Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Are poor deals crippling your country?

Almost every day governments in Africa sign trade and business deals with the private sector. But, many of these deals end up costing governments huge amounts of cash and do not deliver the goods.

Tanzania's former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa last week resigned after a parliamentary committee implicated him in an energy deal scandal with a US based company.The probe team questioned the cost and quality of the generators that the US Company delivered to help alleviate power shortages the country was experiencing in 2006.

In South Africa the ANC chairman Jacob Zuma is facing corruption charges in connection with a $4.8bn arms deal.

The list of dodgy expensive deals is endless. How can African governments avoid bad deals? Can tight procedures ensure better deals? Should the public be allowed to scrutinise deals before they are signed

Friday, 1 February 2008

Rape exceeding in Kenya's Political War

Gang rape spirals in violent Kenya
By Stephanie Holmes
BBC News

Rape is on the rise in Kenya, troubled by violence which followed December's disputed elections.

Women and children are most at risk of sexual attack
Every day women turn up at the doors of Nairobi's hospitals and clinics telling the same story.
"I could not run away. They gagged my mouth and pinned me down," one woman remembers.
"After raping me they blindfolded me and led me to a nearby forest. That's where they left me."
Her experience - doctors, officials and the UN say - is echoed by hundreds of other women who have survived a spiralling number of sexual attacks.
Many are gang rapes, carried out by groups of armed men.
Staff in the Nairobi Women's Hospital - one of Kenya's leading centres for the treatment of rape and sexual violence - say they have seen double the number of cases affecting women, teenagers and girls since January.
"Since the beginning of the month, we have had 140 cases of rape and defilement," said Rahab Ngugi, patient services manager at the hospital.
"We were used to seeing an average of about four cases a day, now there is an average of between eight and 10."
Almost half of the cases at the hospital's specialised clinic are girls under the age of 18, Ms Ngugi said. One case was a two-year-old baby girl.
She knows that such a dramatic rise in numbers presenting at the clinic indicates that the reality beyond is far worse.

Tip of iceberg

Only a small percentage of women actually come to receive medical treatment and counselling in the immediate aftermath of a sexual attack, she said. It means they do not get access to the drugs which might prevent the onset of HIV.

Battles are fought on women's bodies as much as on battlefields
Kathleen Cravero, UNDP

In pictures: No safe haven
"It is the tip of the iceberg," Ms Ngugi said. "At any time of unrest, of violence, or rioting, women and children are targeted. It is revenge, it is war. People are fighting and the weakest ones get abused."
Clashes broke out across Kenya in late December after President Mwai Kibaki declared himself the winner of an election disputed by the opposition and labelled as flawed by the international community.
An estimated quarter of a million people have fled their homes to escape the unrest and some 85% of these are women and children.
Women's position of relative weakness in society is emphasised in times of conflict, Kathleen Cravero, Director of the UNDP's Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery said.
It is not so much that women are targeted in some deliberate way but their vulnerability makes them easy targets for anger, for frustration, and for people wanting to cripple or paralyse other segments of the community in which they live."
She says there is no evidence as yet that Kenya's high levels of sexual violence are ethnically motivated rather than opportunistic and criminal.
But the doubling of rape cases, she says, is "a very, very strong indicator of a serious problem" adding that the actual numbers are without doubt far higher.

Women often have other concerns that prevent them seeking help after an attack, said Hadley Muchela, a Nairobi-based rape counsellor with NGO Liverpool VCT.
The first priority for many women is food and shelter, not reporting rape
"If there is a woman who probably saw her relatives killed, she might push her own issues of violence to the periphery.

"There will be worries about property and the death of children. Their immediate needs are temporary shelter, safety and food."
He worries that although the gangs are not yet targeting makeshift, unregulated camps and shelters - in schools, churches and community centres - the women and their children sheltering there are increasingly vulnerable.
The UN says that in the capital alone some 12,000 people are living in public buildings after being driven from their homes.
Ms Cravero agrees that these shelters should be the focus of concern.
"Many of the internally displaced are not living in formal camps. They are just gathered around a school or church. Then you have the worst-case scenario - where you don't have that level of law and order and you have people living on top of each other."
The only way to prevent the almost inevitable spike in violence towards women in times of crisis, she said, is for governments to tackle the sense of impunity.
"Before violence breaks out, and during, and after, [governments must] really push the question of impunity, make sure that people know that rape visited upon innocent women and children will be treated for what it is - a crime."

Thursday, 31 January 2008

Kenya On Fire

Our neighbouring country Kenya, is on fire, literally due to the on going political and tribal conflicts going on since December. It is sad that it has come to this...just when you think it will never happen to does!! When will PEACE be a word that is literally viewed in this world?

How do people find it so easy to kill without remorse or feelings

What about the children whose parents you've killed without second thought?

These are humans, burnt to they really have hearts to do this to fellow humans

PEACE IN AFRICA IS NEEDED!! How do we get it?...

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Charity vs. Capitalism in Africa

Africa's best hope to fight malaria is the wide distribution of mosquito-repelling bed nets. But who best serves that need: the public sector or private interests?

Jenifa John recently spent $1 on a billowy swath of gauze that could help keep her family alive. The 22-year-old mother of two in the village of Engutoto, Tanzania, bought a mosquito-repelling bed net that will keep parasite-bearing insects away from her young children while they sleep. It's a matter of utmost concern: Before she bought the net, one of John's children was hospitalized with malaria—and fortunately survived.
All across Africa, there's new hope in the long-running battle against malaria. In the last decade, funding to control the preventable, treatable disease has increased tenfold. And now, millions of insecticide-laced nets that keep mosquitoes away from sleeping men, women, and children are making their way into a growing number of homes, helping to defeat the spread of a disease that still kills up to 3 million people a year and 3,000 children a day. Experts say Africa could need upwards of 90 million bed nets to fight back against a disease that costs the continent an estimated $12 billion per year in lost economic potential.
Who Can Best Deliver?
But while the distribution of treated bed nets is a welcome development, many health-care advocates are troubled by how slowly it's happening. Indeed, the pace of progress raises profound ideological questions over the best way to disseminate the life-saving nets—and, indeed, all sorts of assistance. On one side are believers in the traditional aid model, who say that bed nets should be given away for free by governments and nonprofits to reach the maximum number of people as quickly as possible. On the other side are backers of so-called social marketing, who argue that bringing businesses into the mix improves efficiency and adds incentives and economic benefits to doing good. Harnessing the private sector, they say, creates self-reliance—not dependence.
Both sides make valid points. Advocates of free distribution worry that selling bed nets—even at heavily subsidized prices as low as $1—puts them out of reach of poor people and slows uptake. Indeed, a recent study in Kenya found that free distribution of bed nets raises their use to 66% of the population, compared with just 7% when they are sold commercially.
Such figures have prompted some advocates to call for the abandonment of social marketing in favor of free public distribution. Leading the charge is economics professor Jeffrey Sachs, who directs the Earth Institute at Columbia University and gained renown in the 1990s advising Eastern European governments on "shock therapy" transitions to free-market economies.
"Shock Therapist" Backs Giveaways
Sachs is outraged that after seven years of effort, the goals for distributing bed nets in Africa haven't been met via social marketing programs. Take Tanzania, which is known as the "epicenter" of malaria because of the high incidence of disease there. For years, its government has subsidized sales of nets to the most vulnerable populations for prices typically between $1.50 and $3.50 each. But even now, just one-third of adults and one-quarter of children are protected by nets while they sleep.
"Tanzania is not a success story, it's a debacle," says Sachs, who flew to the East African nation last July to persuade President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete to adopt a new plan for free distribution of nets in 103 rural districts.
Despite his long history as a free-marketeer, Sachs thinks business isn't working fast enough in this case to address an urgent human crisis. So he's pushing for more direct action. "We'll distribute free nets all over Africa, and we'll do it again and again," he says. "There's no reason why markets should be able to handle this problem."
Others think Sachs and his supporters are giving up too soon on the private sector. They admit that paying even $1 for a bed net can be a hardship for people living on less than a dollar a day. But people who buy nets tend to take better care of them and use them more regularly.

Youth Vibes: I for one I am very aware of these sort of things as my own sister died of Malaria so be aware. it can kill!!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Strong women...

Do you know who these women are??

Fatuma Binti Baraka aka Bi Kidude

Asha Rose Migiro

Gertrude Mongella

Anna Tibaijuka

At an interesting State- Life of a...

In the South, the earth blew water
drowning the masses with its tears
In the West, the wicked blew fire
burning treasures with their rage
One started by natureand a city's neglience
another started by studpidtiy
and mere aggresiveness
In the former, we lost more lives
from those who had no hope
in the latter, we lost more goods
while the hopeful hope to live on
The former are called refugees
immigrants in their own land
the latter are called misplaced
who will find a home again
in pain and sufferinga loss is a loss
but our view of the two
is what costs us
ignorance, inactionseparation, disunity lead to repetition of our trials
over and over again

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Fears over Albino deaths-is this Justice

Tanzania’s Albino Society has accused the government of turning a blind eye to the killing of albinos, after four deaths in the past three months.

An albino spokesman said there was a belief that the condition was the result of a curse put on the family. Some witch-doctors also say they can use albino body parts in a potion to make people rich. A teacher in the northern town of Arusha has been arrested for killing his own child, who was albino.

As well as the four killings, the body of an albino has also been exhumed. It was found with its limbs cut off. The BBC’s Vicky Ntetma in Dar es Salaam says there is now fear in the albino community there. Christopher Dadenekeye from the TAS said the witch-doctors must also be arrested. Some people in Tanzania think albinos are a kind of ghost-like creature. “We need to clear out all these beliefs,” Mr Dadenekeye said. There are some 270,000 albinos among Tanzania’s population of some 35 million.

Old women with red eyes have been killed in parts of Tanzania in the past, after being accused of witchcraft but our correspondent says this is the first time that albinos have been targeted in ritual killings. TAS also wants more help for albinos and says the condition should be treated as a disability.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Computers for Africa

BBC: In late November I returned from Nigeria with a sample of the XO laptop.
The computer, made by the One Laptop per Child charity, is a robust little machine designed to entertain and educate children while allowing them to learn by themselves.
I knew there was only one person who could review it for me.
The Nine Year-old's View
Enter Rufus Cellan-Jones. He is nine, has far more experience of games consoles than computers, and has strong views on most matters.
"Looks fun," was his only comment when I handed over the small, green and white laptop, explaining that he was the only child in Britain to have one.

I use the calculator - that can be rather useful for sums. You can even browse onto the internet. You can watch and learn stuff.
Rufus Cellan-Jones
But very quickly he was up and running.
All I did was give him the security code for our home wireless network so he could take the XO online. The rest he figured out for himself, as he explains:
Lots of fun
"I just seemed to work it out. It was rather easy. I didn't even need help." Surprise, surprise, his first discovery was a game. "I found Block Party. It's like Tetris. I'm now up to Level 7."
I thought my young games fanatic might stick there but he moved on. "Then I discovered paint. You can use pencils, change the texture, use different sizes of brush."
Even better, there was an animation programme called Etoys.
"That's my favourite.You make things. You can see tutorials and demos. Then you can make a new project. I've made a crazy UFO which you can move."
But Rufus says it isn't just about play.
"I use the calculator - that can be rather useful for sums. You can even browse onto the internet. You can watch and learn stuff. You can write things and it can also remind you which is extremely useful."
What, I asked, does a nine year old need to remind himself about? "Christmas stuff," he said, with an air of mystery.
Social networking
But the real surprise came one evening, when Rufus asked me to explain what his friends were telling him on the laptop.
I thought those imaginary childhood friends from years back must have returned.
But I went and had a look - and it was true - he appeared to be chatting online.
So how had he managed that?
"You go on "neighbourhood", then you go to the chat thing.
You go on Nigeria and you chat to them."
But why, if he was online with the children at the Nigerian school I had visited, were they sending messages in Spanish?
I decided he must be linking up with one of the South American schools taking part in the OLPC project but we still aren't sure quite how that is happening.
Still, Rufus is widening his social circle. " I have three friends. It's nice to talk to them. They don't speak much English but I can understand them." The conversation is not exactly sparkling, but Rufus has learned to say "Hola".
Not a toy
So Rufus is using his laptop to write, paint, make music, explore the internet, and talk to children from other countries.
Because it looks rather like a simple plastic toy, I had thought it might suffer the same fate as the radio-controlled dinosaur or the roller-skates he got last Christmas - enjoyed for a day or two, then ignored.
Instead, it seems to provide enduring fascination.

I had returned from Nigeria not entirely convinced that the XO laptop was quite as wonderful an educational tool as its creators claimed.
I felt that a lot of effort would be needed by hard-pressed teachers before it became more than just a distracting toy for the children to mess around with in class.
But Rufus has changed my mind.
With no help from his Dad, he has learned far more about computers than he knew a couple of weeks ago, and the XO appears to be a more creative tool than the games consoles which occupy rather too much of his time.
The One Laptop Per Child project is struggling to convince developing countries providing computers for children is as important as giving them basic facilities like water or electricity.
Unusually, Rufus does not have an opinion about that controversy, but he does have a verdict on the laptop. "It's great," he says.

Tanzania Multiple Birth surprise

Two sets of quads, two lots of triplets and twins were born at a Tanzanian hospital, while experts in the country discussed Africa's growing population.
"Five mothers delivering a total of 16 babies at a go is a big surprise to us," Muhimbili Hospital paediatrician Augustine Massawe told the BBC.
They were all born premature, but should be able to go home with their families in two weeks, he said.
Hundreds of experts are looking at how to reduce Africa's population growth.
By 2050, sub-Saharan Africa's population may double if growth trends are not reversed.
Some 700 experts from around the world have been meeting in Arusha to discuss how Africa - which the UN estimates has a population of 850m - can cope with the knock-on effects of high population growth.
Twenty-six-year-old Ashura Athumani, who gave birth to quads, looked healthy but exhausted after the birth.
I remember once when a parent who had four children here - their husband ran away because he was so scared
Dr Augustine Massawe
She has three other children and expressed her concerns for the health of the newborn.
In the same ward, Mariam, 25, nursed her babies and said she was over the moon to have a set of triplets.
It was not until the later stages of her pregnancy that she found out that she was carrying three babies - as in Tanzania not every woman is given an early scan.
She added that there would be financial problems ahead as she and her husband had not been prepared for more than one baby in their first year of marriage.
Dr Massawe says the parents will have to face many challenges head on in their effort to raise their new children.
"It's like a crisis in the family - imagine you've got four babies in one go," he said.
"I remember once when a parent who had four children here - their husband ran away because he was so scared."
Recently Muhimbili Hospital came in for unwanted media attention after a man died in a surgical mix-up involving two people with the same first name. One needed brain surgery, the other a knee operation.
Patients are now tagged with their name when admitted.