Friday, September 30, 2011

Remembering Wangari Maathai of the Greenbelt movement

NYTimes obituary

Dr. Maathai, one of the most widely respected women on the continent, played many roles — environmentalist, feminist, politician, professor, rabble-rouser, human rights advocate and head of the Green Belt Movement, which she founded in 1977. Its mission was to plant trees across Kenya to fight erosion and to create firewood for fuel and jobs for women.

GetReligionBlog notes the religious inspiration behind her work:

And Dr.E at PersianParadox discusses meeting her (Dr. E also works on ecological preservation)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Learning to grow Rice

I have neglected this blog since I haven't had the time or energy to keep up on the news in Zimbabwe.

But I will keep posting various news items that have to do with development.

For example, this is from Oryza, a website for the rice industry:

Twenty-five African agriculture extension workers have been training in the Philippines for the duration of the rice season. It's left them with the confidence to help increase the rice yields in their countries two-three times over. The head of the extension group says the group will return home to teach farmers there about technologies and practical experience gained in the Philippines. The participants were given training on the “PalayCheck” and “Palayamanan” systems at PhilRice farms and lecture areas and in six rain-fed areas. PalayCheck is an integrated crop management system for rice while Palayamanan is a diversified rice-based farming system. At least 75 agronomists, researchers and agriculture technicians from 10 more African countries are scheduled to train on rice farming in the Philippines in the next two years, PhilRice officials said. In Uganda, for example, rice farmers yield 1.5-2.5 tons per hectare. With a production area of only 95,000 hectares and increasing demand, Uganda imports an average of 45,000 tons of rice yearly. Most Ugandan farmers are using the New Rice for Africa (Nerica) in favor of traditional varieties that yield lower harvests.

yes, I know: Zimbabwe doesn't have the rain to grow rice...however, with irrigation they could do it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Libya's New Racism

via Migrant Rights org. African migrants have been the target of attacks by anti-Gaddafi forces on suspicion of being mercenaries for the regime since the conflict in Libya began. recent reports suggest that the danger for migrants from Subsaharan African countries has intensified since the Gaddafi regime lost control of Tripoli, with rebels turning their wrath against those suspected of being mercenaries. Dozens of migrants are being held in a prison in the Suq al Jouma neighbourhood of Tripoli, according to the New York Times and Time magazine... but the line between regime soldier and dark-skinned southerner or migrant worker has become blurred in the midst of the conflict, writes Time‘s Abigail Hauslohner in Tripoli.

Hauslohner visits a camp outside Tripoli and examines the background in depth:

The displaced mostly hail from countries across West Africa, like Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. Many have lived in Libya for years — even decades — and carry the legal papers to prove it. Their presence is rooted in Gaddafi’s legacy of fostering close relationships with fellow African regimes and recruiting loyalists from among their citizens. But for a man who often sought to portray himself as a leader of the continent, Gaddafi may have done more to divide his country’s future than to encourage tolerance and respect.

It’s popular knowledge among the predominantly Arab and Berber rebel ranks here that Gaddafi funded questionable African warlords and armies, even as his own population struggled. And at his home in Tripoli’s Bab al-Aziziyah compound, rebels hold up old pictures of Gaddafi posing with African children dressed in fatigues as further evidence of their former ruler’s betrayal.

His alleged mercenaries — particularly the men who populated the fearsome Khamis Brigade, which was used to assault the rebels over the course of their six-month revolt — often came from the southern town of Sabha or the neighboring countries of Mali, Niger and Chad. The foreigners were alleged to receive benefits and even fast-track residency in exchange for their services as loyalists and fighters — a practice, whether real or exaggerated, that has fueled deep tribal, ethnic and geographic mistrust.

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