Articles on this Page
- 11/15/12--02:23: _Niger (the): Bullet...
- 11/15/12--03:43: _Somalia: Reshaping ...
- 11/15/12--07:14: _Guatemala: Cruz Roj...
- 11/15/12--08:32: _Malawi: Malawi Food...
- 11/15/12--09:08: _Chad: Tchad : Revue...
- 11/15/12--09:27: _Somalia: Interview:...
- 11/15/12--09:51: _Somalia: Bustling s...
- 11/15/12--10:01: _Zambia: African far...
- 11/15/12--12:20: _Kenya: Drought farm...
- 11/15/12--12:31: _Mali: La guerre est...
- 11/15/12--12:45: _Burkina Faso: Burki...
- 11/15/12--13:11: _Mali: AU urges Mali...
- 11/15/12--14:04: _Syrian Arab Republi...
- 11/15/12--18:39: _World: African Jour...
- 11/15/12--18:40: _World: Cooperatives...
- 11/15/12--18:59: _Kenya: Resource sha...
- 11/15/12--22:27: _Mali: Connecting Hu...
- 11/15/12--22:43: _World: Teach a Woma...
- 11/16/12--00:49: _United Republic of ...
- 11/16/12--02:11: _Mali: Special Human...
- 11/15/12--02:23: Niger (the): Bulletin humanitaire Niger Numéro 45, 15 novembre 2012
- 11/15/12--03:43: Somalia: Reshaping the Somali police to suit the new constitution
- Cruz Roja Española, a través de su Fondo de Emergencias, contribuye a apoyar a los países afectados por el reciente huracán Sandy o el terremoto de Guatemala para ofrecer asistencia de primera necesidad como abrigo, cobijo o suministro de agua segura.
- 11/15/12--08:32: Malawi: Malawi Food Security Outlook - October 2012 to March 2013
- 11/15/12--09:08: Chad: Tchad : Revue de Presse Hebdomadaire, du 9 au15 novembre 2012
- 11/15/12--09:27: Somalia: Interview: Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Bowden
- 11/15/12--09:51: Somalia: Bustling seaport a sign of hope in a transitioning Somalia
- 11/15/12--10:01: Zambia: African farmers to benefit from $7.8 million grant
- 11/15/12--12:31: Mali: La guerre est évitable, selon Romano Prodi
- 11/15/12--12:45: Burkina Faso: Burkina Faso Price Bulletin - November 2012
- 11/15/12--13:11: Mali: AU urges Mali to get dialogue going with rebels
- 11/15/12--22:27: Mali: Connecting Humanitarians in Mali
- 11/15/12--22:43: World: Teach a Woman to Farm…And She Creates Jobs
Poor access to water and sanitation, as well as behavioral practices continue to contribute to critical levels of malnutrition in some countries
Ground operations in Niger, Chad and Mauritania reduce number of Locust; however frontline countries are still in need of external assistance
New assessment in Mali shows a 71.5 per cent increase in the number of IDPs
Security environment of aid workers in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania worsens
- Le niveau de la Komadougou continue de monter
- Menace acridienne: le Niger n’est pas hors danger
- Tillabéry: compagne pastorale déficitaire
Tsegaye Buffa, Senior Researcher, Conflict Management and Peace Building Division, ISS Nairobi Office
Recent developments in Somalia, especially the continuing victories over al-Shabaab, adoption of the new constitution, inauguration of the federal parliament and election of the head of state, have sparked hopes of peace and transformation in the country, despite the multiplicity of challenges still ahead. These developments provide momentum to institute a legitimate and effective national security infrastructure. It is thus an ideal time to reshape the Somali police force to adhere to the new constitutional dispensation. This process involves the realignment of ongoing police reform efforts and the formulation of new reform strategies based on the constitution.
The new constitution declares that ‘Somalia is a federal, sovereign, and democratic republic founded on inclusive representation of the people and a multiparty system and social justice’ (Article 1, No. 1). The constitution is believed to reflect modern democratic norms in that it enshrines fundamental human rights by guaranteeing all citizens equal rights regardless of clan or religious affiliation. Some, however, speculate that potential conflicts could limit the effective realisation of individual rights, owing to fact that the constitution is founded on the principles of Shari’ah and Islam is the state religion. There are also those who believe that the constitution is too ambitious and detached from the realities on the ground.
The democratic nature of the new constitution dictates that policing in Somalia should be democratic too. Police in a democratic society is governed by the rule of law, which values human dignity, and not by the wishes of a powerful leader or party; is publicly accountable; and is representative of the people it serves. Democratic policing requires being politically neutral; giving priority to protecting the safety and rights of individuals, groups and the general community; and providing the public with professional service that is orientated towards service delivery and not the use of force.
The Somali constitution provides a framework for the protection of fundamental human rights, the formation of representative governance structures, and the public accountability of the security forces. The ‘Principles for the Security Forces’ (Article 127) address the major issues pertinent to democratic policing. By providing for the establishment of ‘Independent Commissions’ (Chapter 10), including for human rights, anti-corruption, national security, and an ombudsman, the constitution supports the principle of public control over the police. The constitution affirms that Somalia will have federal and regional police forces (Article 127, No. 4 and 5), which further demonstrates the explicit interest in power distribution and decentralisation.
On the other hand, there is a contradiction inherent to policing in democracy that could become the most formidable dilemma Somalia faces. This relates to the conflicts between liberty and order: maintaining social order while respecting individual liberty. Democracy embraces concepts like freedom, privacy, individual rights, etc., whereas policing often incorporates functions or interventions of control, enforcement, restriction, etc. that embody the use of force and the constriction of freedoms. Accordingly, police in a democracy is required to maintain a delicate balance between advancing democratic values and maintaining a secure society, which could become even trickier considering the realities of Somalia.
Somalia has been bogged down by severe internal conflicts, remaining lawless for decades. A generation of Somalis have grown up in a conflict-ridden and lawless environment. Various communities have lived for decades mired in mutual animosity and distrust, and many individuals have benefitted from this lawlessness. Piracy and other marine crimes prevail on the Somali coast. Al-Shabaab is still in control of the greater part of the country, resorting to unconventional methods of combat to make the liberated areas unstable. Almost everyone has access to arms. The list goes on. In a nutshell, the overall situation in Somalia appears to dictate prioritising the maintenance of law and order over the exercise of democratic values. However, a failure to maintain those democratic rights guaranteed by the constitution will lead to further conflict and disorder. Hence, both requirements (maintaining a secure society through enforcing law and order, and upholding and exercising democratic values) have to be fulfilled despite the difficulties in reconciling the inherent conflicts between the two.
To this end, building police institutions that meet the requirements of policing in a democratic society alongside efforts to advance a civilised political culture will be imperative. This involves reshaping the philosophy, governance, norms and management of the police force to foster professional, politically neutral, and constitutionally legitimate practices.
First, a new ethos of policing needs to be forged that embodies basic democratic values such as the rule of law, equality before the law, and accountability to both the public and the institutions that represent the public. In this regard, it is important to develop moral and ethical standards that determine how the police functions of combating crime and maintaining order are carried out without compromising the principles of democracy and good governance. Second, police recruitment, training, leadership, remuneration, appraisal and promotion should be reshaped to promote professionalism and the institutionalisation of democratic values. Third, normative and structural frameworks that protect police leaders and officers against direct political interference should be established.
Police officers in every society are granted the powers and authority required for the effective discharge of their responsibilities, though these powers are neither infinite nor arbitrary. The police mandate to use force may tempt police officers to abuse power in their own interests as well as those of the authorities controlling them. When patronage has been entrenched in a political system, as in Somalia, it renders the principles of equality before the law and politically neutral service delivery inconceivable. The transformation of the police in Somalia thus needs to be paralleled and even preceded by general political transformation; otherwise it cannot be realistic.
The police reform should follow a carefully designed process with a clear understanding of what it entails and how it should be undertaken. Although lessons from the experiences of post-conflict police reform in many other African countries could help, there is no single best model to simply replicate. The Somali case has its own peculiarities from which detailed directions and mechanisms to reform the police should emerge. This requires a thorough analysis of the historical and emerging realities of the Somali conflict, the nature and magnitude of crimes in Somalia past and present, and the measures appropriate to resolving such crimes, taking the socio-political realities of the country into consideration. A quick fix will not work: there must be a process of careful prioritisation of the different measures needed and key steps in the entire course of the reform. Focus should be on both the long-term goal of transforming the police and the short-term need to effectively combat current crimes, and so balance ensuring security now with enhancing security in the future.
El impacto del huracán Sandy en Centroamérica y Caribe y del terremoto de Guatemala ha llevado a Cruz Roja Española a reforzar su intervención humanitaria en estos países, en estrecha colaboración con la Cruz Roja local.
La Organización, a través de su Fondo de Ayuda para Emergencias (FAE), está contribuyendo a ofrecer asistencia de primera necesidad a las familias afectadas, como abrigo, cobijo, suministro de agua segura o atención sanitaria.
Así, frente al huracán Sandy, Cruz Roja ha enviado a la Cruz Roja Cubana 15.000 euros del FAE para las primeras acciones de emergencia, además de activar el convenio de colaboración con la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) para la compra de bienes no alimentarios y láminas de zinc para proporcionar refugio (165.000 euros). En el caso de Jamaica, se han enviado también 15.000 euros del FAE para la Cruz Roja local. En República Dominicana y Haití, donde Cruz Roja Española cuenta con delegación permanente, se trabaja también en el suministro de artículos de emergencia, con la colaboración directa de los delegados españoles.
Ante el impacto del reciente terremoto que afectó a Guatemala, Cruz Roja Española también ha enviado 15.000 euros del FAE para primeros gastos operacionales y se espera la activación del convenio con AECID por un monto de 100.000 euros para atender a 710 familias (kits de alimentos, kits higiénicos, mantas y filtros purificadores de agua)
Más allá de Centroamérica y Caribe, Cruz Roja Española mantiene actualmente distintas operaciones de emergencia en marcha, como las Inundaciones en Senegal, donde se envió ayuda desde el Centro Logístico de Ayuda Humanitaria en Canarias (mantas, kits de higiene, mosquiteras y toldos para 500 familias). Además, con motivo de los movimientos de población en la frontera de Ruanda y las lluvias, se realizó otro envío desde el Centro Logístico de Canarias para 600 familias (mosquiteras, kits de cocina y mantas). Los movimientos de población comenzaron en el mes de abril por enfrentamientos violentos en la provincia de Kivi del norte (RD. Congo) y ha ocasionado la entrada en Ruanda de más de 13.000 refugiados.
Fondo de Ayuda para Emergencias (FAE)
Llegar en las primeras 24 horas después de un desastre o catástrofe es vital para salvar vidas. La capacidad de reacción depende de la preparación previa. El Fondo de Ayuda para Emergencias es el dispositivo de Cruz Roja Española para hacer frente a las catástrofes y movilizar de forma inmediata los recursos y la ayuda necesaria –bien a través de compras locales o del envío directo de ayuda-.
A través de este dispositivo de urgencia se pueden activar además las Unidades de Respuesta ante Emergencias (ERU, por sus siglas en inglés), sistemas rápidos, eficaces y autónomos que coordinados a nivel internacional, ofrecen una respuesta efectiva, eficiente y ajustada a las distintas realidades de las emergencias humanitarias producidas por un desastre. Estas Unidades se despliegan en la zona afectada en un plazo máximo de 72 horas y están coordinadas por la Federación Internacional de Sociedades de la Cruz Roja y de la Media Luna Roja.
Más compleja si cabe es la respuesta ante emergencias de gestación lenta como crisis alimentarias, con poco eco por parte de los medios de comunicación y de la comunidad internacional en general. En este sentido cabe destacar la actual crisis alimentaria y de nutrición en la región africana del Sahel, que afecta a más de 18 millones de personas en Níger, Chad, Malí, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Gambia y algunas zonas de Senegal. La intervención de Cruz Roja ante esta crisis no incluye el envío de ayuda humanitaria sino la combinación de intervenciones a corto y medio plazo, como programas dirigidos a garantizar la seguridad alimentaria (reparto de semillas, capacitación agrícola, etc.) buscando no sólo una respuesta inmediata ante la crisis, sino combatir las causas estructurales que subyacen, asegurando los medios de vida de las poblaciones más vulnerables, y sus capacidades de resistencia.
Cruz Roja Española frente a las emergencias internacionales: http://www.cruzroja.tv/index.php?MetaDataID=778015
Unidades de Respuesta ante Emergencias (ERU) http://www.cruzroja.tv/index.php?MetaDataID=777382
Millions at risk due to high prices and inadequate humanitarian response funding
A poor main harvest, sharply reduced labor incomes, and increasing staple food prices are putting an estimated 1.97 million people in Southern Malawi at risk of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity during this outlook period.
Humanitarian assistance is currently reaching approximately 700,000 people in nine districts in southern Malawi—less than half of those previously projected to be at risk of food insecurity. Assistance is planned for the remaining 900,000 by the peak of the lean season (January-March). Households in the south are currently at Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels with assistance and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels in the absence of assistance.
Recently, the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) increased its estimate of the food insecure population by 21 percent (to 1.97 million people). Even with this information, future humanitarian assistance plans remain unclear due to projected funding shortfalls. If the response is discontinued or delayed during the peak of the lean season (January-March), FEWS NET projects that poor households in the south will move into Crisis and Emergency levels of food insecurity.
Although a normal start of the season is expected in November, with normal to above-normal rainfall in the southern region between October and December, chances for normal to belownormal rainfall levels are high between January and March 2013. If these forecasts are realized, it is likely that the same areas in the south that experienced prolonged dry spells during the 2011/12 season may be impacted again during the upcoming season.
In the Middle Shire and Phalombe-Lake Chilwa livelihood zones, food insecurity during the January-March 2013 period is expected to be highly dependent on the success of 90-day maize crops made possible by the input subsidy program. If program implementation is limited, or if these crops do poorly, Emergency-level food insecurity is likely in these areas.
· Inondations: l ’UNHCR assiste les sinistrés (Journaldutchad.com, 12 nov.)
· Despite floods, displaced Chadian children receive an education (UNICEF, 14 Nov.)
· Le système éducatif tchadien en pleine décadence (Open Democracy, 13 nov.)
· From Senegal to Sudan, does building resilience work? (The Guardian, 15 Nov.)
· Au Sahel, les ONG s’interrogent sur l’avenir de leur aide (La Croix, 9 nov.)
· Les cas de polio au plus bas dans le monde en 2012, l'éradication en vue (La Parisienne, 14 nov.)
· Ambassadeur de la Chine au Tchad : « La femme tchadienne est le souffle de la Renaissance » (ATPE, 12 nov.)
Mark Bowden, the former Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, was recently appointed to lead humanitarian operations in Afghanistan. Before he left for Kabul, he spoke to OCHA about his experiences in Somalia, where he spent the majority of his four years responding to one of the most acute humanitarian emergencies in the world. Famine conditions were declared in large parts of southern Somalia in July 2011, and an intensifying conflict made it difficult for humanitarian organizations to get assistance to people in need. The famine conditions were lifted in February 2012, mostly due to an exceptional harvest and a massive aid operation.
Read the interview on OCHA
The United Nations Security Council this month authorized the extension of the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to early March 2013.
The AU troops are helping to stabilize a country which did not have a functioning central government for more than two decades. But this year, a new Parliament was sworn in and a President inaugurated.
The winds of change are also pushing more ships into the seaport in the capital, Mogadishu, where there reportedly has been a rise in cargo vessels bringing goods—and revenue—to the country.
This week, the head of the UN's Department of Field Support (DFS), Ameerah Haq, paid a one-day visit to Somalia where she congratulated the new President on the political strides made.
Dianne Penn reports.
Kim Lewis Last updated on: November 15, 2012 6:38 AM
A 7.8 million dollar grant offered through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation will help an American university work with eight African countries to improve their farming techniques.
Michigan State University, through funding from the Gates Foundation Global Development Program, says the research aims to intensify farming methods that meet the agricultural needs of Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
Tom Jayne, professor of international development at Michigan State University, has been living in Lusaka, Zambia for the last two years, and has been involved in long-term projects to improve the sustainability of African farmland. He said one of the main goals of this project is capacity, and its relationship to previous work done by MSU. An example is Zambia.
“It’s been increasingly well known that African policymakers are I think more likely to get good policy advice, or wish to get good policy advice, from local African institutes. So we’ve been working to develop this agricultural policy institute here and I am pleased to report that as of February 9 of this year, that was the official launch of the Indaba Agricultural policy research institute, an independent, Zambian managed institute much like the Brookings Institute in the United States,” said Jayne.
Jayne emphasized the importance of capacity-building in Africa. He said he and his colleagues at the Gates Foundation lament that each year 15-20 good African PHD analysts in agriculture and economics graduate from programs around the world, but most do not return to their home countries to integrate their knowledge back into the African communities.
“What we are seeing instead, and you know these are very logical decisions that they make to do this, is that they may end up in the World Bank in Washington or IFPRI, or they may end up at Michigan State University, because the incentives of these institutions are very attractive, and they can pay much more than the University of Malawi, or the University of Zambia where they are much more constrained. So part of the systemic challenge here is how to improve the conditions at these African universities and research institutes so that it will want to attract good qualified African analysts to come and make a commitment to their institution and to their country, in a way that meets their needs at the same time,” explained Jayne.
It is well known and documented that farmers in Africa deal with extreme weather conditions, from droughts lasting for months to flooding. Jayne said farmers are noticing the palpable weather conditions.
“Here in Zambia this year right now, the rains should have been here already. But, here it is November 15th and it has only rained once or twice so far here. So the rains are late. This is an evolving pattern, more erratic rainfall, and when it does come, it comes in one or a concentrated cloud burst, with more intermittent dry spells in between,” explained Jayne, who also pointed out, “ this has important implications for the appropriateness of different farm technologies that will effectively work and adapt to climate change.
Some of this may involve conservation farming technologies, which are ways of retaining soil moisture. And the research that we are doing is looking at the extent to which adoption of these techniques is likely to improve farmers production and yields and their access to food throughout the dry season.”
The project will focus on three main staple crops - maize, sorghum and rice - to improve their response rate to fertilizer. These key crops have a significantly lower rate of growth for African farmers in comparison to the response rate for other farmers around the world. But Jayne said through tangible interaction with farmers, where they can actually see the improvement in their crops by applying new methods, they will incorporate the changes into the managing of their farms.
By Isaiah Esipisu
MBEERE, Kenya (AlertNet) – At Kamunyagia Primary, year seven student Purity Njigi is learning something new alongside her usual lessons – how to produce enough food to eat when there isn’t enough rain.
Read the full report on AlertNet.
Romani Prodi, l'Envoyé spécial du Secrétaire général des Nations Unies pour le Sahel, a tenu, mardi soir, en début de soirée, un point de presse au Siège des Nations Unies à New York. Il est revenu sur les objectifs, les limites et les espoirs de sa mission.
Selon lui, Ban Ki-moon considère que cette mission s'étend au-delà du Mali, et qu'elle a pour objectif la sécurité, la gouvernance, l'aide humanitaire et le développement au Sahel.
Romano Prodi a fait état des multiples rencontres qu'il a faites depuis sa prise de fonctions –Bamako, Addis Abeba, Le Caire, Alger, et bien évidemment tous les voisins du Mali. Cette semaine il se trouve à New York et la semaine prochaine il se rendra au Maroc.
L'Envoyé spécial s'est aussi félicité de « l'inhabituelle » concordance des membres du Conseil de sécurité.
Premier objectif, a affirme Romano Prodi, c'est de pousser pour l'unité du gouvernement malien. Le second est de recouvrer l'intégralité nationale, les frontières ne faisant pas l’objet de négociations même si tous les pays du Sahel sont très interconnectés. Il a estimé que la criminalité dans le nord – la drogue, les demandes de rançon et divers trafics sont des facteurs aggravants.
Selon Romano Prodi, l’action militaire en cours de préparation entre dans le cadre des négociations, même si les préparations militaires ne constituent pas en tant que telles un outil de paix et que le premier objectif de la mission est de trouver une solution pacifique à la crise.
Au-delà de l'aspect militaire, pour l'Envoyé spécial, l'aide humanitaire et le développement sont la clé pour une sortie de crise au Mali. Même si ceux-ci figurent au second plan, ils sont essentiels et doivent être initiés dès maintenant. L'Envoyé spécial œuvre d'ailleurs à la création d'un fonds pour financer ces efforts.
Enfin, Romano Prodi tient à rencontrer tous les envoyés spéciaux et acteurs concernés par le Sahel afin de pourvoir avoir une action mieux coordonnée et d’avoir plus d'impact. Pour ce faire, il a d’ores et déjà convoqué une réunion à Rome en décembre.
(Extrait sonore : Romano Prodi, Envoyé spécial du Secrétaire général des Nations Unies pour le Sahel)
Millet, maize, and sorghum are the most important food commodities for household consumption. Millet is the staple of the most vulnerable households, while maize and sorghum also contribute to the food basket of a majority of all households. Sankaryare market is the largest and most important market in Ouagadougou and supplies other markets within the country and region. Koudougou is located in one of the most populated areas in the country, where a majority of households depend on the market for their food needs. Djibo is in the highly vulnerable Sahelian zone. Pouytenga is an assembly market for products from Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, and Togo. Solenzo is a rural market located in the middle of a surplus production zone. Bobo Dioulasso is important center for both consumption and production – it functions as both the economic capital of Burkina Faso and is located in an important cereal production zone.
11/15/2012 21:04 GMT
OUAGADOUGOU, Nov 15, 2012 (AFP) - The African Union's representative for Mali and the Sahel on Thursday urged Bamako's transitional government to hammer out the logistics of negotiations between the country and the armed groups occupying its north.
Pierre Buyoya, who is also a former Burundi president, said nailing down the logistics was a matter of urgency, adding that mediators would not be able to continue "without at least two parties at the negotiation table".
French President Francois Hollande also spoke of the need for dialogue Thursday, when he asked Malian interim President Dioncounda Traore "for a ramping up of dialogue".
"This acceleration of dialogue needs to go hand in hand with the military plans underway," he said.
Over the weekend, the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) approved plans to send a force of 3,300 troops, logistically backed by Western nations, to reconquer northern Mali -- all while saying they preferred a political solution.
The African Union has said that troops could also possibly come from countries outside the regional bloc, but Chad for one said Thursday it had no present plans to send troops.
Mali rapidly imploded after a coup in March allowed ethnic Tuareg desert nomads, who had relaunched a decades-old rebellion for independence, to seize the main towns in the country's vast desert north with the help of Islamist allies.
The secular separatists were quickly sidelined by the Islamists, who implemented their version of strict Islamic law, or sharia, and operated across the region with impunity, sparking growing international concern.
Among the groups controlling the desert north, Ansar Dine said Wednesday it was ready to help rid the region of "terrorim" and "foreign groups" and that it no longer wanted to impose sharia law across all of Mali, only in the sparsely populated northeast Kidal region.
Buyoya welcomed the remarks, calling them "a step in the right direction" but also struck a cautionary note saying, "Now we'll see at the negotiation table whether these statements are true".
Ansar Dine aside, there are also other Islamic extremist groups active in the area -- including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) -- but they have not yet been implicated in the planned negotiation talks.
On Tuesday, the African Union endorsed the military intervention plan and the United Nations was expected to pass a resolution approving the mission, though it remains unclear when the first troops could be deployed.
Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou said Thursday that "all the conditions were met" for the UN Security Council to approve the intervention, adding that he hoped they could intervene "as soon as possible".
© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Iraq (pg 1-2) Mali (pg 2-3) Syria (pg 3-4) IED & Demining (pg 4)
This is a special issue on the African Union (AU), published in the year when our continental Union is celebrating ten years of its existence. The articles included in this issue are not focused on mere birthday praises and wishes, however. They contain frank descriptions and discussions of problems, policies and procedures. They do acknowledge improvements and successes, but they also deal with challenges and failures.
There have indeed been successes and failures. This is very understandable, since ‘unity’ can never be just a simple, straightforward ideal. It is always challenged and complicated by the realities of diversity and disunity.
Unity, and particularly African unity, has been the main ideal not only of the AU over one decade, but also of its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), over almost four decades. In fact, the name of the original Organisation proclaimed the conviction that the unity already existed. The Organisation was not established as one aspiring for or towards African Unity, but as one entrusted with guardianship of African Unity. In spite of such optimistic idealism, however, the Founding Fathers were very realistic about phenomena and forebodings of disunity. They headed their list of purposes with promoting unity and solidarity, and coordinating cooperation (OAU 1963: art. II), but they also established a Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration (OAU 1963: art. XIX). Mainly due to observance of the principle of non-interference in internal affairs (OAU 1963: art. III), however, it had to be admitted thirty years later that ‘the Commission has been virtually dormant since its establishment’ (OAU 1993:5). Then, in 1993, the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution was established. This signalled ‘Africa’s determination to solve its own problems’ and its commitment ‘to work together towards the peaceful and speedy resolution of all conflicts on the continent’ (OAU 1993:2). This Mechanism brought about more action, but was still bound by the principle of non-interference. It was equipped with an Early Warning System and was especially focused on conflict prevention.
Rural cooperatives and farmers’ organizations play a crucial role in the eradication of hunger and poverty. One of the ways they achieve this is through their vocation to empower small agricultural producers, and in particular women farmers.
“Organizing is the key to empowerment. Organizing is the process by which people who are individually weak and vulnerable unite and create power together. When individuals who are among the poorest, least educated and most disenfranchised members of society come together they experience dramatic changes in their lives.” -- Renana Jhabvala, Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA).
Empowering women farmers improves food security for all
Women comprise on average 43% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries and produce the bulk of the world’s food crops. While the vast majority of small scale producers experience difficulties accessing resources, socio-cultural norms particularly curtail women producer’s access to productive resources including education, land, technologies, information, financial services, and markets.
Their presence in decision-making bodies, especially in leadership positions, also remains weak, and their needs as farmers are seldom accounted for in policy and resource allocation. As a result, women farmers do not produce to their full capacity.
If women farmers had access to the same opportunities and resources as men farmers, their productivity would rise significantly and the food security of millions of people would be improved.
One challenge that remains is to improve women’s participation in cooperatives. The same socio-economic constraints that limit women’s access to resources also often challenge their participation in organizations. 2012, declared the International Year of Cooperatives by the United Nations General Assembly, offers a unique window of opportunity for governments and development agencies to reinforce farmers’ organizations and to support them to empower the women within their ranks.
How cooperatives and farmers’ organizations work for women producers
Through the power of association, cooperatives and farmers’ organizations have long demonstrated their capacity to help small scale producers overcome barriers to gain better access to resources and inputs, and thus to play a greater role in meeting the growing global food demand.
For women producers, who are at a greater disadvantage, cooperatives offer networks of mutual support and solidarity that allow them to grow their social capital, improve their self-esteem and self-reliance, acquire a greater voice in decision-making, and collectively negotiate better contract terms, prices and access to a wide range of resources and services including:
☐ agricultural resources and assets;
☐ markets to commercialize their produce;
☐ credit, capital and other financial services; and
☐ social services.
Numerous examples from around the world demonstrate how women producers are socially and economically empowered through their membership in cooperatives and farmers’ organizations, allowing them to produce more, earn better incomes, and raise the living standards and economic and food security of their families and communities.
As part of the FAO Agricultural Commodities Project, the Exposure and Exchange Programme (EEP), one of FAO’s initiatives to support women producers, brings together women leaders from the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), a highly successful network of partner organizations that has over 1.24 million women members across India, 54% of whom are agricultural workers, and from producer organizations from other part of the world to exchange ideas and improve their organizations’ operations.
The EEP held in 2011 brought together women leaders from SEWA and from producer organizations from West and Central Africa. Many examples of women farmers’ improved productivity were evoked during the meeting.
One of them is the experience of the members of the small Benkadi women’s cooperative of shallots producers in the Segou region of Mali. Members were experiencing difficulties getting a good price for their produce and as a result were unable to invest and expand their production. By reaching out and coming together with 21 other small associations of women shallot producers, they were able to integrate the larger Faso Jigi farmers’ cooperative. Faso Jigi invested in 19 shallot storage facilities and marketed the produce where prices were more advantageous, offering the women a better income and the opportunity to invest in their businesses and expand their production. Currently, 920 of the Faso Jigi’s 4 200 members are women shallot producers whose needs and concerns are taken into account in the cooperative’s operations.
Reinforcing women’s participation and leadership
2012, the International Year of Cooperatives, offers a unique opportunity for the international community to address the challenge of improving women’s access and leadership within cooperatives to empower them to improve their lives and that of their families’ and communities’, and to support better global food security. Many effective measures can be adopted by governments, international organizations and cooperatives themselves to achieve this.
To this end, a range of recommendations were put forward at the Expert Group Meeting “Enabling rural women's economic empowerment: institutions, opportunities and participation” held by UN Women and the Rome-based UN agencies--FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP)--in September 2011 in Accra, Ghana.
At the macro and policy level, the measures that governments can adopt include creating legislation and regulatory frameworks that ensure farmers’ organizations can operate independently and offer incentives for rural women to join, reserving spaces for women farmer leaders to participate in country and global policy processes, and institutionalizing mechanisms to involve leaders of women farmers’ organizations in agricultural and rural policy making.
Cooperatives can also be supported to establish quotas for the participation of women in their leadership and to create women-only committees to ensure they can voice their concerns strongly enough to exercise leadership; conduct training activities to sensitize cooperative members to the negative impact of gender inequalities in the home, farm/workplace, and in society as a whole; and to implement training programs that improve women farmers’ access to agricultural technologies and allow them to develop their skills.
Through their ability to reach marginalized groups, to empower their members economically and socially, and to create sustainable rural employment through equitable business models, cooperatives and farmers’ organizations comprise unique platforms to provide women producers with the means to better contribute to global food security. By strengthening support to these organizations and facilitating women’s membership, the international community will accomplish great strides towards the eradication of hunger.
 A cooperative is an autonomous association of women and men, united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise. It is a business enterprise that seeks to strike a balance between pursuing profit and meeting the needs and interests of members and their communities. Source: Agricultural cooperative: Paving the way for food security and rural development Factsheet. FAO, IFAD, WFP (2011)
The border between Kenya and Uganda means very little to the agro pastoralist communities living in the Karamoja-Pokot-Turkana area. In the dry season, as resources are scarce, pastoralists are forced to migrate to access enough resources for their cattle to survive.
Drought is a common issue that affects communities living on both sides of the Uganda-Kenyan border. Conflict and insecurity have restricted access to those areas thus leading to the overgrazing of accessible pastures. “Cattle raiding” is the main source of conflict in the Karamoja cluster and is fueled by persisting poverty, food insecurity and water scarcity. The need to address cross-border dynamics and to include conflict prevention activities in all types of intervention has become increasingly relevant.
As the frequency of raids and general insecurity increases and small arms remain widely available, communities are encouraged to engage in dialogue and negotiation with their neighbours to limit potential tensions but also increase resilience to drought and other disasters. Resource sharing agreements are increasingly relevant to pastoral mobility, and represent an essential legal basis for mobile livelihood systems.
ACTED promotes inter-community experience sharing exchanges between those communities through meetings and exchange visits. A number of outcomes are expected from these meetings including the reduction in the number of cattle raids between communities, increased trade between communities and an increased number of community meetings being held by local leaders to solve intercommunity conflicts. With ACTED’s support in facilitating inter-community meetings, two resource sharing agreements have been signed to date: the first was reached between the Pokot and Turkana in 2011 and the other was signed between the Pokot and Karimojong in April 2012.
In these agreements, communities agree to share and better manage specific grazing areas and/or water points, to engage in farming and to refrain from raiding neighbouring communities on this particular land. Redress mechanisms for cattle raiders or uncooperative members are clearly defined by the communities. Yet the signing of such an agreement is a lengthy process that requires commitment and trust from each side.
Using a participatory approach, communities are mobilised and sensitised, and establish a working group responsible for drawing resource maps showing boundaries, existing resources, seasonal grazing areas, water points and conflict-prone areas. Mapping of dry season grazing land is of particular importance as it gives a sound basis on which access rights can be negotiated between communities, thereby, in time, reducing the risk of conflict and opening additional land for grazing to the beneficiary population.
Basic resource sharing agreements are only a first step in achieving long-term and sustainable community managed disaster risk reduction and ACTED is working on extending this initiative to achieve cross-border inter-community natural resource management agreements and plans among Pokot, Turkana and Karimojong.
The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster is providing vital services to the humanitarian community as the crisis continues
The shifting sands of the Sahara, the legendary isolation and riches of Timbuktu, the haunting music of its tribespeople: Mali has long had a tranquil, semi-mystical reputation.
But on 21st March 2012, the peace was shattered as a coup d’état triggered a regional humanitarian crisis. Rebels in the north declared their independence, slicing the country in two. In the following seven months, almost 400,000 people were displaced, 70 percent of whom are now refugees in neighbouring Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso. Food price rises compound an already severe hunger problem while floods, disease and malnutrition ravage the population.
The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) was activated on April 4th to provide internet connectivity, radio and telephone services to the humanitarian community responding to the crisis.
The challenges were daunting. An initial ETC assessment revealed major gaps in security telecommunications as VHF infrastructure had been compromised and was being used by non-humanitarian groups.
“The reality on the ground,” says Ozdzan Hadziemin, the ETC Coordinator deployed in May to manage the response, “was that there were no radio frequencies, we had to build the COMCENs (Communication Centres) pretty much from scratch and the local ISP (Internet Service Provider) in Mopti was unreliable.”
Despite the obstacles, the ETC, led by the World Food Programme (WFP), responded rapidly. Within two weeks, new radio frequencies had been obtained from the government and codeplugs were quickly standardized. By the end of October, over 450 handheld and 50 vehicle radios had been reprogrammed, allowing the humanitarian community to communicate without being overheard by non-humanitarian groups. Radio training was also delivered to 180 relief staff, radio operators and drivers.
“The training and reprogramming has made a huge difference,” says Sylvain Tiako, an IT Specialist from WFP Fast IT and Telecommunications Emergency and Support Team (FITTEST).
“Vehicles are regularly reporting to the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS), which means they can be tracked. Everyone is following procedure and radio coverage is a lot better. It’s really increased safety.”
In order to provide communications services to the humanitarian community, the ETC established COMCENs in Bamako and Mopti; strategically placed to provide the maximum possible benefit - between them, the two cities host around 44% of the country’s Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Sylvain had just two days to set up a completely new COMCEN and establish a radio network in Mopti. To staff the new COMCEN, five operators were recruited and trained in Bamako before being deployed to the north, ensuring that the humanitarian community in Mopti is now served 24/7.
Mopti has also become a proving ground for the ETC response solution. Pioneered in South Sudan earlier this year, the solution, which has been jointly developed by the Directorate for Development Cooperation in Luxembourg, Ericsson Response and WFP, was deployed in Mopti by mid-July. The solution is now providing data connectivity and voice telephony services at no charge to organizations on the ground, enabling them to coordinate their relief efforts, locally and internationally.
Both Irish Aid and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) have sent technicians to support ETC operations on the ground while the regular working group meetings welcomes representatives from every humanitarian organization in the country. At one point, a local company in Mopti got involved, heading up a tower installation, and in Bamako the ETC engaged numerous local firms to extend a tower at the UNDSS building and improve radio coverage.
According to Sylvain, it’s this collaboration that achieves results.
“One thing I really appreciate is the teamwork,” says Sylvain. “When you arrive you don’t know what the challenges are going to be. But it took me less than a day to get a clear view of the situation. It’s just how we do it.”
By Busani Bafana
DES MOINES, Iowa, USA, Nov 16 2012 (IPS) - Give a woman a hand-out and you feed her for a day. But teach her to farm, and how to add value to her product, and you feed her and her family for a lifetime. And if she happens to be Nigerian smallholder farmer Susan Godwin, she in turn will also provide jobs for her community and become a national food hero.
Instead of turning to financial hand-outs when her crop failed four years ago, Godwin went back to the classroom to learn new farming methods, how to add value to her product and how to draw up a business plan to access credit.
“Some of the women I trained with gave up after realising that the training had no financial hand-outs, but I wanted to see it to the end,” Godwin told IPS.
The following harvest, Godwin’s yam and groundnut yield doubled. From the sales she bought a peanut shelling machine and began processing them into oil and groundnut cake, something a few people in her community have done.
Today, her family is food and financially secure. Not many smallholder farmers in her village of Tunduadabu in Nasarawa State in central Nigeria can make that claim. While Godwin employs three women to help her process the peanuts she grows, many farmers in the village are struggling. This is because, unlike Godwin, they have not been educated about adopting new farming methods and still rely on traditional techniques.
“Training is very important for smallholder farmers, especially in Nigeria, because without the training they would not know about new farming methods. Adopting new methods has helped lift me out of poverty to a new life where I have enough to eat, to give to people around me and to sell. I am now able to send my children to school,” the mother of five said.
According to a March 2012 report titled “Oxfam in Nigeria”, by Oxfam International, some 70 percent of the country’s women contribute to the West African nation’s agricultural output. But Nigeria is vulnerable to food insecurity despite ranking first in agricultural output in Africa. Only 50 percent of the country’s arable land is farmed.
Godwin now has five shelling machines and employs three women to operate them. She also lets her community use the machines for a small fee. “From the daily takings from the shelling machines I give each woman half of what she makes that day; 200 Naira (1.27 dollars) makes a difference when you have nothing,” said Godwin, who is also the chairwoman of the United Movement for Small Scale Farmers.
By sharing the profits of her business, Godwin has empowered her employees. Some of them have now been able to start up their own businesses.
“Smallholder farmers can feed the world if we give them the tools and support them,” she said
A continent away from her village, Godwin was recently feted as a farming role model at the 2012 Borlaug Dialogue held in the Midwestern U.S. state of Iowa in October. Godwin was also named by Oxfam International as the 2012 Female Food Hero in Nigeria.
Sithembile Mwamakamba, manager of the Women Accessing Realigned Markets project at the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), bemoaned the high level of illiteracy among smallholder women farmers on the continent.
“With the right support, smallholder women farmers can identify their needs, package relevant messages and effectively communicate them to policymakers,” Mwamakamba told IPS.
“There is a need to establish local-level dialogue platforms that capture the voice of women farmers in the process of policy formulation and implementation. Furthermore, there is a need for specially-designed extension and training services targeting smallholder women farmers in order to improve their productivity.”
Mwamakamba emphasised that these programmes must be complemented with improved access to inputs and markets if they are to have a lasting impact on farmers’ livelihoods.
Director of global public policy at CropLife International, Tracy Gerstle, told IPS that women were the backbone of the rural economy, comprising 43 percent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries and an estimated two-thirds of the world’s 600 million poor livestock keepers.
“We cannot overlook the central role of women in global food security and economic growth,” she said.
“Within poor households, women are essential to breaking the cycle of poverty, given that women tend to invest a significantly higher portion of their income on food and education for the family. Yet women struggle to reach their potential, given globally persistent gaps in their access to extension (services), agricultural inputs, land and finance vis-à-vis men. (This is) underpinned by persistent inequalities in their basic human rights in terms of access to education, land and equality.”
Gerstle said that providing educational support for girls and women through training facilities, scholarships, mentoring, extension services and other forms of technical assistance would help bridge the equality gap.
Happy Shongwe is leading the fight against food insecurity in her homeland, Swaziland. Shongwe, a commercial seed grower and winner of the FANRPAN 2011 Movers and Shakers Civil Society Award, agreed that smallholder farmers hold the keys to food security.
“Smallholder farmers can feed the world, if you capacitate them and give them all the tools,” Shongwe told IPS in a telephone interview from the southern African nation.
Shongwe grows certified legume and maize seeds under conservation agriculture techniques on her farm on the Lubombo plateau in the Siteki region, 150 kilometres east of the capital, Mbabane.
After noticing that farmers were constantly short of seed, Shongwe ventured into the competitive, yet lucrative, market of seed production.
“Financial support is important for smallholder farmers. I have the energy and the passion for farming, but not the money to kick-start some of my projects,” Shongwe, a mother of two, told IPS.
Her income has tripled since she started the business, which in a good season can bring in 2,500 dollars. Her success has even attracted the Swazi royal family, which has consulted her on growing legume seeds.
Shongwe is also passing on her wealth of knowledge to others.
“I am currently mentoring 60 farmers keen to go into seed production and have another group of 10 who I am training on conservation agriculture because knowledge and information is key if smallholder farmers are to contribute to food security,” said Shongwe.
Appeal Target: US$ 562,252 Balance Requested: US$ 386,620
Geneva, 15 November 2012
Since the ACT Tanzania forum raised an alert on the drought situation in Northern part of the country, last July, the situation worsened and the short rains only began one week ago in the Northern part of the country.
The nine regions of Tanzania, namely Arusha, Manyara, Kilimanjaro, Shinyanga, Dodoma, Iringa, Mwanza, Mara and Tabora are caught up in chronic and transitory food insecurity due to poor or no harvests1. Most of these areas are semi-arid and/or share the same ecological zone with the drought prone areas of East Africa. Planted maize during the long “masika” (February - May) rains wilted or became stunted as a result of inadequate moisture due to the persistently delayed, uneven and erratic rains. Food prices have risen to record levels, leaving vulnerable populations, agriculturists, pastoralists and petty hawkers without ability to purchase food during the critical planting period. The price of cereals in the local markets is Tshs1, 000 up from Tshs 300.
This ACT response will provide immediate assistance to 10,000 households with a three months ration of the staple food and provide drought resistant seeds to 2,500 farming households during this planting period with an expectation to harvest in March 2013. The other livestock keeping beneficiaries will be included in the COS/ELCT program “Sustainable Livelihoods and Environmental Protection” which promotes sustainable livestock methods. The appeal will be implemented in five months and has a target of US$ 562,252. US$ 175,000 has already been pledged and the balance requested from ACT Alliance is US$ 386,620. The requesting member is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) who will also lead the response.
ACT forum members in Tanzania include: Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT), Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service (TCRS), Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT), Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), Church World Service (CWS), Lutheran World Relief (LWR), Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC), Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM).