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Pambazuka News 220: Aid dependence and the MDGs

The authoritative electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa

This is part one of this week's Pambazuka News.

The second part of the newsletter, headed Pambazuka News: Links and Resources, will be published on Friday and includes the remaining categories that form a part of the existing newsletter.

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Pambazuka News is the authoritative electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa providing cutting edge commentary and in-depth analysis on politics and current affairs, development, human rights, refugees, gender issues and culture in Africa.

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CONTENTS: 1. Action alerts, 2. Features, 3. Comment & analysis, 4. Advocacy & campaigns, 5. Pan-African Postcard, 6. Books & arts, 7. Letters & Opinions, 8. Blogging Africa, 9. Women & gender, 10. Human rights, 11. Refugees & forced migration, 12. Elections & governance, 13. Corruption, 14. Development, 15. Health & HIV/AIDS, 16. Education, 17. Environment, 18. Media & freedom of expression, 19. Conflict & emergencies, 20. Internet & technology, 21. eNewsletters & mailing lists, 22. Fundraising & useful resources, 23. Courses, seminars, & workshops, 24. Global call to action against poverty

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Action alerts

Featured in this issue


In search of MDG progress

In September 2000, 189 world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration. They committed to "free all men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty".

In pursuit of this noble end, eight Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) were developed to: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; Achieve universal primary education; Promote gender equality and empower women; Reduce child mortality; Improve maternal health; Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; Ensure environmental sustainability; and Develop a global partnership for development. The deadline set for achieving these goals was 2015.

From 14-16 September 2005, the United Nations will host a Millennium+5 Summit to evaluate the progress towards the MDGs. Perhaps not surprisingly in a world where global agreements are not often worth the paper they are written on, world leaders will find a litany of broken promises and lack of political commitment. In Africa, it is estimated that some of the goals won’t be met until the middle half of the next century, at current rates of progress.

It doesn’t look like world leaders are likely to make any great efforts to change this rate of progress. A draft declaration for a UN text on the MDGs looks unlikely to get agreement after the US made demands that are seen by some as a reversal of the draft declaration and difficult to accommodate.

This week, our collection of articles in the Editorial and Comment and Analysis sections, tackle the MDGs, examining them from the perspective of aid dependency, women’s rights, and their application to grassroots communities. Throughout many of the articles, a clear trend emerges. Without debt cancellation, fair terms of trade and increased resource flows, Africa is unlikely to achieve the MDGs.

EDITORIAL: Demba Moussa Dembele explains the hidden political and economic costs of the aid dependency syndrome
- The MDGs can advance women’s rights only if they adopt a rights-based approach, argues Yifat Susskind
- Esther Mwaura-Muiru goes looking for the role of grassroots communities in the MDGs
- The MDGs might be flawed but “they’re all we’ve got and they’re worth striving for” says Ezra Mbogori
- Cancellation of debt, increased resource flows and fair trade are needed to make the MDGs a reality, writes Charles Mutasa
- It’s not all doom and gloom, Hellen Tombo believes. Some of the MDGs can be achieved
- Rebecca Ajabo Asaba wonders how many hundreds of years Africa will have to wait before the global economic, financial and trade architecture is restructured
- Find out how Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia are doing in their efforts to reach the MDGs
LETTERS: Capitalism as genocide, indigenous as relevant, poverty and injustice
PAN-AFRICAN POSTCARD: Hurricane Katrina could teach the US that it is a co-tenant in the world and not a landlord, writes Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem
- The US response to Katrina, links for further information and fundraising sources
BLOGGING AFRICA: Bloggers get poetic
GLOBAL CALL TO ACTION AGAINST POVERTY: 300 000 say NO! to poverty in Accra, find out about an event near you for White Band Day 2, Use your cellphone to demand an end to poverty
CONFLICT&EMERGENCIES: Hunger threatens southern Africa
HUMAN RIGHTS: Rich countries hold world hostage on human rights
REFUGEES: Improving decision-making in asylum determination
WOMEN&GENDER: Progress of the world's women 2005: women, work & poverty
DEVELOPMENT: UN MDG report urges global leaders to avoid 'one more empty promise'
HEALTH&HIV/AIDS: In search of an HIV/AIDS vaccine
ENVIRONMENT: Export subsidies for dams: a Trojan horse for environmental destruction
ADVOCACY&CAMPAIGNS: Sign a letter to President of Botswana Festus Mogae urging him to reverse his expulsion of academic Prof. Kenneth Good
PLUS…Internet, Courses, Fundraising, Jobs and Books.


Aid dependence and the MDGs

Demba Moussa Dembélé


Meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) requires billions of dollars. The fix-all solution often mentioned is simply to increase aid flows. Demba Moussa Dembele critiques the foreign aid industry, explaining why aid is more of an enemy than a friend, how aid dependency has been augmented by IMF and World Bank conditions and what the hidden political and economic costs are for African countries.

Comment & analysis

A rights-based approach to the MDGs

Yifat Susskind


Yifat Susskind explains why, if the MDGs are to be a tool for advancing women’s human rights, they will have to adopt a rights-based approach that goes beyond improving statistical indicators to addressing the root causes of human rights violations.

Grassroots Communities and the MDG Framework

Esther Mwaura-Muiru


Esther Mwaura-Muiru introduces two women’s self help groups in Kenya and asks why the contribution of thousands of grassroots organisations are not recognized in helping to achieve the Millennium Devolvement Goals.

MDGs: a case for pragmatism?


For Ezra Mbogori, writing off all southern debt, changing the trade regime and raising the level of aid constitute three of the four major steps necessary to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and these are the responsibility of the North, not the South. The fourth step is addressing issues of governance. But behind the MDGs are larger moral and intellectual implications for the North as well as the South, he believes, which relate to finding out how lifestyles can be informed by the basic principles of sustainability and social justice.

Meeting the MDGs in Sub-Saharan Africa

Charles Mutasa


Africa's development indicators are a worrying sign that progress towards the MDGs is lagging. Unconditional cancellation of all debt, the commitment of greater resources to the continent by rich countries, a reformed international trading system and the voices of African people at the centre of the process will all be essential to reinvigorating progress towards the MDGs, says Charles Mutasa.

Snapshots on the MDGs: Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia



Education – According to the UNDP, school enrolment rates in Egypt increased during the 1990s, and between 1995 and 2002 the enrolment rates in primary education for boys improved by 5% and 9% for girls. However, in rural areas, the illiteracy rate for females is almost twice that of males (15.5 and 8%, respectively) for children aged 12 to 15. For those aged between 15 and 25, literacy rates have improved for males, by about 12% and 25% for females. As is the case for children, adult literacy rates vary greatly by region, but on average, the estimated illiteracy rate for the entire population of Egypt (15 years and older) dropped only from 25.7% in 2000 to 24.3% in 2003. The UNDP report of 2004 identified barriers to education, which involve the conditions of school facilities, the methods by which students are taught and the implemented curriculum.

Gender - While girls and women are integrating themselves into Egypt’s educational system at a reasonable rate, their participation in the economy lags behind. The gender composition in the economy is more balanced in urban areas. According to the UNDP, the unemployment rates for women decreased from 23.8% in 1995 to 22.6% in 2001, when the rate for men was 5.6%. Politically, Egypt lags behind in terms of the number of women involved in government. There is only a 2.4% representation of women in the People Assembly and 8% in the Shura Council. The Egyptian government is, however, drafting a new election law that may include measures to ensure increasing numbers of women in parliamentary seats.

Health –The infant morality rate dropped from 44 out of 1000 live births to 38 and for children under 5. The eradication of Malaria and TB are showing good progress in Egypt, as Malaria has been under control for almost 10 years, while Tuberculosis only has an infection rate of about 32 cases per 100 000 people. The UNDP report states that HIV/AIDS rates are low in Egypt, at 0.01 percent, but there is a problem with Hepatitis C. Some villages have prevalence rates as high as 57%, and strong public awareness raising campaigns as well as infection control programs are needed to reverse this trend.


Education – School enrolment rates for primary and junior secondary school in Nigeria fluctuated immensely between 1990 and 2000, according to the UNDP’s 2004 report. Enrolment increased between 1990 and 1994 from 68% to 86%, but declined to 70% in 1996. Literacy rates have also deteriorated for the population as a whole, falling from 58% in 1990 to 49% in 2001. Literacy rates among women and girls for this same time period fell from 44% to 41%. The UNDP report states that the challenges faced by the education system include resource and institutional constraints, poverty, culture and the quality of teaching.

Gender – Participation of women in secondary and tertiary education is limited, according to the UNDP, which has an overall effect on the involvement of women in stable wage employment and economic empowerment, although data shows that women are becoming increasingly represented in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector. Membership of women in politics is also limited, with only 1 woman out of 57 in the Senate and 3 of 445 in the Federal House of Representatives.

Health – Not a lot of progress has been made in reducing child mortality in Nigeria, according to the UNDP report. Under-five mortality rates have deteriorated since the 1990s and are now at rates of 243 and 153 out of 1000 births for urban and rural areas, respectively. It is very unlikely than Nigeria will be able to meet its goals for this target, due to obstacles such as poverty, low access to health care facilities, HIV/AIDS and poor maternal health. The HIV/AIDS rates for Nigeria are high, with estimates of between 3.2 to 3.8 million adults and children living with the disease at the end of 2003. In response, Nigeria’s HIV & AIDS Emergency Action Plan aims to increase awareness, promote behavioral change, foster community specific action plans, promote care and support, mitigate the effect of the disease, monitor and produce research.

South Africa

Education – Enrolment rates in primary and secondary schools compare favorably with developed countries, at around 95%. However, there are low rates of high school completion for South Africans, and over half of high school graduates are white. The difference in attendance rates between girls and boys is nominal, according to the UNDP report of 2003, and in some cases is even higher for girls. The adult illiteracy rate for the whole of the country in 1991 was 14.6%, but has today fallen, with over 96% of the population literate.

Gender – While gender parity is at an acceptable level in the educational sphere, men dominate senior employment opportunities, and in turn, earn higher wages. Thus, women are relinquished to lower paying and less skilled positions. This can be seen in the decline of women in senior or managerial positions from 26.3% to 22.7% (1995 to 2001). The UNDP report states that politically, women hold almost one third or all seats in South Africa’s national parliament, comparing favorably to other developed countries.

Health – Under-five mortality has decreased in South Africa, from 93 to 70 per 1000 births, between 1990 and 1000, which is in line with the target of reducing child mortality by two thirds. This number was, however, higher in rural areas, with large disparities between the provinces. HIV/AIDS is an extremely pressing issue for South Africa, with one of the highest prevalence rates in the world. In 2002 an estimated 5.3 million people were infected. The UNDP report states that the areas that South Africa has targeted for improvement include prevention, treatment, care and support and research monitoring and surveillance.


Education – Zambia is experiencing reversals in educational attainment, with the primary net enrolment ration dropping by 4% between 1990 and 2003. However, the proportion of students reaching grade 7 increased from 64% to 73% between 2000 and 2003. Literacy rates for girls continue to be lower than those of males. A significant reason for these rates is the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which has caused a decline in the number of teachers, besides other obvious consequences. Rural schools suffer more than urban areas, due to overcrowding and lack of resources. The 2003 UNDP report states that Zambia’s government has attempted to reverse these trends through the partnership of various organizations, both public and private sector.

Gender – The full participation of girls and women in secondary levels of education due to early marriage, pregnancy and domestic chores has resulted in fewer female university graduates, directly impacting the number of women in skilled, non-agricultural jobs. According to the UNDP, the number of women in Parliament has increased from 6% in 1991 to 12% in 2001, but remains below the target of 30%.

Health - In 1992 the infant mortality rate was 107 per 1000 births, but has dropped to 95 in 2002. Under-five mortality has dropped from 191 to 168 per 1000 births between 1992 and 2002, according to the UNDP. Malaria, inadequate health services and the high incidence rate of HIV/AIDS are some of the leading factors in infant and under-five mortality, but the Zambian government plans on instituting National Immunization Days, an Integrated Management of Childhood Infection Program, prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and nutrition and breastfeeding support programmes.


Education – Rates of enrolment in primary school jumped dramatically from 32% in 1990 to 57.4% in 2000, meaning that it will be possible for the Ethiopian government to meet the target goal, according to the 2005 UNDP report. The number of females enrolled in primary schools has also increased, from 29.4% to 52% between 1990 and 2000.

Health – Rates for under-five mortality have decreased, from 190 out of 1000 births in 1990 to 167 in 2000, and maternal mortality has decreased from 1400 in 100 000 births to somewhere between 500 and 700 in 2000. The HIV/AIDS rates, in 2000, sat at 7.3%, which is on target for the goals, according to the UNDP.

* Compiled by Karoline Kemp, Fahamu

The good, the bad and the possibility of the MDGs

Hellen Tombo


The MDGs are characterized by a top-down approach, fail to recognize the intangible aspects of poverty and distract from the macro-economic constraints poor countries experience in accessing finance. Despite this, some of the goals are achievable and there is no excuse for missing them, writes Hellen Tombo. Committed leadership, stronger partnerships, extra money, debt cancellation, infrastructure development and deeper participation by the poor can all play a role.

The road to the Millennium Development Goals

Rebecca Ajabo Asaba


Just how long are the poor of Africa expected to wait for poverty to be defeated? asks Rebecca Ajabo Asaba. Until 2015? Not likely – according to current projections it will take hundreds of years for Africa to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Ajabo Asaba states that that before it is too late, the entire global economic, financial and trade architecture needs to be restructured.

Advocacy & campaigns

Appeal to H.E. Festus Mogae, President of the Republic of Botswana

Re: Deportation of Prof. Kenneth Good


"President Mogae, we urge you to reconsider and – if only on moral and humanitarian grounds – to revoke your earlier decision to declare Prof. Good a prohibited immigrant. Let him allow to return to his workplace and home. Allow him to finish his contractual obligations with the University of Botswana until the end of 2006. This would also allow him to reunite with his daughter, who by then will be able to complete her schooling in Gaborone. Show your citizens and the wider world that the notion of good governance is not a foreign word to you and that academic freedom and the freedom of opinion are precious goods protected by your government."

Protest over Violence Against Women in The Herald Newsrooms


"The undersigned organizations who are subscribers and readers of The Herald on a daily basis write to protest in the strongest terms violence against women in your newsrooms. As civic society organizations we are gravely worried that civilized spaces like your newsrooms and offices have become unsafe and hostile spaces for women in your employ."

Pan-African Postcard

Hurricane Katrina: Lessons for the US

Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem


Hurricane Katrina could become a catalyst for global cooperation if only the US would learn from the disaster that it is co-tenant in the world and not a landlord. In the meantime, writes Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, Africans have a duty to show solidarity towards the victims of the natural disaster.

US response to Hurricane Katrina: From rogue state to failed state


Troops began combat operations to take the city back. Snipers fired on rescue helicopters. Refugee camps housed thousands of homeless. This was the scene in New Orleans over the last week in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which killed hundreds, left thousands homeless and destroyed New Orleans as it ripped through the Gulf region. As with any disaster, focus turned quickly to the rescue efforts, and it wasn’t long before the Bush Administration came under fire for a lacklustre response to the rescue effort.

Critics were quick to point out that the Bush Administration’s slow response to the disaster was a clear indication of their racial bias, given that New Orleans was a majority Afro-American city. Not only that, but the media quickly seized on images of looters, mainly black, without providing the context that people were without food and had to feed themselves. The events that transpired in New Orleans somehow removed a veneer and exposed a hidden side of American race relations – and it wasn’t pretty.

Writing for Znet, Justin Podur, in questioning the naming of Katrina victims as refugees in their own country, ( explained the response by describing a “cruel nationalism” that had emerged amongst elites after 9/11, whose first impulse was to “blame foreigners, and then to strike out at them, expel them, and bomb them”.

But unlike in Afghanistan or Iraq, there were no outside forces to blame for Katrina and so the poor and predominantly black population who desperately needed assistance came into the firing line. “The government’s response to Katrina was a different kind of racism: not hatred of foreigners, but contempt and utter disregard for Black people’s lives, and for the extraordinary city they had made,” wrote Podur.

He went on to write: “It seems that the American government is treating Black Americans on the Gulf Coast with the contempt that it normally reserves for the citizens of other countries. After decades of struggle and sacrifice for the right to be full American citizens, Black people are being treated like the rest of the world is treated - as problems to be solved as cheaply as possible, not fellow citizens and human beings with dignity.”

The disaster has exposed the myth of America as the land of wealth and equality. Calling America a “failed state”, Dan La Botz, in an article for the online magazine Counterpunch (, wrote: “Every American city harbors millions of people with high rates of unemployment, low incomes, poor housing, no health insurance, low levels of education. In the United States 25 percent of our children are raised in poverty. Nearly 50 million people have no health insurance.” If this was the picture of a neo-liberal success story, where did that leave the rest of the world on the path to trickle down nirvana? Katrina focused attention on the seedier side of American society often obscured by the corporate media.

The implications went further than exposing the apartheid nature of American society, however. One of the reasons advanced for the sluggish response to the disaster was the Bush administration's focus on the ‘war on terror’ and its aggressive promotion of corporate globalization. Not only had this undermined rescue efforts because emergency personal were depleted, but it had also eaten into the soul of American society. La Botz wrote: “The United States, the failed state, is so because it was first a rogue state. The United States failed to sign the Kyoto Treaty, the International Court of Justice treaty, or the land mines treaty. The United States violated international law with its wars in Iraq and Iran, and with its unsuccessful coup d,état in Venezuela. What has happened over time has been that the general distortion of ethics and values in foreign policy has also seeped into domestic policy.”

Compiled by Pambazuka News. For more analysis on Katrina and the latest news from New Orleans, visit the following websites:,5936,16476747%255E401,00.html

Hurricane Katrina: Tides Rapid Response

Tides Rapid Response Fund works to help fill the funding gaps where community groups or underserved populations may be overlooked. The Rapid Response Fund pools donors' resources to increase the impact of their giving and our staff researches and distributes the funds as quickly and strategically as possible. As always, Tides staff will work closely with groups to identify how money can best be distributed, looking for effective grassroots and advocacy organizations working for short-term relief and long-term structural change.

You can make an instant online donation to Tides Rapid Response Fund for Hurricane Katrina Relief and Rebuilding. Just click the DonateNow button at the Tides Foundation website.

Katrina Aid: Support Community-based Relief & Reconstruction for Mississippi Delta Farmers & Fishworkers
The Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund (FSC), a member of Grassroots International’s ally the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), has set up an Emergency Relief Fund for relief and long-term reconstruction to help Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama farmers rebuild facilities and markets and help with direct emergency assistance for housing, food and water. GRI will be making a solidarity grant to support this effort. To find out how to donate, visit

Books & arts

Africa Development: New Issue Published


This issue includes:
* The Alternative Genealogy of Civil Society and Its Implications for Africa:
Notes for Further Research by Ebenezer Obadare, id=22293
* The Role of NGOs in Fostering Development and Good Governance at the Local Level in Africa with a Focus on Kenya by Walter O Oyugi, id=22294
* The Politics of Marginal Forms: Popular Music, Cultural Identity and Political Opposition in Kenya by Peter Wafula Wekesa, id=22297
Visit Africa Development at

HIV/AIDS, Human Rights and Law

Network for Justice for Justice and Democracy


The Network for Justice for Justice and Democracy, a Nigeria- based NGO dedicated to promoting and defending reproductive rights, the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS and gender equlaity is pleased to announce its publication titled "HIV/AIDS, Human Rights and Law".

Languages of Instruction for African Emancipation

Edited by Brock-Utne, Birgit and Hopson, Rodney Kofi


With rhetoric in the twenty-first century focused on the African Renaissance, the central role of language in the development and emancipation of the continent seems to have taken a backseat. The fact that many countries on the continent are operating with pre-independent and colonial language policies is catastrophic to large numbers of people who are not in a position to participate in the political democracies of their countries. This collection of case studies from seven African countries poses questions such as: What alternatives are there for educational language policies towards African emancipation?

The Vitality of Karamojong Religion

by Ben Knighton


How long can a traditional religion survive the impact of world religions, state hegemony, and globalization? The ‘Karamoja problem’ is one that has perplexed colonial and independent governments alike. Now Karamojong notoriety for armed cattle raiding has attracted the attention of the UN and USAID since the proliferation of small arms in the pastoralist belt across Africa from Sudan to stateless Somalia is deemed a threat to world security. The consequences are ethnocidal, but what makes African peoples stand out against state and global governance?

Letters & Opinions

Capitalism as genocide

Sokari Ekine


Despelchin's article is an excellent analysis on the correlation between capitalism and genocide - not just genocides that happened on "individual" scales such as the holocaust and Rwandan genocide, but the systematic genocide that is an ongoing dehumanization of the planet.

“There is a tendency, even among the most critical voices not to see the connections between what could be described as the inaugural homelessness of the Amerindians and the African’s Hitler’s lebensraum, today's homelessness in the richest countries of the Planet and the same phenomenon in the streets of Fallujah, Palestine and South Africa".

This statement reminded me of a comment on my blog Black Looks, in response to the now famous speech by Mrs. Anthony Fatayi Williams whose son had been murdered by the London bombers of 7th July. A few days later my son's uncle was murdered having been shot 4 times by armed robbers in front of his two very young children and his wife in Abuja, Nigeria. Most of the comments I received condemned Islam and Muslims rather than the individuals who actually committed the act, the usual Islamophobic diatribe. My son came in on the discussion and attempted quite eloquently to make a connection between the London bombers and the robbers who had killed his uncle and the system that underpinned these kind of acts whether in London, Fallujah or Lagos.

Unfortunately, everyone missed the point in their blind dash to only see the superficial which feeds their prejudices and naivety. The AIDS pandemic that is killing millions of Africans today is one example of the genocidal nature of capitalism. The refusal to allow cheap generic drugs over expensive brand name drugs, lack of access to medical care, poorly equipped hospitals and clinics, poverty and unfit housing are all part of the system that feeds off and destroys humanity. Another more recent example is the racial drama played out in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, where we were presented with the most disgraceful treatment of poor African Americans reminding us that the mind of white America is still cast in that of the slave master, albeit recast and modernized.

Thank you for this excellent piece of writing.

Indigenous as relevant

Clive Nettleton


Angela Khaminwa's article 'On the Margins: Indigenous as relevant' is very interesting indeed. Our organisation, Health Unlimited, has extensive programmes working with indigenous peoples in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the question on the relevance of the term indigenous in Africa is one that is being debated internally in the organisation next week. I intend to use her article as a reference, but would be interested in following up on some of the issues.

Keeping the spirit of Africa alive

Jean Jacques Ngandu


Since refugee week last June I have started visiting your website and I must congratulate you for the wonderfull job you are doing in informing millions of people around the continent. Keep up the good work and the spirit of Africa alive.

Participating in Pambazuka

Myra Sidika Karani


I am a gender activist and your e-newsletter is good in terms of addressing issues affecting women and the girl child.I would like to be receiving the newsletter and also be among the contributors especially when it comes to issues affecting young women. I look forward to participating in this space.
Myra Sidika Karani, Kenya

PZ Replies: Thanks for your email. Contributions are welcome and can be set to [email protected]

Poverty an injustice

Alieu Darboe


I fervently believe that the massive poverty existing in Africa, and the world, is an injustice; that it will take deliberate and conscious concerted efforts to establish and reap the goals of social justice.
Alieu Darboe, The Gambia

Blogging Africa

Africa Blog Roundup

Sokari Ekine


The African blogging scene is as diverse in its content as it is in its representations of culture and politics. One of the great things about blogs and blogging is that anyone of us can become a writer, poet, political or sports commentator, book or film reviewer or just write and publish our daily lives online.

Mshairi is a Kenyan blogger who has taken up the mantle of poetry and journal writing on her blog. I visit Mshairi regularly as it is a haven of tranquillity to read her poems and posts and I would like to invite Pambazuka readers to join me there.
A year ago today this blog was begun. Out came the pad and the purple (ink) pen. In total I have posted more than 50 poems. Of the poems, I have a growing group of anonymous people who trust me enough to send me theirs. 150 posts on life and love and on women, on Africa and on people. In between are the posts on music, books, Star Trek, science fiction...Inspired by people already in my life and those I met through blogging, I have written about the little things that make sense and big things that did not.

On a heavier note I thought I would do a short roundup of what African bloggers are saying about Hurricane Katrina.
Mental acrobatics points out that Halliburton of Dick Cheney fame (remember them?) have been given the first of many contracts for rebuilding after Katrina.

The Sand Monkey gives us an excellent web roundup of Katrina and the fallout….

And for what has to be an act of extreme stupidity, Kanye West blasts Bush in the Middle of a live-televised Benefit for the Red Cross, claiming that he doesn’t care about black people and that the government is delaying the aid because the victims are black, which cause the Phone lines to be filled with complaints instead of donations. But then again, what do you expect from the son of a former Black Panther who believes the CIA gives people AIDS?

Too bad that I like his music.

Meskel Square blogging from Ethiopia reminds us...

Just in case anyone needs one after New Orleans, here is another reminder that nature can be a very scary thing…..At least thirteen people were killed after being hit by hail stones and washed away by floods in Alaba Special Woreda in SNNPR on Saturday, August 27.

Soul South asks the question What is racism?

One of my favourite blogs, Language Log, points to some racism in Louisiana by means of an animated image. This is, after all, Language Log, so it begins with a comparison of the two words Finding and Looting. Watch, read and decide whether its racism or not. Click on the "juxtaposition of photos and captions" link. People have responded to this and Language Log duly posts their reactions. My reaction? That's Racism!

Women & gender

Africa/Global: Progress of the world's women 2005: women, work & poverty


This report marks the fifth anniversary of the UN Millennium Declaration and the tenth anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action. It argues that unless governments and policymakers pay more attention to employment, and its links to poverty, the campaign to make poverty history will not succeed, and the hope for gender equality will founder on the reality of women’s growing economic insecurity. The report makes the case for an increased focus on women’s informal employment as a key pathway to reducing poverty and strengthening women’s economic security. It provides data on the size and composition of the informal economy and compares national data on average earnings and poverty risk across different segments of the informal and formal workforces in six developing countries and one developed country to show the links between employment, gender and poverty. It looks at the costs and benefits of informal work and their consequences for women's economic security.

Africa/Global: Women, violence and health


This report discusses violence against women and girls as a major human rights scandal and a public health crisis. The authors contend that globally women are regularly beaten and sexually abused by intimate partners, family members, neighbours, and by people not known to them. They also suffer gender-based violence during and after conflicts and wars. The impact on women's health goes far beyond bruises, broken bones or even death. As well as causing physical suffering to women, such violence has a profound impact on women's psychological well-being, on their sexual and reproductive health and on the well-being and security of their families and communities. The cost in human terms is huge and also has an economic dimension.

Africa: Women’s Rights Crucial for UN Summit Agend(er)


Three international rights organisations have joined forces to ensure that women’s voices will be heard at the United Nations 2005 World Summit, scheduled to take place later this month (Sep. 14 to 16). The 'Gender Monitoring Group of the World Summit' is the brainchild of the Centre for Women's Global Leadership, located in the American state of New Jersey, the Fiji-based Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era - and the Women's Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO), which is headquartered in New York.

Swaziland: The role of women stirs debate at the reed dance


Throngs of young Swazi women and girls gathered on Sunday to deliver bundles of reeds cut a week earlier and transported on foot to the Queen Mother's residence in Eludzidzini. In recent years Swaziland's annual reed dance ceremony has become a focal point for criticism of King Mswati III's handling of his country's HIV crisis and the rights of his female subjects. The dance is often framed in the international media as serving little purpose other than a showcase of virgins, from which sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch can select yet another new bride.

Uganda: Uneven progress on gender equality


Uganda has been widely praised for having a constitution that reflects gender concerns. The 10-year-old document commits the country to affirmative action in the workplace, freedom from sexual discrimination and economic rights for women. It also allows for a commission to monitor whether government programmes discriminate on the basis of sex. In addition, Uganda has pledged to implement the United Nations' eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which include the promotion of gender equality by 2015. Nonetheless, progress towards real women's empowerment has been somewhat erratic in the East African country.

Human rights

Africa: Elite countries hold world hostage on human rights


Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam International have called on a small number of “spoiler” countries to stop holding the UN World Summit hostage over crucial measures on human rights, security, genocide and poverty reduction. These governments have thrown negotiations on the final outcome text into crisis just days away from the biggest meeting of world leaders in history, September 14-16 in New York.

Chad/Cameroon: Rights fear over giant oil scheme


Oil firms and African states have been accused of "contracting out" of their human rights obligations in Africa's biggest investment project. The Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline contract may impair the countries' ability to protect farmers, fishermen and others affected, Amnesty International says.

DRC: Authorities Must Prosecute the Murderers of Pascal Kabungulu Kibembi


The Congolese government's Commission of Enquiry into the murder of a prominent human rights activist has failed to bring justice, Human Rights Watch has said. The mandate of the Commission ended on September 6 without a report on its findings nor proposed actions to bring the perpetrators to justice. The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) set up the Commission of Enquiry following the assassination of Kabungulu Kibembi, executive secretary of Héritiers de la Justice (Heirs of Justice), a leading human rights organization in the eastern part of the country.

Namibia: Homophobia condemned

Namibia’s National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) statement


"As the principal human rights monitoring and advocacy body in the country, Namibia’s National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has condemned the homophobic incitements and utterances by Deputy Home Affairs and Immigration Minister Theopolina Mushelenga over the weekend. Addressing a public Heroes’ Day commemoration rally at Omaalala village, some 700 kilometers northwest of Windhoek on Saturday, Ms. Mushelenga reportedly accused sexual minorities of having been responsible for, inter alia, the country’s HIV/AIDS pandemic."

South Africa: Children’s right to health: Do they get what was promised?

Maylene Shung King


Children have been given significant political recognition in our democratic dispensation. The South African government has signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the child, promising to put children first and take concerted steps towards realizing their civil, political and socio-economic rights. In terms of a child’s right to health, Article 24 of the Convention obliges us to accord children the right to the “highest attainable standard of health”. In addition, we need to ensure the fulfillment of a number of other indivisible rights that directly impact on their health such as their right to a safe and clean environment and their right to food and shelter.

Southern/East Africa: Human rights and land


This article from Studies in Women's Law No. 57, produced by the Institute of Women's Law at the University of Oslo argues that land is a vital resource for rural livelihoods. “Establishing and clarifying land rights through formalisation has become a key issue in development policies that aim to promote more productive uses of land,” it says. The report looks at some land reform initiatives from a gendered human rights perspective.

Sudan: Arbitrary detentions remain widespread


Arbitrary arrests and detentions remain widespread in Sudan despite President Omar al-Bashir's promise to release all political prisoners and lift the nationwide state of emergency, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday. "The government promised [on 30 June] that the north-south peace accord would usher in a new day in Sudan, but we have yet to see it in the field of human rights," Peter Takirambudde, Africa director at the international advocacy organisation, said in a statement.

Refugees & forced migration

Benin: Addressing the urgent needs of Togo's refugees


According to news reports, some 40,000 Togolese refugees have so far fled into neighbouring Benin and Ghana since clashes broke out around the 24 April presidential polls. Over 60 per cent of the refugees are women, young people and children under five. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that about 200 refugees are currently being registered each week. To meet the continuing maternal health needs of the refugee population, the United Nations Population Fund, is working with Benin’s Government to set up health posts in refugee camps.

Central African Republic/Chad: Refugees flee mystery attacks


Until a few weeks ago, the population at Amboko was just under 14,000, but since violence broke out in CAR in early June, more than 8,000 new refugees have arrived. In total, there are now more than 40,000 refugees in this part of Chad. It is unclear who is behind the violence that is making people flee their homes. But all the refugees tell a very similar story: unidentified groups of armed men are storming villages in the far north of CAR, shooting randomly, looting homes and terrorising villagers.

Global: Improving decision-making in asylum determination


This paper takes as its starting point the assumption that variations in refugee status determination procedures and the use of evidence by national authorities and UNHCR lead to inconsistent and irregular results. It therefore aims to present a reasonable prescription of remedies, by which the application of the 1951 Refugee Convention definition can be made more consistent and predictable.

Uganda/Rwanda: Uganda plans to kick out 1,000 illegal Rwandan refugees


Ugandan authorities have told over 1,000 Rwandan asylum seekers to either appeal their unsuccessful applications for refugee status, offer themselves for repatriation or get ready for deportation. At the same time the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Kampala says the failure of Rwandan refugees in Uganda to return home this year has eaten into its budget and forced it to ask for more funds from Geneva outside of its annual budget.

Elections & governance

Egypt: Vote against the president say rights groups


Egyptians should boycott the coming presidential elections or vote for one of the opposition candidates, a group of local human rights organisations said on Saturday. In a joint statement, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (HRINFO), the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre, the Nadim Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, the National Association for Human Rights and Human Development, the Egyptian Association Against Torture, and Al-Fagr (Dawn) Institution, expressed their fears that the re-election of President Hosni Mubarak would only lead to more oppression.

Ethiopia: Ruling party named winner in final result of disputed poll


Ethiopia's ruling party has retained power after winning a majority of seats in national elections marred by violence and alleged fraud, according to final results released by the election board on Monday. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's ruling coalition, which has held power for 14 years, took 327 seats, winning another five-year term, the National Election Board of Ethiopia said.

Kenya: Referendum 'could be farce'


Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has been told if he campaigns for a "yes" vote then November's planned referendum for a new constitution will be a farce. Electoral Commission head Samuel Kivuitu said no-one could compete with the government and their allies. "The people should be left to decide for themselves," he said. The proposed new constitution has been criticised by the opposition and five members of Mr Kibaki's cabinet.

Liberia: Elections - Necessary but Not Sufficient


Liberia's presidential and legislative elections in October represent welcome progress but it would court disaster to consider them the end of the country's transformation, says the International Crisis Group (ICG). "The process can still easily fail if Liberians refuse to implement an intrusive economic governance mechanism or international partners pull out early. The UN, U.S., EU and World Bank need to stay the course."

Mozambique: Political clashes leave five dead


At least five people were killed and 16 others injured in Mozambique after supporters of the ruling Frelimo party and the main opposition Renamo clashed over disputed municipal elections, state radio said on Tuesday. The clashes in Mocimboa da Praia on Sunday and Monday followed May elections in the area won by Frelimo, Radio Mozambique said.

South Africa: ‘New UDF' sparks left debate


A great deal of excitement has been generated, among South Africa's general population and also in left-wing political and activist ranks, by the launch of what has been labelled by the mainstream media the “new United Democratic Front”. There are widely varying interpretations over exactly what and who - politically and organisationally - this “new UDF” represents, the character of its politics and potential, and whether or not it is a harbinger for a much-talked about split within the Tripartite Alliance - which consists of the ruling ANC and its “liberation movement” partners, the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) - leading to the formation of an independent, left political party to challenge the capitalist ANC.


Botswana: Corruption still a concern


The chairperson of the Mahalapye Business Council, Galerobale Letsatle has stated that though many studies have shown that Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa, corruption is still prevalent around the country. Addressing members of the Mahalapye business community during a one-day crime prevention workshop organised by the Mahalapye police recently, Letsatle said corrupt practices in the workplace makes it difficult to punish those who are promoting it.

Global: Back to basics: 10 myths about governance and corruption


Governance - which remains a sensitive and misunderstood topic - is now being given a higher priority in development circles. A few donors and international financial institutions (IFIs) have begun to work with some emerging economies to help reduce corruption, and encourage citizen voice, gender equality, and accountability. Click on the link to the article to find out what the 10 “myths” of corruption are.

Nigeria: We’ll stop corruption in oil industry


The Minister of Solid Minerals and Chairman of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, has said that the body is determined to wipe out corruption and unwholesome practices from the oil industry. Ezekwesili, who spoke while receiving the British High Commissioner, Richard Gozney in her office said, the hitherto inaccessible revenue records of the nation's oil and gas industry would henceforth become public notice.

Uganda: URA identifies tax evaders


In the first crackdown in 14 years, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has unearthed a racket by 70 commodity importers involved in a fraudulent practice leading to the loss of billions of shillings. The racket was uncovered after URA intercepted forged documents. Analysis of the documents shows that URA has been losing close to Shs2 billion in taxes every month.


Africa/Global: Social watch launches development report


Social Watch will launch its Annual Report 2005 this 12 September in New York. "Roars and Whispers. Gender and Poverty: Promises vs. Action" presents two new indexes to measure social development, and concludes that the targets set for 2015 as part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will not be met. The Social Watch report is being released on the eve of the United Nations General Assembly's 2005 World Summit, taking place 14 to 16 September, which will address, among other themes, the progress made so far in fulfilling the MDGs.

Africa/Global: UN report urges global leaders to avoid 'one more empty promise'


An annual report released by the United Nations Development Programme takes a critical look at the failure of the international community to make progress toward the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. The 2005 Human Development Report, "International Cooperation at a Crossroads: Aid, Trade and Security in an Unequal World," was launched this week prior to a UN summit on development this month in New York. By examining three pillars of international cooperation - aid, trade, and security - the report argues that none of the Millennium Goals will be achieved on time if the international community does not decide to make a serious effort towards overcoming social and income inequalities.

Kenya/Uganda: Row mars trade pact


Kenya has accused Uganda of violating the terms of a regional customs agreement that links the two countries with neighbouring Tanzania. The row comes eight months after the three nations launched the union in an attempt to revive the old East African Community, which collapsed in 1977. Under the agreement, Ugandan companies can import some Kenyan goods duty-free.

Malawi: DFID defends spending on consultants for aid projects


News that foreign consultants in Malawi are lavishly spending British aid money on hotels and meals has ignited controversy. The British Broadcasting Corporation reported that over a period of four years, some £586,423 (US $1 million) of a £3 million ($5.3 million) donation by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) to a project aimed at strengthening Malawi's parliament and civil society was spent on hotels, while another £126,062 ($226,395) went on meals. The UK's National Audit Office was reportedly contemplating an inquiry into DFID's use of foreign consultants.

Health & HIV/AIDS

Africa: In search of an HIV/AIDS vaccine

Remarks by Stephen Lewis, UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, delivered at the opening ceremony of the AIDS Vaccine 2005 International Conference


"Africa is the epicenter of the pandemic. Something, somewhere is profoundly out of whack. The world needs an AIDS vaccine more urgently than it needs any single medical discovery, and Africa needs it more than any other part of the world. But for some inexplicable reason, the consuming enthusiasm, the obsessive drive, the sheer, unrelenting passion for a vaccine is simply not riveting the world at large as should be and must be the case."

Ethiopia: Sharp rise in reported polio cases


The number of reported polio cases in Ethiopia has risen sharply from two to 16 this year, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) reported. The first two cases were children living close to the border with Sudan, where a polio outbreak was reported in December 2000.

Ghana: Invalids turned away from hospitals as doctors strike


New patients are being refused treatment at state hospitals across Ghana where a strike by doctors demanding back payment for overtime work went into a fifth day on Wednesday. At Ghana's main Korle Bu hospital in the capital Accra, beds lay empty as nurses explained they were under "strict instructions" to turn people needing medical help away.

Malawi: Villagers respond to AIDS orphans crisis


Five years ago, the residents of Majini village, about 90 km from the southern border town of Beitbridge, Zimbabwe, were reluctant to talk about HIV/AIDS - now they are planning a vegetable garden to support AIDS orphans and other families affected by the disease.
"The growing number of AIDS orphans in the area made the villagers sit up and look for solutions," said Reverend Musa Makulubane at the local church, which has been proactive in trying to get residents to adopt a more responsive stance to HIV/AIDS.

Nigeria: Huge gains in battle against fake drugs, government says


The proportion of fake and often deadly medicines in Nigeria has dropped from nearly 70 percent circulating in 2002 to less than 10 percent three years later, according to the country’s drug control agency. The figures are preliminary results from a new government survey of the counterfeit drug trade, Dora Akunyili, head of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), told IRIN this week.

Uganda: Funding cuts responsible for condom shortage, says Lewis


UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis and other AIDS advocates on Monday said the Bush administration's policy of emphasizing abstinence-only prevention programs and cuts in federal funding for condoms have contributed to an alleged condom shortage in Uganda and undermined the country's HIV/AIDS fight, London's Guardian reports. Lewis said in a teleconference sponsored by health and human rights groups that "there is no question that the condom crisis in Uganda is being driven and exacerbated by [the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] and by the extreme policies the administration in the United States is now pursuing".


Africa: School fees ‘barrier for girls’


The biggest barrier to girls' education around the world is school fees, a charity argues. Save the Children says in a report that 17 of the 25 countries with the most girls not in school still charge fees. It says another 4.5 million children would go to school if fees were abolished in 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, for instance. The report focuses on girls, who are said to make up 60% of the 100 million children worldwide not being schooled. Save the Children says that in Liberia, for example, sending one child to school costs half the average income of £62.

Global: Education and HIV/AIDS: ensuring education access for orphans and vulnerable children, a training module


Liberia: Girls sell sex to stay in school


When Precious was just 12, she sold her body for the first time to a man nearly four times her age. Now 18, the Liberian schoolgirl sleeps with five to six men on an average day to pay her school fees of 1,500 Liberian dollars (£16) a year and to buy food. Precious receives the equivalent of between 27p and 54p from each client.

Nigeria: International communities storm Abuja for IAEA convention


About 200 delegates from 28 countries all over the world are expected on Monday at the 31st Annual Conference of International Association for Educational Assessment (IAEA), slated to take off on September 4-9,2005 in Abuja. The Conference, which for the first time will take place in Nigeria, is aimed at assisting educational agencies in the development and appropriate application of techniques to improve the quality of education, will be hosted by JAMB, NECO, NTI,WAEC, NABTEB, and Fleet Technologies limited.

Southern Africa: SADC urged to focus on education


Namibia is one of the few countries that allocate a huge chunk of their budgets towards education, and parliamentarians who met in Zambia recently feel Southern African governments need to follow this trend. This plea was made at the third Forum of African Parliamentarians for Education (FAPED) in the Southern African region that took place last month in Living-stone, Zambia.


Africa: Climate change raises risk of hunger – scientists


About 50 million more people, most of them in Africa, could be at risk of hunger by 2050 due to climate change and reduced crop yields, scientists predicted on Monday. Roughly 500 million people worldwide already face hunger but rising levels of greenhouse gases could make the problem worse. "We expect climate change to aggravate current problems of the number of millions of people at risk of hunger, probably to the tune of 50 million," said Professor Martin Parry of the Hadley Centre of the UK Meteorological Office. "The greatest proportion, about three-quarters of that number, will be in Africa."

Africa: Export subsidies for dams: a Trojan horse for environmental destruction


On September 6-7, the OECD governments are expected to take a decision on whether to allow special financial terms to take effect for hydropower projects that are financed with official export credits. They are also expected to decide whether the current environmental guidelines of Export Credit Agencies are sufficient to mitigate the negative impacts of large hydro projects. Non-governmental organizations have for many years advocated that Export Credit Agencies offer favorable financial terms for sustainable energy technologies like wind, solar, and geothermal.

Africa: Legal remedies for the resource curse


The Justice Initiative has released a report assessing the availability of legal remedies for addressing corrupt practices in the natural resource industries. Legal Remedies for the Resource Curse is a digest of practical experience in using law to combat corruption across jurisdictions. When resource extraction companies can obtain oil, diamonds, gold, coltan, timber, and other natural resources through covert contacts with unaccountable government officials, the losers are the people in the communities where the wealth originates. The power of corrupt governments frequently derives from monopoly access to natural wealth, bolstered by foreign government and industry allies.

Benin: Country seeks to avert sea disaster


The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the United States has given added urgency to Benin's plans to protect its coastline against erosion. The quick advance of the Atlantic Ocean is visible in the small West African nation. The fury of the sea waves have eaten up many homes, hundreds of beach residents have been forced to pack up and go, and experts are warning of catastrophe if vigorous action is not taken immediately. One great danger is that the country's main city, Cotonou, with a population of more than 500,000, lies below sea level - like New Orleans in the US. So should there be violent floods, a large chunk of the city could be submerged by water and possibly even wiped off the map. .

Liberia: Poachers, miners, squatters leave Sapo National Park


Conservationists have moved hundreds of squatters out of Liberia's largest national park, putting an end to their slaughter of wildlife and illegal gold mining. Alexander Pearl of Conservation International said about 500 people had been transported out of Sapo National Park in south-eastern Liberia during a five-day programme carried out in conjunction with UN peacekeepers and the government.

South Africa: Johannesburg+2 Conference on Sustainable Development 1-4 September 2004


On 1-2 September 2004, IUCN-SA assisted the Department of Environmental Affairs & Tourism with the facilitation of the Learning Centre, a parallel event at the Johannesburg+2 Conference on Sustainable Development. The Learning Centre had the overall theme of exploring how we are defining and implementing sustainable development in South Africa. The Learning Centre consisted of a mix of lectures, debates, keynote addresses and case study reflections. Key questions for each session were posed to speakers and panellists and a report on the Learning Centre was submitted to DEAT, which is available for download by following the link.

West Africa: Cheaper power a step nearer as work begins on gas pipeline


Construction has begun on a 700 km pipeline that will transport Nigerian natural gas from the oil fields of the Niger Delta along the West African coast to Ghana, via Benin and Togo and promises cheaper and more reliable power for millions of residents by the end of 2006. The West Africa Gas Pipeline is part of the West African Power Pool, an ambitious project launched by the regional economic body ECOWAS in 2000, which aims to increase the trade in energy between member states and encourage investment in the power sector. The pipeline is expected to cost US $617 million, project officials say.

Media & freedom of expression

Chad: CPJ speaks with jailed journalist


Journalist Michaël Didama, speaking from his prison cell in the Chadian capital N'Djamena, denounced his detention as illegal and called on local and international journalists to keep up pressure for the release of all four reporters jailed by the government since July.
"This is a crackdown on the press. There is nothing legal about our arrests," Didama told the Committee to Protect Journalists in a telephone interview. Didama has been in the capital's overcrowded Central Prison since August 8. He was sentenced to six months in jail after his newspaper in May, 2005, covered rebel groups and an alleged massacre of civilians in eastern Chad.

Somalia: Journalists demand safety


The International Federation of Journalists has backed Somali journalists in their calls for the need to improve the security of media professionals in the country, according to an IFJ statement. During the opening of the 3rd General Assembly of the IFJ affiliate in Somalia, the Somali Journalists Network (SOJON) in Mogadishu, delegations from the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) of Somalia, Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia and the IFJ discussed the troubled media landscape of this divided country with over 170 SOJON members.

Southern Africa: Media looks at ethics


A recent conference by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) ended with a call to Southern African governments to stop furthering their political agendas through media control, according to a statement. The statement said government control stifles editorial independence and free, fair and objective reporting. The conference was held in Windhoek under the theme Media, Ethics and Professionalism: Towards an Ethical African Media.

Zimbabwe: Former "Daily News" journalist acquitted in important test case


A magistrate in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, acquitted a journalist on criminal charges of working without accreditation for the now-banned Daily News, according to his lawyer. Observers say the ruling in favor of Kelvin Jakachira could set an important precedent for several other former Daily News journalists facing the same charge. Jakachira was accused of working for the paper between January and September 2003 without the government license required by the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). The Daily News, Zimbabwe's only independent daily, was forced to close in September 2003 after the Supreme Court ruled that it was operating illegally under AIPPA.

Conflict & emergencies

DRC: AWOL soldiers return to base


One of two army battalions in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that the military reported as missing on 26 August, may not have been absent; while the other battalion has since returned to its barracks, Defence Minister Adolphe Onusumba said last Thursday. "There was no desertion, it was a problem of communication," he said at a news conference in Kinshasa, the nation's capital.

Southern Africa: Hunger threatens southern Africa


Aid agencies are warning of severe food shortages leading to hunger in several southern African countries this year. Some 10m people need food aid after the drought led to the worst harvest since 1992, says the UN World Food Programme. According to Oxfam, the world is ignoring the lessons of Niger in not acting quickly.

Sudan/Uganda: Salva Kiir pledges support against the LRA


Sudanese First Vice-President Salva Kiir assured Uganda on Wednesday of his cooperation in the fight against the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), which operates from bases in both countries. A statement from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's office said Kiir told the Ugandan leader that both the government in Khartoum and his Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) "are willing to have joint operations with the UPDF (the Ugandan army) against rebels remnants".

Sudan: SLA rebels 'destabilising' Darfur


African Union peacekeepers in Sudan have condemned Darfur's largest rebel movement for banditry and abductions. The AU mission said the Sudan Liberation Army were destabilising the region and jeopardising peace talks with the Khartoum government. More than two million people in Darfur are homeless, driven from their homes by two and a half years of clashes.

Sudan: The Overkill


The on-going conflicts in the provinces of Darfur in western Sudan are a textbook example of how programmed escalation of violence can go out of control. It is increasingly difficult for both the insurgency and the government-backed forces to de-escalate the conflict which has been called with reason "genocide". It will be even more difficult after the war to get the pastoralists and the settled agriculturalists to live together again in a relatively cooperative way.

Zimbabwe: Economic distress deepens


Harare has made an urgent appeal to South Africa to finalize a loan agreement under discussion and release funds amid reports that Zimbabwe’s economic crisis has only deepened with the government’s payment of $120 million in scarce hard currency to the International Monetary Fund to stave off the loss of membership. A senior official at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said the country desperately needs an infusion of hard currency to purchase fuel, food, and essential inputs for agriculture and manufacturing.

Internet & technology

Digitial TV comes to Africa


Five years ago the idea of digital television in Africa would have seemed absurd. The continent was 'sucking information through a narrow straw'. Now two countries have announced their intention to offer digital television, reports Balancing Act News Update. Senegal seems to have been first into the game, launching a pilot at the end of last year with 200 trial subscribers. Mauritius is trialling now and will launch in 2006. South Africa is headed in that direction but is only trialling video on demand this month.

Fighting heat, dust and the digital divide in Nigeria


Kafanchan in northern Nigeria is an unlikely place for a digital renaissance. But a television program prominently telecast found people there not only "eager to join the information age, use computers and get on-line"but planning to do so in a rather unorthodox manner. APC member the Fantsuam Foundation is working on a revolutionary alternative computer, tailor made for the so-called "developing" world, that uses solar power.

Schools in Burkina conquer the New Technologies


Two initiatives aim at integrating the new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the educational system in Burkina, a country that figures at the bottom of the UNDP classification scale. Global Teenager Project (GTP) is a programme set up in 1999 by the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD). The project brings the new information and communication technologies to the high and middle schools. Apart from this project, World Links, a World Bank programme, set up in Burkina in 1997, aims for better integration of the new ICTs in schools.

World Information Technology Forum declaration to be presented to Unesco


At the World Information Technology Forum (WITFOR) conference in Gaborone, capital city of Botswana, the "Gaborone Declaration" proposal was adopted, which will be presented to the UNESCO general assembly. The proposal focuses on how technology can be used to enhance development and eradicate poverty in developing countries.

eNewsletters & mailing lists

Lissanga Infos


Lissanga Infos is a newsletter providing accurate information on various subjects: ICTs, Women, HIV/AIDS, NGOs, Environment and opportunities (conferences, training, call for proposals and others). The newsletter, published by AZUR Developpement, is available in French only. Please send an email to [email protected] for free subscription.

Lissanga Infos est un bulletin d’informations qui fournit des informations récentes sur divers sujets: TIC, Femmes, VIH/SIDA, ONG, Environnement et opportunités ( conférences, formations, appels à propositions de projets et autres). L ebulletin d’informations est disponible en langue française uniquement. Envoyez un email à [email protected] pour s’abonner gratuitement. Ce bulletin est publié par AZUR Développement.

RAPID Programme Email Update


The RAPID Programme Email Update is the Overseas Development Institute's Research and Policy in Development Programme Electronic Newsletter (also available at ODI's Research and Policy in Development programme aims to improve the use of research in development policy and practice through improved knowledge about research-policy links; improved knowledge management and learning systems; improved communication; and improved awareness of the importance of research. This newsletter brings you regular updates of the latest additions to the RAPID Programme Website:

Fundraising & useful resources

How to guide on fundraising research


Funders Online has compiled useful information and practical tips on how to research independent funders, how to package your project proposal and where to find additional information, both in print and online, on foundations and corporate funders, as well as on fund-raising.

Mobilizing African Diaspora Resources for Enterprise in Africa


The African Foundation for Development (AFFORD) is mobilizing the diaspora's skills, knowledge and experience to provide assistance to organizations in Ghana and Sierra Leone. We shall partner with organizations where diaspora skills, knowledge and experience will result in more people, especially young people, establishing SMEs, securing work, building skills and confidence.



NAMAwatch is a resource for people following the non-agricultural market access (NAMA) negotiations at the World Trade Organisation. The site brings together in one place official documents, research and critical voices, with navigation in English, French and Spanish.

The PRODDER directory


Between 1987 and 2001 PRODDER established itself as the most comprehensive development publication of its kind in Africa and became a much sought-after reference tool on Southern African development. It was previously compiled and produced by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in book format. SANGONeT has since acquired the rights to the directory. The new PRODDER directory is a combination of the last published PRODDER and SANGONeT's electronic databases. In the future, information from the Department of Social Development’s NPO Directorate’s database (collected over the past eight years) will be added.

Courses, seminars, & workshops

Participatory, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Course

November 21 - December 2 2005, Kenya


This course aims to enhance the impact of development programmes by improving the accountability of development organisations. According to the organisers, the course will enable the development worker to: Link planning, monitoring, evaluation to learning and accountability; Explain concepts related to planning, monitoring and evaluation; Understand different types of monitoring including how to conduct impact monitoring and impact evaluation; Adapt and apply various participatory planning, monitoring and evaluation tools; and Design simple monitoring framework for projects and programmes.

Symposium on Islamic civilisation in Southern Africa

Call For Papers


An international symposium on "Islamic Civilisation in Southern Africa" will be jointly organised by the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), the National Awqaf Foundation of South Africa (Awqaf SA) and the University of Johannesburg, South Africa on 1-3 September 2006. The symposium will examine topics such as the spread of Islam in South Africa; the relationship between trade and Islam; language and Islamic literature; Islamic education and intellectual development; history, contribution and challenges; colonialism, apartheid and democracy; coexistence of cultures; arts and crafts, architecture and archaeology; future perspectives; Muslim media; influential figures; establishment of financial institutions; community-state relations; NGOs.

Global call to action against poverty

Accra GCAP concert attracts thousands


Thousands of people packed into Ghana's Independence Square in Accra on Saturday 3 September 2005 for the marathon 15 hour Africa Standing Tall Against Poverty Concert featuring Africa's leading musicians, leading civil society personalities and anti poverty campaigners. The concert was telecast live on Metro TV, attracting a television audience of over 700,000 within Ghana alone. "This is a great unifying event," said Mac Tontoh, one of the headline acts. "Africa is speaking with one voice and our leaders and the world must listen." Kumi Naidoo, chair of the GCAP Facilitation Group, the main sponsors of the concert, received great applause from the crowd when he spoke powerfully about the growing mass movement against poverty in Africa and the responsibilities of the Millennium Summit assembly in New York.

Join a GCAP event on September 10


10th of Sept
Popular March Of the People on the Bukavu’s main street. At the end of this march all the people would be gather in front of UN’s offices (OCHA).
Contact: .Jean Kamengele Omba, tel: +243 8131 82406; email: [email protected] (contact media)

10th Sept
On 10 September a music festival is taking place in the Cinema Roma, a beautiful old cinema in Asmara the capital. The programme includes workshops to give young talents in Asmara a chance to develop their skills and to be creative. The event is called: Feel One Vibe (Make Poverty History).

10th Sept
An MDG Shadow Report is being launched on the 10th. This is due to be launched on the 10th in a national media launch and workshop. The slogan for the WB2 actions in Kenya is "A Platform for Citizens to Denounce Poverty".
At the event four actions are taking place:
1.On the 10th a giant petition signed by government ministers, civil society representatives as well as the general public will be presented.
2) A display of testimonies of people in poverty called 'People behind the figures' is being displayed.
3) A press call
4) A talent show of children, where children get the opportunity to express their hopes and visions for 2015 - because 2015 belongs to them, rather than to us.
Contact: Achim Chaiji Tel. 254-20-4440440/4 cell pnone. 254-722-331612,

10th of Sept
Three events are planned:
1. A set of these postcards with the message " No Excuse, Make Poverty History in Malawi", will be delivered to the State President to remind him of his obligation to reduce poverty in Malawi.
2. A shadow report will be officially presented to the UN Resident Representative at a specially convened press conference/debate.
Contact: Emmanuel Ted Nandolo email [email protected]

10th Sept
1. Media campaign
There will be announcements on the activities for WBD II three days in advance (from 8th Sept onwards) on the radio and on the TV (private and national TV). Two short programmes have been made for the campaign with targeted messages.
2. A breakfast meal is planned with government representatives and delegates. It will be hosted by the hunting community, one of the most traditional communities – this will be followed by a breakfast press conference.
3. There will be a presentation of a petition to the Prime Minister in Bamako – the petition focuses on a campaign against the privatisation of the Malian Company for the Development of Textiles and the introduction of GM foods.
4. There will also be a conference and debates on the MDGs with a representative from CAD- Mali and a state representative (In charge of the National strategies for action against poverty).

Music concert in front of Maputo's slums.
Contact: Jeronimo Napido or Silvestre Baessa Email : [email protected]

10th of Sept
1. Rally - Huge march in Windhoek through the city centre and delivery of a petition to officials/representatives going to the MDG summit
2. Radio and television coverage ahead of the 10th
3. Draping of white cloths around parks within the central business district .
Contact: Mr. Theo Uvanga Namibia Development Trust, P.O. Box 8226, Bachbrecht, Windhoek, Namibia, Tel: +264 61 238002/3, Fax: +264 61 233261

10th of Sept
1. Morning rallies in front of the political leaders offices.
2. Breakfast with the MDG Summit delegation.
A press conference will be held after the breakfast.
Contact: Ali Abdoulaye, tel:+227 7525 60, email: [email protected]

1st - 10th Sept
1. Press brief on the 1st of September
2. Civil society Conference on the Paris Debt Deal on the 5th of September at Gurara Hall, Rockview Hotel, Abuja.
3. Poverty Public Hearing. We have mass of people gathered in various locations across the 36 states and the Federal Capital territory, Abuja to hold a public hearing on poverty issues in Nigeria and present manifestations and testimonies of poverty incidence. – 10th September
4. Send ‘wake up to poverty’ testimony post cards to the President and members of the National assembly (at the Federal level) and Governors and members of the States House of Assembly (at the State level) 10th September
5. Broadcast a documentary ‘ the face of poverty in Nigeria’ in a national television at 10pm
6. The week ends with a music concert and rally 14th September
Contact: Justice Egware: email: [email protected]: tel: +234 9 2900526; +234 8036299488; +234 8023464831.

10th Sept
There will be a gathering in front of the houses of parliament in Dakar and outside Thies Town Hall (70Km from Dakar) with MPs, local authorities, artists, and the general public. More than 1,500 people are due to take part.

Sierra Leone
5-10 Sept
1. On Sept 5th: Poverty Tour (collecting testimonies in the form of audio, video and photos from people living in extreme poverty to be presented to the Sierra Leone delegates that will be attending the UN+5 Millennium Summit).
2. On Sept 7th: Radio and TV panel discussions on MDGs (Intermittent slots of video testimonies collected from the poverty tour will be aired during the TV discussion).
3. On Sept 8th: a radio phone-in programme on the MDGs (coalition members will discuss about the MDGs in relation to Sierra Leone and members of the public will make calls to make their own contributions).
On Sept 10th: Wakeup to Poverty press conference and launch of the Sierra Leone Alternate People’s report of progress made on the MDGs: “As if People Matter”.
Contact: Mohamed Sillah -Tel: +232-22-231392/232246/234197, Cell phone: +232-76-830071, [email protected]

10th Sept
1.The coalition is urging the two main Educational networks, namely FPENS and SAFE to help youth mobilization in the afternoon of September 10th. Hundreds of youngsters/students from 20 schools and universities will be engaged to propagate the netional motto: ‘CIRIBTIR SABOOLNIMADA- Eliminate Poverty’. Plus a press conference at a chosen venue in Mogadishu. There will also be a media event for an early morning wake up call.

South Africa
10th Sept
1. The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) wants to organize the country workshop that is to take place prior to reporting in UN in September. We are hoping for representation from government at a high level to pass on the message that people are indeed the centre of all government policies, and the centrality of humanity to development is indeed embodied in the MDGs. Government will report to the public on progress made as well mobilize the nation particularly the five development finance institutions around the MDGs
2. Party Against Poverty – a ethical club night to raise awareness, engage and motivate people in their late teens and twenties. This is being held in 8 cities (Lagos, London, Edinburgh, New York, Johannesburg, Paris, Amsterdam and Ibiza) on Saturday September 10th and being linked via audio and digital images aswell as pre-coordinated visuals and DJ mixes

10th Sept
White band rallies and white band messaging on trucks that will sweep through the central streets to broadcast the messages.
Contact: Julius Kapwepwe: 256 41 533840/77 499455: [email protected], [email protected]

1st - 10th Sept
1.National Consultation to finalise the Civil Society position towards the summit, the forum will be held on the 1st of September at Mulungushi International Conference centre. Part of the forum will be the presentation of the Shadow Report.
2. A walk to Justice, from Lusaka Main Post Office to the Freedom statue where we shall present position to the UNDP Country Rep and to one member of the Zambia Delegation going to New York.
3. An hour of prayer: An inter –faith prayer service will be held at Chawama Grounds on Sunday, the 4th of September from 15:00hours to 16:00hours. The service will be led by the Inter –Faith committee on MDGs – a sub committee of the National Civil Society MDG Campaign
Contact: Henry Malumo, Tel: 260 1 266234, Mobile: 260 97 656832, Email: [email protected], [email protected]

8th - 9th Sept
Publishing of Civil Society Shadow Report, which culminates in a People’s Conference on the MDGs
Contact: Fambai Ngirande, email [email protected]

Send an SMS and say 'No to Poverty'


White Band Day 2 takes place on September 10 and events are taking place around Africa to mark the day. You can join the call to end poverty in Africa, by sending an SMS to the number +27 82 904 3425


Support the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP). Text ‘NO TO POVERTY’ and your comments with your name and surname to

+27 82 904 3425

Your message will be posted on the website and used to demonstrate support for the GCAP movement.

Recent messages received (out of a total of 1749 messages)

1. NO TO POVERTY. We must do whatever we can! Toyin Omolola, Nigeria

2. No to debt .thumbs down 2 poverty. My name is Adjoa my surname Clarke, Ghana

3. NO TO POVERTY. Stop agricultural subsidies in EUROPE & USA for fair trade. Olive Wonekha, MP Uganda

4. No to poverty, Lesabane Audrey Mahlatsi, Bloemfontein, South Africa

5. What Africa truly needs is FAIR TRADE not AID. Poverty in Africa must end now! Ophelia Soliku, Ghana

6. hi my mane is kamara pabai a liberian liveing in ghana poverty can kill so no to poverty i love Africa, Ghana

7. we can chase poverty out if we act as one people with a single voice. FROM JASON ASEDEM

8. Africa is one, we are behind u in eradicating pvrty in Afrc.frm Kazohua famly ,Namibia

9. NO TO DEBT. Oumi COULIBALY, Tunisia

10. The African nations should just default debt payment because this is a form of neo-colonialism. We should revive the 1960s Pan-African movement. Ireri, N, Kenya

Tanzania GCAP launch


The Tanzanian GCAP/MDGs Campaign, "Ondoa Umaskini Tanzania" (Eradicate Poverty in Tanzania) will officially launch its campaign on September 10, 2005 simultaneously in Dar Es Salaam, Kigoma, Loliondo, Mwanza, Same and Singida. A press conference announcing the launch will be held on September 8th with banners and posters displayed at bus stops, along major roads and in front of key public buildings. At the Mnzani Mmoja Ground in Dar Es Salaam more than 2,000 people will come together to form a human chain wearing shirts with the campaign messages and white bands made by poor women living in rural villages in Ngorongoro.


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SOUTH AFRICA: The Studio, 06 Cromer Road, Muizenberg 7945, Cape Town, South Africa
KENYA: 1st Floor, Shelter Afrique Building, Mamlaka Road, Nairobi, Kenya
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