Malawi Develops Ebola Action Plan, Says Minister of Health
Zimbabwe: ED to Headline Gweru Clean-Up
Zimbabwe: Support Agriculture, Businesses Told
Rwanda's Commitment to Peacekeeping Remains Intact 15 Years On
'Palestine issue must be settled according to two-state solution,' Egypt's Sisi tells US Senator Graham
Tozeur: Saharan tourist village to be inaugurated in September
Framework agreement for achievement of 2nd generation of neighbouhoods' rehabilitation and integration programme inked
The New Times – Rwanda
It has been quite a rollercoaster journey, a treacherous path; from the savannah of Umutara, the steep hills and valleys of Byumba to the volcanoes.
Hunger was an extra enemy to conquer, a constant companion, and there was no time to grieve fallen comrades; the young men and women had a greater task of saving Rwanda from itself. The signs were visible clearly; the liberation struggle was inevitable since successive regimes had adamantly refused to welcome back Rwandan refugees peacefully.
Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF)-Inkotanyi had no option but to force the government’s hand towards the negotiation table. The government sat down albeit reluctantly; it was purely buying time to plan and execute the crime of the century; the extermination of an entire ethnic group.
Yes, a few survivors managed to escape, but the macabre plan worked out efficiently. The genocidal forces managed to deal the Tutsi a devastating blow that many survivors have never managed to fully recover from.
The RPF had a daunting task ahead of it; it was fighting a war on one side and saving lives and stopping the Genocide on the other. But the Unknown Soldier’s determination, resilience and bravery won the day.
The blood that quenched the battlefields between 1990 and 1994 was not shed for nothing; it has been lubricating this country’s recovery engines.
25 years later, the country has been transformed; spiritually, psychologically and economically. Mechanisms have been put in place to pave way for the next generation to continue building on a firm foundation.
This country refused to be pulled down and it is everyone’s hope that the youth are watching and learning. But whatever the case, the Unknown Soldier is looking over them jealously.
Sada El Balad English – Egypt
By: Nour El-Hoda Fouad
The Egyptian Minister of Environment, Dr. Yasmine Fouad, reviewed the Egyptian experience in achieving the principles of the green economy during her speech at the meeting of the regional forum of the green economy in Bahrain.
The minister considered that the consistency of government policies with legislation and creating incentives for the market as well as changing the language of dialogue between institutions related to the environment was one of the most important elements of the success of the experiment, especially with work on the plan of international commitments for sustainable development.
She also noted that the goals of sustainable development will be achieved only by giving priority to natural resources and products that support the poor and small enterprises. She stressed the imperative of the global green economy as one of the most important mechanisms of sustainable development to combat the depletion of resources and the threat of food and water security and the deterioration of environmental indicators, climate change and desertification sweeping the planet.
The forum is being held with the participation of 20 Arab countries among Arab environment ministers and government representatives, in addition to a number of scientists and environmental specialists, headed by Dr. Mohammed Mubarak, Executive Chairman of the Supreme Council for Environment in the Kingdom of Bahrain and Mr. Abdullah Al Khalifa, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The forum will continue from July 2nd to 4th at the Gulf Hotel with a basic agenda to improve the regulatory framework for achieving the green economy and supporting green investments, activating partnerships between the public and private sectors, and exploring ways of developing local communities to inject more effective solutions for the green economy.
The Herald – Zimbabwe
By: Charles Dhewa
If developing countries are going to only recognise and respect research results from formal research institutes and universities, they will continue excluding diverse voices and stifling ambition. While formal institutions in Africa are doing their thing, ordinary people in farming communities, fishing villages and informal markets are creatively shaping their own future and adapting in the moment.
It is unfortunate that the conventional notion of research does not arm ordinary people with principles of conducting research that informs their daily lives in ways that inform national policy.
The surprising power of genuine consultation
Getting ordinary people to answer questions does not require a sophisticated consultancy firm using imported methodologies, but simple tools and consultative processes. When key economic actors like farmers and informal traders participate and contribute in such research, it becomes easy for Government to come up with informed monetary policies owned by the majority.
Economic fundamentals like currency are an example of public knowledge which should be understood by every citizen starting from a tender age. Such knowledge can speed up adoption and implementation of policies. Implementers are people on the ground who face different contexts daily and any changes in monetary policies directly affects their daily lives.
Injecting relevance in agricultural research
The need to democratise research is more telling in African agriculture. Inasmuch as knowledge is said to be in research institutes, chemical companies and seed companies, when such knowledge comes down to farmers, it is brought more as remedies like drought-tolerant varieties or chemicals to control diseases and pests. There is scant explanation why the recommended seed varieties are drought-tolerant and why other seed varieties do not have the same characteristics or why chemicals have an expiry date.
Communities are wondering why experts are failing to control fall armyworm with local medicines. A question being asked repeatedly by farmers is: What is in fall armyworm that makes it resistant to all existing ways of controlling it without having to resort to imported chemicals?
In the absence of convincing scientific explanations, farmers in Gokwe North have been quietly conducting their own experiments to kill fall armyworm by inserting grains of sand in the heart of the maize plant in which the fall armyworm will have created a home for itself.
The thinking among the experimenting farmers is that sand will squeeze and suffocate the pest as it tries to feed or move. Farmers in Gokwe and Hurungwe districts of Zimbabwe are also experimenting with different ways of controlling American bollworm which they have given a nickname “Madzibaba” because of its white presence resembling clothing used worn by members of the apostolic sect.
Those in tomato production are also quietly grappling with diverse ways of controlling tuta absoluta.
The fact that formal research is not providing adequate answers does not only fuel local experiments, but increases speculation among farmers that new diseases and pests are being manufactured by chemical companies so that they can continue selling different chemicals as remedies.
After decades struggling with cattle ticks, farmers continue to wonder why science and formal research has not found a permanent solution. They notice that some researchers have been making a living from researching and studying the same pests for decades.
Why should pests and weevils like maize grain borer be part of a syllabus for 30 years when such insects should be controlled or killed? By now, such pests would have been removed from the university syllabus if there had been commitment to using research in finding permanent solutions.
Farmers and ordinary people may be forgiven when they think that research has become more for business and academic excellence than a source of solutions.
Structures as knowledge, research pathways
Since not all research findings or pieces of knowledge can be conveyed through conventional extension methods, there is scope for using political and Government structures as pathways for sharing knowledge and research findings with ordinary people who are supposed to be the consumers of research-driven knowledge. Most African countries have the same structures.
On the political side are councilors or local authorities and Members of Parliament connected with the grassroots. On the other hand, some Government departments have representatives at village level, for example agricultural extension officers and village health workers, as well as veterinary officers and nurses.
More than 60 percent of these officers need re-training if they are to convey fluid research knowledge in the digital era.
Embedding financial literacy
Wherever the above service providers go they use money. That means financial literacy should be part of ordinary people’s knowledge. Unfortunately, many African countries are locking core facilities in silos for different economic sectors like agriculture, environment and health.
They are not building the financial component into service provision yet behind every service are budgetary and monetary issues which should be known by ordinary consumers of the services. Supply trends for services are affected by budgetary implications.
For instance, because farmers do not know financial underpinnings of the extension worker, when an extension officer does not show up, they will just say, “Our extension officer is very lazy”, yet his/her failure to deliver services is being affected by budgetary issues.
Likewise, behind NGO programmes are budgetary and monetary implications which communities are entitled to know. When commodities coming into communities are more expensive than elsewhere, local people blame the store owner who brings the commodities just as farmers blame the traders in the market when commodity prices remain low.
When ordinary consumers do not understand underlying budgetary and financial issues related to availing goods and services, they blame the service provider yet service providers like agro-dealers are messengers of budgetary and financial issues.
There is no platform for sharing the message behind the message. Failure to use research in clarifying these issues invites political implications based on lack of correct information and knowledge.
Localising research can ensure knowledge flows from the grassroots frequently. The Government should focus on consolidating solutions from the ground such that if those solutions go back as feedback, communities quickly buy-in because they recognise their contributions.
Decolonising knowledge systems
One of the reasons formal research is not speaking to informal ordinary people’s daily research in most African countries is because knowledge structures and systems are still very colonial. For instance, think tanks and experts are still located at head offices in capital cities.
While the Ministry of Agriculture has largely been set up for farmers, an individual extension officer is expected to work with more than 100 farmers at the grassroots while economists and other professionals are based at the head office.
The extension officer is expected to be conversant with agriculture, energy, finance, environment, climate and many other issues that trouble farmers daily.
Of the more than 20 Government ministries, less than five have grassroots representation. In the digital era, why does the Ministry of ICTs not have an ICT officer at the grassroots?
The Ministry of Finance also does not have officers at village or district level. As a result, financial and ICT issues are left to financial institutions and mobile network operators who are mostly profit-oriented and not subscribe to the notion of knowledge as a public good.
As if the above is not enough, African countries are building universities that are disjointed from the ecosystem in which they exist and not bringing value into communities where they are located.
Why are local communities in which universities are located still struggling with commercial and financial issues when university students are studying those courses for at least four years? These universities should be conducting knowledge cafés in their surrounding communities and building knowledge hubs to address local people’s real like aspirations, challenges and opportunities.
Such knowledge should also inform educational curricular so that commerce and finance is taught at primary school than beginning at secondary level. Schoolchildren in the digital age have become conversant with foreign currency, exchange rates and mobile money at a tender age.
The New Times – Rwanda
By: Gen Patrick Nyamvumba
Today, Rwanda marks 25 years of anniversary since her liberation from the brutal genocidal regime. This date marked a significant stride in turning the course of political events in our country.
The consequences of the war and genocide remained enormous and required further endeavors, commitment and resilience in ensuring peace and security of the country and its people.
Rwanda Defence Force did not hesitate to take up the task and this was based on the understanding of the real meaning of national liberation.
This day is not only a moment to celebrate the victory, but it also offers an opportunity for everybody to reflect on the past experience of our history to enable us create and enforce a better posture for eminent future challenges in the defence of our nation and its people.
Twenty-five years down the road, Rwanda Defence Force has unceasingly embarked on consolidating its various forms of resources to ensure the national sovereignty and integrity as well security of the people as per its core mandate.
The day further avails a moment to recall the sacrifices made for the liberation, recovery and prosperity of our country.
Rwanda Defence Force has for the past years, been actively participating in a number of socio-economic programs aimed at national transformation.
Participation in human security programmes initiated by the government is founded on the understanding of their role in ensuring sustainable Defence and security in the broader perceptive.
This has formed the rationale for the partnership with various government agencies in ensuring better livelihood of the citizens the force stands to defend.
The challenges encountered by Rwanda Defence Force over the years, have induced a spirit of more endurance and commitment to contain any undesirable attempt to disrupt the peace, security, development, order and stability the people have sacrificed for and built over the two decades.
With the prevailing stable situation in the country, support to, and cooperation with other stakeholders to ensure a long-term prosperity of the nation shall be among RDF priorities as it is today and for years to come.
On this note, the Rwanda Defence Force and its leadership uphold the commitment to defend the country’s achievements, preserve cooperation with other institutions and the population to ensure the prosperity of Rwanda together as a nation.
Happy liberation day to all of us.