated that consumption of cassava is a risk factor for inadequate vitamin A, zinc and/or iron intake.

    Despite this, very little research on cassava varieties to date has taken place in Africa. The IITA is trying to change this, having introduced new varieties across the tropical cassava belt.

    The World Food Programme has an ongoing programme to deliver food to 200,000 Cameroonians in the far north, who have faced crop failure, livestock losses and high food prices that have barred them from being able to access food. Over half of families in northern Cameroon live in poverty.

    “We see it as a new dawn for cassava farmers in Cameroon,” said Hanna, adding that the new variety should improve the nutrition and livelihoods of farmers. Several varieties have been developed to fit one or more of the country’s five ecological ones.

    The new species is low in cyanide content (cassava leaves and tubers contain cyanide which disappears to trace levels when properly processed); is more resistant to drought as well as other climates including very hot temperatures; and matures in 12, not 18-26 months. In studies over the past three years, these new strains have doubled harvest sizes.

    Some 2.5 million tons of cassava is grown in Cameroon each year. Most of it is turned into flour; the rest is fermented to make liquor, to feed animals, and increasingly processed into biofuel (ethanol).

    Downsides

    But early-maturing varieties can also have a downside - they rot rapidly when in the ground, which can cause farmers to abandon species en masse.

    Felicitas Atanga, head of programmes with FAO in Cameroon, warned that no matter how high-yield the seeds, they have to also produce cassava that tastes good - as in, is sweet rather than bitter - to be picked up on a mass scale.

    Mbairanodji André, controller of production, transformation and post-harvest for PNDRT, told IRIN they are working hard to explain to the farmers involved that they must start to harvest at nine months, no later.

    To really add value to smallholders lives, each stage of the production process needs to be improved, said farmers, including helping them get their product to market quickly.

    Cassava does not store well beyond a few days, as it is 70 percent moisture, yet just a tiny minority of Cameroon’s roads are paved, making it difficult to get products from rural to urban areas.

    Experts agree that a holistic view must be taken, but large-scale infrastructure development has not yet prioritized the needs of small farmers.

    For André the next priority is processing to turn cassava into a far more lucrative cash crop. “The next stage for PNDRT or the government is to move cassava from being just a food security solution to processing it in a way that it can be used for industrial purposes,” he told IRIN.

    mn/aj/cb


    0 0

    Source: Guardian
    Country: Niger (the)

    Government wants cash – and ideas – to increase food security through diverse seeds, milk transfers and better land use

    The Niger government is urging the international community to invest millions of dollars in the country's programme to increase food security and build its agricultural capabilities.

    Read the Full Report

    Watch the Video


    0 0

    Source: AlertNet
    Country: Malawi

    By Karen Sanje

    BLANTYRE, Malawi (AlertNet) – Farmers across Malawi, struggling to harvest sufficient staple crops of maize and rice in changing weather conditions, are turning to crops they had never previously considered for food.

    Read the Full Report


    0 0

    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    11/13/2012 11:51 GMT

    PARIS, 13 nov 2012 (AFP) - La force militaire internationale au Mali pourra être déployée dès que l'Onu donnera son feu vert à une intervention armée pour chasser les groupes islamistes du nord du pays, a affirmé mardi le président de la Commission de la Cédéao, Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo.

    "La force est tout-à-fait prête. Lorsque l'Onu donnera son feu vert, le déploiement pourra commencer immédiatement", a affirmé M. Ouédraogo à des journalistes en marge d'une table-ronde sur le Niger à Paris.

    Dimanche, les chefs d'Etat ouest-africains, réunis à Abuja, se sont mis d'accord sur l'envoi au Mali d'une force de 3.300 soldats afin de reconquérir le nord du pays occupé depuis avril par des groupes islamistes armés.

    Ce plan doit être transmis à l'Onu avant la fin novembre, via l'Union africaine. Le président en exercice de la Commission économiques des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao), l'Ivoirien Alassane Ouattara, a dit espérer que le Conseil de sécurité donnerait son feu vert à l'intervention à la fin du mois ou début décembre.

    Interrogé sur les délais nécessaires à la constitution de cette force, dont la composition reste encore floue, M. Ouédraogo a affirmé qu'"on n'a pas besoin de déployer toute la force en même temps".

    "Ce n'est pas une guerre classique. Il y aura des opérations spéciales. Ca se fera par phases", a-t-il dit.

    Au lendemain du sommet d'Abuja, plusieurs experts avaient mis en doute la capacité de l'Afrique de l'Ouest à déployer une force avant plusieurs mois.

    "Il y a eu beaucoup de progrès ces dernières semaines en terme de cohérence internationale", avait souligné Gilles Yabi, d'International Crisis group (ICG) à Dakar, "mais nous ne sommes cependant pas à la veille d'une intervention qui se décline dans la durée", même après accord de l'ONU associée à sa préparation.

    Mardi, le ministre français de la Défense Jean-Yves Le Drian a affirmé que les pays ouest-africains voulaient "aller vite".

    Des ministres de cinq pays européens (France, Allemagne, Pologne, Espagne, Italie) discuteront jeudi à Paris d'une mission européenne d'entraînement des forces africaines, qui pourrait mobiliser au moins 200 militaires, encadrés par des "éléments de protection".

    "Nous avons demandé un soutien aérien. Tous nos partenaires, la France entre autres, ont promis leur soutien", a assuré mardi M. Ouédraogo.

    Un peu plus tôt, le ministre français de la Défense avait pourtant écarté l'éventualité de frappes aériennes : "Quand je dis pas de troupes au sol, ça veut aussi dire pas de troupes en l'air", avait-il résumé. "Que nous puissions apporter du renseignement, c'est autre chose", avait-il ajouté.

    cf-alc/kat/ej

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


    0 0

    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Chad

    FAITS SAILLANTS

    • L’initiative AGIR-Sahel propose une feuille de route pour une meilleure coordination de l'aide humanitaire et de l'aide au développement.

    • Le CERF a approuvé $3 million pour la réponse aux inondations.

    • La faiblesse de la couverture sanitaire ainsi que certains éléments d’origine socio-économique ont des conséquences sur la chronicité de la malnutrition dans le Salamat.


    0 0

    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Yemen

    Throughout October, Belet Weyne flood affected people received assistance in the form of food and water with the interventions reaching an estimated 18,000 households affected and displaced across the district. According to the flood task force, the situation is currently under control with limited gaps in sanitation requirements.


    0 0

    Source: Inter Press Service
    Country: Senegal

    By Souleymane Faye

    DAKAR, Nov 12 2012 (IPS) - The residents of five villages in the Boyard Valley, in southwestern Senegal, are freeing themselves from “the tyranny of imported rice” by stepping up local production of this important staple food.

    “Agricultural production has been intensified here for several years now, thanks to the revival of rice farming,” Marie Sagne told IPS proudly.

    Farmers in Sagne’s home village, Boyard Ndiodiome, had stopped growing rice altogether, as soil fertility was compromised by rising salinity. They were able to begin planting rice again thanks to work carried out by the Project to Support Local Small-Scale Irrigation (PAPIL), financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

    PAPIL built an anti-salt dam in the village, restoring the productivity of many of the fields which had fallen into disuse. Since 2006, PAPIL has also been providing local farmers with quality seeds, fertiliser and technical training, in collaboration with its partners, the National Agency for Rural and Agricultural Advice (ANCAR) and the Regional Office for Rural Development (DRDR) in Fatick, the regional capital.

    Working together, these agencies have thoroughly modernised farming techniques in the valley. For example, the random planting of rice seedlings has been abandoned in favour of planting them in orderly rows. Farmers have also learned how to construct dikes to retain water for their fields.

    “Producers have taken the new techniques on board and we are supporting them,” explained Jean-Paul Bampouky, head of DRDR in Fatick.

    PAPIL also established the Mbin Jam Inter-village Committee for the Management of the Boyard Valley – Mbin Jam means “the home of well-being” in Sereer, a local language. This committee, led by Ibrahima Faye, includes 420 rice farmers from across the five villages – Boyard Ndiodiome, Boyard Tock, Sing Boyard, Ndiagamba and Dack. Eighty percent of its members are women.

    Each member of Mbin Jam contributes 5,000 CFA francs per year (equivalent to ten dollars), which entitles them to seed and fertiliser for their fields. The total area planted with rice in the valley rose swiftly, from 10 hectares in 2006 to around 25 hectares in 2007.

    “In 2004, we were harvesting a bit less than 500 kilos of rice from each hectare planted with rice. Thanks to the technical training from our partners, we were at 3.5 tonnes per hectare by 2006, and four tonnes per hectare in 2008,” Faye told IPS.

    “For several years now, some households here have not had to eat rice imported from overseas or grown elsewhere in Senegal as the local harvest meets all their needs.”

    Mbin Jam member Maï Niakh is proud of this achievement. “We eat local rice for 12 months of the year,” she said.

    But Faye said not all of the group’s members have been quite so successful. “Other farmers were unable to grow enough to meet their household needs, though when we managed to get rid of wild rice (a perennial relative which competes with the rice planted by farmers), we boosted productivity enormously.”

    And, he added, in 2011 a lack of water prevented the crop from ripening properly, and the 23 hectares planted by Mbin Jam’s members produced only around 250 kilos per hectare.

    The 140 tonne crop from the previous year, harvested from 35 hectares, is a more typical yield. But as the rice reached maturity in mid-October, Faye feared the average yield in 2012 would be affected by the group’s renewed struggles to control wild rice and insect pests.

    Mamadou Camara, head of PAPIL’s regional office in Fatick, was more confident. “Our forecast for 2012 is (a yield of) between four and six tonnes per hectare in the Boyard Ndiodiome valley,” he said.

    “(Local) self-sufficiency in rice has nearly been achieved,” Camara added. “Our major rehabilitation projects for 2013 will consolidate this by permitting the planting of up to 200 additional hectares.”

    Mbin Jam is eagerly awaiting the building of ten kilometres of rural roads in the valley, the construction of a warehouse for storage and processing, and the purchase of a tractor by PAPIL in 2013.

    In light of strong results, AfDB, which funded PAPIL from 2006-2010, decided to extend its support for the programme through 2013, said Camara. The Islamic Development Bank will continue to finance the project until 2015.

    “What we’re still lacking is agricultural equipment,” said Dack farmer Mame Mor Ndiaye. “When we get a tractor, we’ll produce not just enough rice to eat, but also a surplus to sell.”


older | 1 | .... | 23 | 24 | (Page 25) | 26 | 27 | .... | 728 | newer