A Mother’s Challenge Gives Hope for Nigerian Community
Crystal Chigbu cried herself to sleep for many nights after giving birth to her daughter, Beulah, in 2009. Doctors had informed her that Beulah had been born with tibial hemimelia, a rare medical condition characterized by a missing or shortened tibia, or shinbone. Chigbu started The IREDE Foundation (TIF) to educate Nigerians on congenital and acquired limb loss, and how to associate with and care for children with this kind of loss. The foundation also provides free and subsidized artificial limbs for children who cannot afford them. Providing prosthesis and care for amputees in Nigeria costs more than $600 on average, and Chigbu says depending on the limbs needed it can come to $3000. TIF has a laboratory in Lagos for assembling prosthetics. It is expensive to import ready-made items so the team purchases parts abroad and connects them in Nigeria to cut costs. But it’s not just about prosthetics. The foundation also counsels families. In January, Nigeria passed the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Act. The law makes it a crime to discriminate against any Nigerian with any form of disability and prescribes fines and prison sentences for those who break it. The legislation also stipulates a 5-year transitional period before it is compulsory for public buildings and structures to become accessible for people with disabilities.SOURCE: CNN
Kenya’s Documentation Process Holds Chess Champion Back
Sarah Momanyi, a 13-year-old elementary school student, has won two national chess championships in Kenya having got the better of all-comers in her age bracket for two years in a row. The young pupil undoubtedly has the potential to go on and take the world but her part to the top is impeded by a challenge that is unlike any person that has sat from across her in a game of chess. Lately, Sarah Momanyi has been offered invitations to various continental and global championships — including the African Youth Chess Championship that is coming up in Namibia in a few month’s time — but she’s had to take a hard pass. And it’s not because she can’t get support from the charity that already pays for her schooling. It’s because she’s part of the 35 percent of Kenyans who do not have a proper birth certificate. It means she can’t access almost any public services, let alone procure a passport.
The Ebola Outbreak Shows the Limits of Pandemic Bonds
A new way of financing the fight against global diseases lured investors with annual returns of more than 11%. The deadly Ebola outbreak in Africa is highlighting shortcomings of so-called pandemic bonds in halting contagions. After the worst Ebola outbreak on record, the World Bank two years ago began selling the high-yielding securities, modeling them on catastrophe bonds that pay out in response to insurance claims for events like hurricanes. The pandemic bonds, the first ever, are triggered by patterns in deaths from infectious diseases. While the $320 million sale was hailed as a way to fight disease with finance, the funds are locked up by an arcane formula – one that may rarely be satisfied by actual events. Bondholders are collecting rich interest payments even as the Democratic Republic of Congo is struggling to arrest an Ebola virus outbreak that’s killed more than 1,800 people the past year, and threatens to spill into neighboring nations. Critics say the bond’s complicated triggering mechanism slows its ability to stem infectious contagions. For example, a $95 million tranche insuring against an Ebola virus outbreak pays investors more than $1 million each month. For the funds to flow to Congo, the disease must cause at least 20 deaths in at least one other country within a specified time window. Deaths must also increase at a minimum rate during this period.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
Cape Town has Become One of the World’s Most Dangerous Cities
As soldiers arrived in Mitchells Plain, an impoverished suburb outside Cape Town, people did not hide inside or erupt in protest, as many would have decades ago when the army was a symbol of white minority rule. Instead, residents rushed from their homes to welcome the troops, who were sent in last month to quell an extraordinarily bloody spate of gang violence and have remained in the area ever since. The police recorded more than 2,800 murders in 2018, and its homicide rate — about 66 killings per 100,000 people — is surpassed by only the most violent cities in Latin America, according to the Citizens’ Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice, a nongovernmental group in Mexico. The violence largely stems from escalating turf battles between gangs that traffic in drugs, weapons and illicit goods like abalone, a shellfish prized by poachers. The first weekend of military patrols saw murders drop on the Cape Flats, according to the provincial health authorities. Over the following weekend, 46 people were killed. After apartheid, when South Africa’s international borders opened, many gangs morphed into powerful criminal enterprises, said Simone Haysom, a researcher at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.
SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES
9 African Podcasts that You Are Certainly Going to Enjoy
Get a bunch of first generation African Americans who hold both black, African, and American experiences, get them to talk about all important social issues ( like Beyonce’s album and American cop killings) then you have the Chicken and Jollof Rice show. Produced in Johannesburg, South Africa, African Tech Round-Up covers technological innovation on the continent. Talking Heads podcasts aim to give a fresh approach to identify, showcase and create opportunities for African thought leaders. Afropop Worldwide is an award-winning podcast dedicated to music from Africa and the African diaspora. Hosted by one of Africa’s best-loved broadcast personalities, Georges Collinet. The Travel Africa Show is a weekly show on the award-winning Colourful Radio and is produced and created by My African Passport. The Knowledge Bandits podcast is a show that aims to interview successful and innovative entrepreneurs working in Africa. Sound Africa aims to be a space for narratives that capture the dizzying complexity of the world’s second most populous continent.
Behind the Abduction of Aid Workers in Africa
Kidnapping of aid workers has become “big business” as militants often work with crime networks to carry out abductions. Last year 130 aid workers were abducted, up from 45 in 2007, according to the Aid Worker Security Database, which records attacks on aid workers. High-risk countries included Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Kidnapping is a longstanding problem in Afghanistan, either for ransom or to put pressure on Western governments, while rebels in South Sudan have carried out mass abductions of humanitarian convoys to control aid delivery. Most kidnap victims are national staff, held on average for 12 days, according to database research in 2013. International staff are usually held for longer as demands for money or concessions are often steeper. The UNHCR spent about 2% of its budget on security, but many smaller organisations could not afford to take the same measures – and even seemingly safe interactions could pose risks.
Nigerian Women’s Bedroom Secrets Revealed
“Kayan Mata” refers to the aphrodisiacs made of herbs, roots, spices, seeds and fruit that have been used for centuries by women from northern Nigeria. Though they were originally used to prepare brides for marriage, to ensure a healthy sex life, the aphrodisiacs are becoming increasingly popular among all women across the country. Recipes are passed down from generation to generation. Not only is Kayan Mata becoming a thriving business, it is challenging the taboos around sex and marriage, and women’s role in society. Social media platforms like Instagram have been crucial to increasing the popularity of these local aphrodisiacs, giving room for more open conversations around sex and pleasure as well as financially empowering many northern women. One myth that needs to be debunked is the mysticism around Kayan Mata that compares it to love potions and charms used by women to bewitch husbands or lure them away from their wives.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
The FT says Poverty Increased, not Decreased for Rwandans
Rwanda’s the New Times newspaper has dismissed as “fantasy” a report by the UK’s Financial Times that said the country’s poverty figures had been manipulated. The private, pro-government paper said the article, which centres around figures from just before the 2015 referendum that allowed President Paul Kagame to extend his rule, was “childish”. An official report in 2015 said the proportion of the country living in poverty had fallen from 44.9% of the population in 2011 to 39.1% in 2014. But the FT argues that poverty actually increased during that time. An anonymous source told the paper that a UK-based consultancy, Oxford Policy Management, was hired to complete the poverty analysis but their result, that poverty had increased by 6%, was rejected by the Rwandan government.SOURCE: BBC
Social Media is Shaping Africa’s Political Engagement
In mid-July Chad lifted its 16-month social media ban. This ended the longest social media blockage seen in any African country. The government argued that the lengthy ban was necessary for security reasons. The Chadian case highlights the way social media has increasingly been framed as a threat, especially by authoritarian leaders. Since the beginning of 2019 at least nine other African countries have also experienced government ordered internet shutdowns. A recently published volume jointly edited by us digs deeper into this pattern. Researchers explored the various ways social media has been entangled with politics and security. Social Media and Politics in Africa: Democracy, Censorship and Security includes cases from nine African countries. The 18 contributors to the volume include academics in Africa, Europe, North America, and Australia. Journalists and practitioners in the field of international development also contributed. Political leaders often view social media as a threat because it can provide the public with greater access to information. It also has the potential to mobilise and challenge leadership. Some authors found ways in which digital platforms were creatively used to expand political participation.
SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION
Kipchoge Let’s Us In on Preparation for the 1:59 Challenge
Kenyan world record holder Eliud Kipchoge says running a marathon in under two hours would be comparable in the annals of human achievement to standing on the moon or scaling Everest for the first time. The Kenyan said his training was going well, he was rising at 5 a.m. and running 200-220km a week. Kipchoge plans to arrive in Vienna about a week before the Oct 12 attempt and will jog over the 4.3km Prater Hauptallee course. INEOS have yet to provide details about race day plans and identities of the official pacesetters in the 1:59 challenge. Any sub-two hour time will not be ratified for record purposes by the IAAF, the governing body of athletics, because of the use of pacemakers and other aids but Kipchoge was unconcerned. “I am already a record holder for marathon… I think I have done that. This is for the human family.”
SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA